Swan diving into the best night of your life

It takes more than some chiseled pecs and a cobblestone mid-section to win over Gen Y, but it doesn’t hurt. The Man Your Man Could Smell Like has become a cultural phenomenon among men and women. It’s because he’s perfectly balanced. He’s got the sex appeal of George Clooney (Hello, Ladies) and the likable, over-the-top manliness of those Chuck Norris facts. The resulting mix is something that makes the girls swoon, the guys high-five and everyone laugh.

In Old Spice’s case, a heavy reliance on humor, which appeals to our younger generation, is what ultimately sells their schtick. Just take a look at Sparxoo’s Top 5 Personalities that appeal to Gen Y Men: Howard Stern, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Ron Paul and Kevin Rose. Most of these men speak to the under-30 male perspectives on technology, politics and humor. Old Spice has created a similar personality that appeals to the Millennial man’s funnybone.

The Old Spice ads, beginning with “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” to “Questions,” have gained mega-viral status. And the “Old Spice Guy,” Isaiah Mustafa, has even been nominated for an Emmy.

“Look at your man—now back at me.”

People have recited the script with such frequency that it has become part of our vernacular. It’s a way to break up the silence, or just spice up an everyday conversation. A 12-year-old boy even made a successful parody video for his mother, and was later featured on Ellen because of it. Admit it: every time you hear the words “SWAN DIVE,” you smile.

So imagine our surprise when the Old Spice Man became something more than a television spot and reached out to the online community. We loved it. Responding in real time to comments or questions directed at Old Spice through Twitter and Facebook, Mustafa and the team of creatives at W+K , worked hours upon hours last week to create 87 short videos responding directly to popular bloggers, celebrities and even us average folk. Mustafa even spoke to his own daughter and delivered a marriage proposal on one man’s behalf.

According to a Mashable article about the Old Spice campaign, there were 5.9 million video views and 22,500 comments as of Tuesday, July 13. Numbers have continuously shot up since then. The responses from Old Spice are considered one of the fastest-growing online video campaigns of all time.” Old Spice has clearly set themselves apart, going from a low-end soap brand for men, to a brand that personally speaks to all of us.

Old Spice couldn’t appeal to us more. Not only to they introduce the perfect amount of humor in all of their ads, they spoke to us on our favorite social outlet channels! Mustafa, the “ridiculously good looking man,” has enabled the Old Spice brand to appeal to both men and women with the perfect mixture of humor and brand association needed for the commercials to be effective.

W+K created a character that we all could love, and then they did something important—they let us love him. When the Old Spice Man broke the fourth wall by reaching out to the online community and responding to people’s questions and statements, we became part of the world they created. Even if we never had a special video made specifically for us, it felt like the Old Spice Man had all of a sudden become real; and that’s something anyone would like to be true.

Dylan Kylmenko contributed to this post.

Melanie Wong Melanie Wong is the Managing Editor for the Brands section. A senior at Emerson College in hopes of a B.S. in Marketing Communications: Advertising and Public Relations. She also carries a Entrepreneurship minor. Melanie is in the process of developing a business plan for a Social Media Consulting Agency based in San Francisco hoping to package social media to small local businesses. She loves writing about technology (avid WoW player and Xbox 360 devotee), social media, hot trends and cute things (see blog). Her favorite blogs include Mashable, Copyranter, and TheDieline.com. Twitter: @melanieswong

View all posts by Melanie Wong

6 Responses to “Swan diving into the best night of your life”

  1. Jessica

    Great article, Melanie. You really capture the essence of the campaign and its appeal to Gen Y.

    I think perhaps the most surprising part of this campaign – which is truly a social media dream come true – is that Old Spice sales have actually been going down.

    • Dylan

      While sales have been going down, I wonder about brand favorability and awareness. This campaign doesn’t have any integrated component with a strong drive to store, just a strong call to liking the hell out of this brand. I’m interested to see w+k’s next steps. They have everyone’s hearts and the momentum–now that they’ve got it, what will they do with it to impact sales?

      • Jessica

        I’m totally with you there, Dylan. I think despite the sales going down, it’s too soon to call this campaign a failure. In the era of social media – which is built on engagement, relationships, transparency, trust and general brand likability, the criteria for success has to be slightly redefined. (Although of course ROI will always be important.) I’m very interested to see what W+K will do next now that the pressure is on to drive sales.

  2. Kim

    I think this campaign is one of my favorite’s because it was able to reach out to us. By creating the viral response videos (which are hysterical) w+k has been able to keep us interested and coming back for more.

  3. Tom Miesen

    I think the Old Spice campaign is great, for a number of reasons. The appeal is definitely that it uses humor, but I think the type of humor it uses is more important. It uses that over-the-top, knowingly ridiculous sort of humor that really appeals to Gen Y. It’s like “Anchorman,” to a certain degree. Because they know that what they’re saying is ridiculous, it comes across as a satire of Fabio-like manliness instead of a reinforcement of that view of masculinity.

    Even before the social media blitzkrieg last week, nearly all of my friends LOVED seeing the ads. The ads are awe-inspiring because they were done in one continuous take, they are funny, and they are short enough to share and re-watch on Youtube, which are three ingredients of something that has the ability to go viral

    Great post!



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