So this Old Spice Responds to Questions Thing is getting a little out of hand. Apparently even Google’s CFO felt the need to interrupt a conference call to say it was “a glimpse of where the world is going”.
I want to make a couple points on this but just so there’s no misunderstanding let me be very clear: The campaign was brilliant. It was as perfect as I could imagine an ad campaign being. They knew when to be funny, knew when to be human and most importantly knew when not to wear out their welcome. But at the same time I think it’s spawned some false conclusions.
This Wasn’t Social Marketing
I disagree that this was a “social campaign” as many have said.
The character didn’t have a conversation with these people he simply used what they said as a jumping off point to be funny. It was an amazing act of improv on the part of the writers and Mr. Mustafa but it was a performance. It was aimed at a larger audience than just the person being spoken to. So it really wasn’t “social” by the commonly accepted definition.
This Wasn’t a “New Kind of Ad”
What the ad agency (Wieden+Kennedy) did was the same thing that any great ad agency would do: They used the tools available to them to make ads that didn’t feel like ads.
But that’s what great advertising has always been. If you’ve ever listened to the radio you’ve heard one of those contests that says “be the [whatever number] caller and win tickets to [some event]” . In the back of your mind you probably realized that was advertising but the fact that it’s a contest obscures that fact. Which is exactly what makes it great advertising.
The person who first thought that strategy up was no different than Wieden+Kennedy are now. They had a radio station and a phone and they used creativity to mold them into great advertising. Just as the Old Spice Ads used YouTube, Twitter, et al. to do the same thing today.
The point I’m trying to make here is you have to focus on the real lessons . The lesson isn’t “do what the Old Spice Guy did” it’s “Be Creative”. It’s not “Twitter is the future of media” it’s “know the tools available to you and use them”. These are all old rules and they still apply. Which leads me to my last point. Because anyone who knows advertising knows one of the cardinal rules is this…
Brilliant ad campaigns are amazing. Those who do direct copies of those campaigns are Lame.
So unless you can come up with a new spin or you actually WANT TO BE the “lame copy of the Old Spice Guy” I’d put this whole thing out of your head and rely on your own creativity.