Farewell Old Spice Guy, You Will Be Missed

“i love this guy. hes the best thing to happen to advertising ever.” – MaxamillionGat, YouTube

Yes, that pretty much sums up how most people feel about Old Spice’s latest marketing campaign, which featured actor and former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa as the Old Spice Guy. The question remains though: did it help the company sell more of their products? I don’t have an answer so I’ll just ask another question. Did you switch to Old Spice because of it?

Here’s what I do know.

The advertising agency behind this online campaign, Wieden + Kennedy, managed to engage half of the Internet, amass hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, get Old Spice’s Twitter following over 60,000, all without ever shoving the product in your face. Kind of like those Levi’s commercials that have nothing to do with jeans.

People could ask questions of the Old Spice Guy, and almost instantly he’s have a personalized response up on YouTube for them. If you’ve ever spent time in front of a camera, you know what a daunting challenge that is. His answers made you laugh, were fun to watch, and also were the stuff Internet memes are made of. He knew just how to talk to the viewers, which didn’t include talking down to them.

Sadly though, all good things must come to an end, and last week the Old Spice Guy ended his run, but not before setting a new standard in online marketing. Companies in the future will do well to learn from this, and improve on it if they want to reach an ever wider audience. I ask you again though, did you buy Old Spice because of this?

I didn’t.

I’m happy smelling like Dark Chocolate courtesy of Axe. As fun and as witty as the videos were, I never once thought about going out and switching to Old Spice deodorant or body wash. I can almost guarantee that more than a few people did though, and that’s what made the Old Spice Guy a successful campaign. It took the Internet, and made it personal. More and more folks are trying to do that these days, and are either succeeding, or failing. What made this campaign successful were two things. First, it had a lot of money behind it. Second, it got people talking. Getting folks to chat about your product on or offline is the key to brand marketing. Think of how many kids were probably answering their parents in the same monotone voice as Old Spice Guy? When fathers asked, “What the hell are you talking about?” the answer always came back, “Old Spice,” thus sparking conversation.

That, my fine smelling friends, is the sign of a good campaign. Even though I didn’t buy Old Spice during his run, I’ll still miss watching the videos, sharing them with my friends, and I already hate myself for knowing that out there somewhere the Old Spice Guy is trying to find a new gig, and I don’t have the cash to hire him.