A couple of months ago Old Spice pulled of one of the greatest marketing coup d’etats of all time, taking but a few days to become the proud owners of the most popular branded channel on YouTube.
The short version is that face-of-Old-Spice Isaiah Mustafa hunkered down in a bunker with a producer, some creatives (and, one suspects, some tremendously good amphetamines) and started banging out YouTube videos directed at individuals all over the world who had taken the time to send him a little message of their own via whatever social channel took their fancy.
This has since been proclaimed one of the greatest social media success stories of all time, which is not without a measure of irony when we consider that it all arose out of a well-conceived and cleverly placed series of good old-fashioned television commercials establishing Mustafa’s persona as the fresh face of a reinvigorated brand.
Either way, it’s proven that even the most prosaic of products can transform its fortunes using the right blend of interruption and permission-based advertising, packed together around a pearl of creativity and a nugget of solid strategic thinking.
This, of course, is disastrous news for brand marketers everywhere. Suddenly the excuse that you work on a crap product most people haven’t heard of in over a decade and certainly couldn’t ever get remotely excited about just isn’t going to cut the Colmans. The guys on the Blue Stratos account must be shitting the bed.
Wieden & Kennedy’s visionary campaign also signals the beginning of the Post-Old-Spice era. Following on from the smattering of ill-advised hangers-on clinging to the coat-tails of the meme itself, we’re moving into the phase where agencies have had time to look on admiringly, schedule a meeting with their client, pitch a similar idea, rush it into production, write the press release and bring it to life.
Orange’s Singing Tweetgrams, I put it to you (and POKE London can consider this an open invitation to tell me what a blithering fool I am, and that this was being planned many moons ago), has the look of one such initiative.
PSFK report that: “From Monday through Thursday of this week, select Tweets tagged with #singingtweetagrams will be recorded into one-off, downloadable Tweetagrams. The recorded Tweetagrams will be posted on The Feed, and selected user submissions will be informed via Twitter if/when musical message is recorded – be it sweet, sultry, witty or snarky.”
Being that I’ve recently eschewed Twitter and the business of writing succinct open missives in favour of the ramling equivalent, I have no way of trying this out in order to see whether it’s a good idea or not.
I do wonder whether part of the charm of Old Spice’s approach was its novelty, and ambition, taking an unproven concept and realising it in a way as emotionally intelligent as it was strategically well-considered. And I’m not sure that’s a format that stands up to imitiation.
Time, we may feel 100% confident, will tell.