Old Spice and Moneyball: How Marketers Must Learn to Love Social Media

What do the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign and the movie Moneyball have in common? No, I’m not thinking it’s that they both have sports tie-ins (Old Spice’s actor, Isaiah Mustafa, was a pro wide receiver). I’m thinking in a social media context.

Old Spice Guy

I’ll get to the answer in a bit (this is a multi-part series). But first, let’s take a look at the wonderfulness that was Old Spice’s ad campaign. The following is adapted from a chapter about creating buzz in our book, Be a Person: The Social Operating Manual for Enterprises.

Buzz Creation Techniques

The first thing you must do to create buzz is to find a promotional hook, something that grabs your community’s attention, like Seth Godin’s purple cow. If you’re short on ideas, track the hottest conversations about your product category; ask opinion leaders in your community.

Once you have the hook, you need the story. Consider involving those you serve (customers, clients, stakeholders of all kinds) and get them to tell their stories. A kind of silly story, and some innovative combining of old and new media, drove one of the most buzz-worthy ad campaigns in recent memory: the Old Spice body wash “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. It combined quirky, high-tech television commercials[1] featuring an attractive and cheeky former NFL wide receiver with deft use of social media to enhance the buzz.

In addition to heavy rotation of the ad on TV, Old Spice posted 186 highly-publicized personalized response videos[2] on YouTube, and they amassed an incredible 34 million views and a billion PR impressions in a single week. These videos responded directly to tweets about the product, including a hilarious “this has in no way been a cross-promotion for an affiliated Old Spice sister company” response to @Gillette.[3]

These videos helped make Old Spice, with 94 million views, the number 1 all-time most-viewed sponsored channel on YouTube.[4] In addition, Old Spice’s Twitter followers went up 3200 percent; Google searches rocketed up 2200 percent; Facebook interactions climbed by 800-1000 percent; and traffic to the Old Spice Website increased 350-500 percent. Old Spice became the number 1 branded body wash, and sales increased 55 percent, with some product variations’ sales rising by as much as 1900 percent.[5]

This brilliant campaign shows how to synergistically combine old and new media to achieve dramatic results. Old Spice combined a well-done TV ad campaign with use of Twitter and YouTube to increase buzz.

Next up: Old Spice and Moneyball: Embracing Social Media

[1] A sample Old Spice commercial: bit.ly/a24H7d

[2] A sample Old Spice response video: bit.ly/bCQd0Q

[3] The non-cross-promotion: bit.ly/aygCa3

[4] AdAge’s How Much Old Spice Body Wash Has the Old Spice Guy Sold? bit.ly/abPJ5Z

[5] MediaBistro’s article The Old Spice Campaign, By the Numbers: bit.ly/ck8SCQ

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