6 ways the old spice man seduced the web

July 17, 2010

The viral success of the old spice campaign was so natural, we almost forget this was an advertising campaign by design.

If you've been to YouTube any time in the past few days, you've surely noticed that the front page is overloaded with videos from the “old spice man”. This prototypical “man's man” has managed to do what so many others have tried and failed: he seduced the web through a clever viral marketing campaign.

Like all viral marketing campaigns, this one leveraged social media sites (YouTube, Twitter and Facebook) in order to spread like wildfire. Let's take a look at how the marketers designed this campaign for success.

  1. It leveraged high profiles
    They got this campaign kick started by approaching well known personalities in the social media scene. Some are minor celebrities in the rest of the world, but they are superstars online. The amount of followers old spice had paled in comparison to some of the profiles from which they piggy backed.

  2. Easy of entry
    They managed to pull in all kinds of people because it was so easy: just message the old spice man! There was a guaranteed paypack worth far more than the small initial investment; this is a very important key to receiving and referrals and reciprocity.

  3. It was funny
    The payback was a good laugh! There is a reason many workplaces ban social media sites on their networks: there is very little useful to be done on it outside of marketing, public relations and customer support. Social media is all about fun, so this campaign really clicked

  4. It was personal
    In the often cold and disconnected world of marketing, this had an incredibly personal and interactive touch.

  5. It had the me-too factor
    If you received a video response, you were sure to tell all your friends. And once your friend or favorite celebrity received one; you wanted one too.

  6. It was original
    A marketing campaign of this type has only been possible for a few years. This was definitely a first. People don't recommend unfunny and unoriginal videos.

Millions of people from Montreal and around the world have already watched one or more of the old spice YouTube videos; and the campaign is still going strong. It will be interesting to see the final total count of videos produced, and how many companies will emulate this viral marketing design template.

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