Old Spice, How To Replicate The Success

by Rosie Yakob on Nov 22, 2010
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It’s been a few months and yet advertisers and consumers alike are still talking about how Old Spice took social media by storm.

Since the conclusion of the campaign, we’ve seen parodies and copy cat failures, but there are things we can learn from the campaign to create success in most social media campaigns.

1. It’s All About The Platform

There are two big lessons to learn from Old Spice as far as platforms go. First, find where your fans are hanging out online and go there. Don’t be afraid to cast a wide net. When Old Spice asked fans to talk to Isiah Musafa, they didn’t just reach out via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, they also leveraged various blogs, Reddit and even /4chan/.

Once you’ve identified the platforms that matter most to your fans (not just to your boss), create & share content there. Old Spice made it easy for all of us social media geeks to share and spread their content because they used platforms which we shared stuff on each day. What a shame it would have been for Old Spice to have created great content replying to fans and then serving it up as print ads.

Bottom line: Unless you’re Jack Penate, you shouldn’t be torn on the platform.

2. Real Time Response

In a world filled with instant gratification, consumers are looking for quick responses from brands. Even brands responding 24 hours later have often missed the boat.

Wieden + Kennedy, the agency behind Old Spice, took the same principle that most brands are applying to community management of Facebook and Twitter pages, but applied it to production.

If you’re on the agency side, challenge brands to let you create content on the fly. If you’re on the brand side, learn your legal rules inside and out and work with an agency you trust to create content quickly.

And don’t be afraid to start small: If you notice a question asked repeatedly on Facebook, instead of providing the same canned text, consider creating a video demonstration that you can post in response. This doesn’t call for massive production budgets, but instead calls for a solid knowledge of the brand and finding someone (in-h0use or out of house) with basic editing skills.

3. Influencer Outreach/Content Distribution

If you take a look at the playlist of responses from Isiah Musafa, you probably recognize some of the people he responded to: Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Kevin Rose of Digg, Perez Hilton, Alyssa Milano. Those five alone have a combined reach of 13MM+ through Twitter.

When you’re creating content, you need a distribution strategy – and tapping into influencers can greatly increase your chance of success.

Influencers will differ for each brand and for each piece of content, but generally speaking, you want to target fans & potential fans of your brand with a large reach and a high rate of engagement. [Tip: If you want a quick way to check & see how engaging one actually is, try auditing their Bit.ly links and see how many of their followers are actually clicking through]

Bottom line: Billy Joel may not “get” social media, but there are a lot of “big shots” who do: Find the white hot spotlight!

4. Entertainment

It’s easy for brands to hide behind logos, legal rules and corporate speak, but product specs were so last year. Unless you have news on the iPhone 5, consider straying away from the product detail dumps on Facebook and Twitter. Instead, focus on creating genuinely entertaining content.

Sure, this could be a bit harder to master because entertainment is somewhat subjective, but it’s not impossible. W+K created a character that wasn’t just easy to like, but easy to quote. They created responses that were personal and that made us laugh.

Bottom Line: Good entertainment isn’t something to take for granted.

Post Author

Rosie is the Co-Founder of Genius Steals, an innovation consultancy helping brands, agencies and rebels with new product concepts, new communication ideas and new ways of thinking, especially about the impact of technology. She is a self-proclaimed internet enthusiast...