Since Old Spice debuted its “The Old Spice Guy” ad campaign in February, the commercials have been wildly popular. The ads depict Isaiah Mustafa as "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like," a shirtless, up-for-anything kind of guy who can sell body wash in ridiculous settings.
This week the company kicked their campaign up a notch when Mustafa began sending video responses via Old Spice’s Twitter feed to bloggers and others who’d recently referenced the commercials. The list of recipients includes Guy Kawasaki, Peter Shankman, Alyssa Milano and Perez Hilton. Mustafa’s responses weren’t limited solely to bloggers or other influencers — he also posted video replies to fan inquiries and comments posted on YouTube and Yahoo Answers. He even granted one fan’s request that he propose (see below)to his girlfriend, saying in the clip; "Your love has blossomed from a seed into a fully grown love plant, and now it's time to fertilize that plant."
To say that these videos were successful would be a massive understatement. Part of the draw lies in Mustafa’s talent (and those of his writers) and ability to remain in character while delivering lines like; “I'm not allowed to adopt fully grown men due to some law about that being weird and entirely creepy and weird. But if you are, by chance, an unborn or baby infant child then yes, I will adopt you unborn and/or baby infant child. Please send along the official paper pieces to my home address: 528 Bottom of the Ocean, next to the giant rock, number 1B, Mount Olympus, Earth, 93981."
But I think the appeal goes deeper than that. We hear a lot about engaging via social media but how often do companies truly take advantage of the platform to connect directly with consumers? Old Spice’s response videos do just that. In addition to being hilarious, they foster more involvement in the company’s brand by making consumers an integral part of the campaign. Who wouldn’t be more inclined to buy their body wash after being name checked by the company’s spokesperson?
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from “The Old Spice Guy” campaign, whether you’re on the agency or client side of public relations. Social media really does break down silos and enable companies to interact one-on-one with other organizations, potential partners, customers, members of the media. The list goes on and on. If you’re a PR pro, are you encouraging your clients to take advantage of all this world offers? And if you’re on the client side, are you ready for such a transparent level of engagement? And just to clarify, saying yes doesn’t mean your CEO will be on YouTube in a hot tub.
-Contributed by Kate Finigan. Follow her @PRKateFin