22 Jul

Perfectly Executed

Marketing agencies have been attempting to leverage the power of social media since the medium gained momentum beyond early adopters. Recently, there have been two campaigns that have caught my attention: Old Spice and Captain Morgan.

The advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy recently shocked the nation with an amazingly orchestrated media campaign featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa, who was previously somewhat unknown. The following is a promotional blurb copied from the agency’s online portfolio:

“Anything is possible when you smell like an Old Spice man and our hero, Isaiah Mustafa, is back to illustrate just a few of the amazing things that an Old Spice man can do. The latest effort is a fully integrated campaign with TV, print and digital executions, targeted at both men and women, once again touting the manly scents of Old Spice body wash.”

Unless you live under a rock, I am sure that you have been exposed to, or at least heard of, the recent Old Spice commercials featuring the perfect man. Women adore him and men want to be him – well, at least smell like him!

Initially “featured” in commercial shorts on mainstream networks, the humorous clips resonated with their target audience in the traditional fashion. However, once available online, they gained traction as a series of viral videos.

Traditional marketing teams would have been content with these results. However, the Wieden + Kennedy team planned on setting the new norm for marketing campaigns.

On July 14th, Old Spice and Wieden + Kennedy filmed non-stop clips of the irresistible Old Spice character responding to questions posed on various social media platforms online. User questions from Facebook, Twitter, forums, etc were personally addressed in a humorous manner, The following quote by Ian Tait, the Global Interactive Creative Director at Wieden + Kennedy explains:

“We’re looking at who’s written those comments, what their influence is and what comments have the most potential for helping us create new content. The social media guys and script writers are collaborating to make that call in real time. We have people shooting and we’re editing it as it happens. Then the social media guys are looking at how to get that back out around the web…in real time.”

As I stated in a previous post, a good friend and fellow blogger, Andrew Eifler, posits two theories to explain the rapid sharing of marketing material – why a campaign goes viral; 1) Content Pass Along, and 2) Brands as Friends. Please refer to my archived post “Viral Marketing,” for specific definitions and explanations.

The Old Spice campaign resonated well with its target audience, because it personally addressed targeted individuals who were characterized as influencers in their industries. It successfully addressed both theories Eifler posits as necessary for content to go viral.

In the one day campaign 205 videos were produced, resulting in nearly 6 million views and over 20,000 comments. Isaiah Mustafa even proposed marriage for one Twitter user, @Jsbeals, to his girlfriend. Guess what? She said YES! Watch the video below:

As a result, the Old Spice brand has propelled its products into the forefront of many Internet users’ minds. The majority of this audience has substantially higher disposable income than the less tech savvy. And don’t think for a second that the campaign has died down in the past week. A website was recently launched allowing users to create personalized voicemail messages featuring the voice of Isaiah. Take a listen:

Old Spice Example

While the Old Spice commercial was a significant diversion from their past commercials, Captain Morgan’s new “campaign” is a simple addition to their old theme – with a social twist. By searching Facebook for “Calling All Captains,” friends and family can send prank voicemails to their contacts’ phones posing as a cutie, cougar or player interested in the unsuspecting receiver. Listen to an example:

Captain Morgan Example

I was a victim, and as you can tell, it made Captain Morgan stay on my mind – I am writing a post about it!

In addition, while writing this post I came across a very interesting interview with Coke executives and leaders from Definition6, a successful interactive agency, about what makes a successful web video. See the link to the article below, and enjoy the following viral clip:


–        Wieden + Kennedy – Link
–        Isaiah Mustafa – Wikipedia
–        Old Spice – Link
–        “The Next Viral Marketing Campaign is…” – Article
–        Andrew Eifler – Link
–        Old Spice Voicemail Generator – Link
–        Captain Morgan Facebook App – Link
–        Mashable Discusses Coca-Cola Campaign – Article
–        Coca-Cola – Link
–        Definition6 – Link