King for a Day or Sustainable Marketing

Do writers recognize when their work is going to catch on like wild fire? The recent Old Spice viral video series has caused a wave of gut busting chaos induced hilarity.The strangest realization for me is that I was already a customer (since 1996) and hadn’t realized it. As I watched and listened to Isaiah Mustafa state “Silverfish Handcatch” for the 6th time I realized that I use Old Spice as an underarm deodorant. But I’d never swap because of a funny video and Old Spice aftershave sucks ;).

I’ve gotta tip my hat to one hell of a project marketing team. The combination of over the edge writing and actor execution/presence  made for an irresistible watch. These guys killed it. As a follow on they made comment response videos exploding in popularity after Digg founder Kevin Rose’s get well video response (staged?) and share on twitter. Pro technique to sustain a few viral videos into a series.

While the writers could be working on Saturday Night Live or other films I can’t believe their amazing effort will result in a sustained boost to product sales. In the short term their efforts will be profitable for Old Spice, but folks will quickly return to their favorite after shaves and under arm deodorants. Maybe some won’t and that’s more than the cost of the video campaign?

This Behind the World: Old Spice Responses interview captures the production process and how the team pulled it all together so quickly. It was a strategic campaign with creative folks working 3 days straight.

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  • iamronen

    Hey Mark – it seems like there's a problem with your links .. in this post and previous one (don't remember which one) – I tried following a link and … well … failed :)

  • iamronen

    and per the context :) I have no idea what the deal is with Old Spice (except that my dad used, maybe still does, their aftershave) – and haven't seen any of the videos (which is why I tried using your link) … all I can say is that you Americans seem to have waaaay too much free time on your hands!

  • Mark Essel

    Darnit. That's what copy pasting from a notepad app into the android wordpress is doing to my links. I'll have to be more careful when typing them in. Appreciate the heads up.

  • Mark Essel

    Link finally works.

    And yeah we have free time in abundance with current unemployment rates :(.
    I'm working on getting just one lifetime of it for myself. Or at least more self directed time (with adequate income to live well).

  • Mark Essel

    Thanks again, it was the first android post. When copying in the text it appends an extra a href tag in front of the a href and defaults with a link to the page/post you're on.

    Really appreciate your help pointing it out.

  • iamronen

    maybe time isn't the right word …

    but, seriously, can you see or imagine how it may looks like from other places on the planet? It seems to me self-absorbed, petty and detached from the world that so much attention can be diverted to something like Old Spice …

    maybe it's just me ….

  • Mark Essel

    I'm a big fan of creativity, in all it's forms*. The videos are just one more format. Comedy is a risky field. You can't repeat yourself too often or you become boring. Writers and comedians are always pushing the limits of what's funny. The greatest comedians can challenge us to think.

    These old spice commercials are just unexpected combinations of ideas merged together and just strike a funny bone (at least for me).

    I hope people all over the world have all the time they need to create and experience each others creations.

    * non violent or sick

  • Alex Covic

    I usually stay away from all things having to do with marketing and advertisement, but admit: this campaign caught my attention too. And especially the back-story ( I've read it on read-write-web, similar to your link

    It is rare that big ad-companies are letting their creative talent go 'unchecked' and even more rare, that clients are ok with it.

    I was thinking all the time (2-3 days) “how long can they go on, before it backfires?” and that was the second thing that was astounding to me: they stopped. They had the balls to end it, instead of milking it for maybe weeks or months, like they could have done easily. Shows how really smart they are?

    Will it have an impact? I don't know myself. I never understood advertisement and their 'numbers'. But I sure like my uncles favorite after shave getting such attention. :)

  • Leland

    I am absolutely sure it will have an impact. The writing is amazing, they present a clear and actionable reason for using old Spice vs their competitors and they use humor to support their reasoning.

    This is one of the best examples of marketing I have seen recently.