Social media buzz. Advantage: Old Spice

by Jordan Stone in News Google+

The Cannes Film Grand Prix-winning Old Spice campaign has evolved over the last 24 hours to dominate discussion in social media, in what is sure to become the ‘case study du jour’ for the foreseeable future.

“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” spot from Wieden + Kennedy Portland was launched in February during the Super Bowl. It featured Isaiah Mustafa, a former NFL athlete, being totally awesome and became an almost immediate hit online. It has since racked up almost 13 million views on YouTube, with a couple new iterations launched in recent weeks.

Yesterday, however, the marketing campaign took a different turn and really got ‘social media right’. It’s been updated and sees Isaiah Mustafa respond directly to YouTube comments, Tweets, Yahoo! Answers and blog posts about him in 117 publicly available, timely and personalised video messages.

To ensure maximum coverage Old Spice replied to some of the most popular personalities on Twitter, such as @Biz (Twitter co-founder), @ryanseacrest (TV personality), @kevinrose (Digg founder), @Alyssa_Milano (actor), and @guykawasaki (social media thought leader). Blogger Perez Hilton’ s video response has already clocked up over 115k views. They’ve also hit up media outlets like GQ, Huffington Post, Gizmodo and The Ellen Show. Starbucks have even managed to get in on the action.

So what are the results? It’s still early to tell, but a few things are apparent.

The activity, according to Campaign, appears to be targeted at the ‘Twitter generation’ and it seems to be doing the trick. There has been a noticeable increase in followers to the @oldspice account, as well as a surge in conversation volume about the brand over the past 24 hours.

Searches for “old spice” or oldspice for the last week up until 10.45am today turned up the following:

That’s pretty spectacular, and the volumes were enough for Old Spice to trend on Twitter. What’s interesting though, is that Old Spice started yesterday as a Twitter Promoted Trend, but quickly ‘earned’ the status. TechCrunch explains:

[Old Spice] also just redefined the model for Promoted Trends. Old Spice is a promoted Trend, which takes you to the Old Spice Twitter account highlighting these videos as individual responses addressing each Twitter user who gets their own Old Spice commercial. The irony is that if Old Spice hadn’t paid to be a promoted Trend, it probably would have made it as a Trending Topic organically.

This morning Old Spice is still trending, organically.

There has been a similar increase in discussion on blogs as well. Again, a simple search for “old spice” or oldspice for the last week up until 11.45am today turned up the following:

But a key question is: can this goodwill and online buzz translate into sales?

Though the original adverts have been a massive hits, and clocked up millions of views on YouTube, sales of Old Spice haven’t necessarily seen the same upward trend. Just yesterday AdWeek reported that sales of the Old Spice body wash have actually dropped 7 percent over the last year.

So this surge of social media activity certainly comes at an interesting time, and it will be worth keeping an eye on, especially as brands like Dominos Pizza publicly pin their good fortunes on social media activity.

Ultimately, this level of social media engagement which was born from a television advert is really remarkable. Old Spice has done a great job in updating the campaign so that it really ‘works’ online. Most importantly though, the video responses are consistently funny in their own right, making it hard not to love this campaign.

So on that note, we’ll leave you with Isaiah Mustafa’s responses to The Huffington Post, Guy Kawasaki and Perez Hilton – some of the finest examples:

Huffington Post

Guy Kawasaki

Perez Hilton

Update: ReadWriteWeb has the lowdown on how the Old Spice videos are being made:

A team of creatives, tech geeks, marketers and writers gathered in an undisclosed location in Portland, Oregon yesterday and produced 87 short comedic YouTube videos about Old Spice. In real time. They leveraged Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and blogs. They dared to touch the wild beasts of 4chan and they lived to tell the tale. Everybody loved it; those videos and 74 more made so far today have now been viewed more than 4 million times and counting. Here’s how it’s going down…

Fast Company also have an interview with our old friend Iain Tait who’s been working on the project:

One of the unique things taking place in the studio is we have a team of social media people, we have the Old Spice community manager, we have a social media strategist, a couple of technical people, and a producer. And we’ve built an application that scans the Internet looking for mentions and allows us to look at the influence of those people and also what they’ve said. They’re working in collaboration with the creative team that are there to pick out the messages that: 1. Have creative opportunity to produce amazing content; or 2. Have the ability to then embed themselves in an interesting or virally relevant community.

Iain also gives more background on the project on his own blog.

And now it seems, the end has arrived, with this closing message from Isaiah:

Update 2: We’ve conducted some in-depth analysis into the results of the campaign – Old Spice videos viewed 11 million times.

Update 3: Wieden+Kennedy have released a nice video case study of the campaign.

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