Similar to our recent involvement with the Barefoot Bandit, Social Media differing from traditional media allows users to become an integral part of the story. While a man's aftershave lotion isn't exactly breaking news, how Old Spice's ad agency is engaging its customers via social networks is.
After bursting onto the American scene as one of the Super Bowl's top commercials this past year, the topless dude known as the "Old Spice Man" has become an almost iconic figure, while offering up a parody of men who exude a super-abundance of overconfidence.
No longer your Dad's fragrance - even though Proctor & Gamble's Old Spice products have been around for more than 70 years - based on the popularity and virility of Old Spice Man's commercials - the Wieden + Kennedy ad agency is utilizing social media in a very new and novel way.
For those that follow Old Spice Man, users have actually been sending tweets to @OldSpice regularly, as if he was a real-life figure to communicate with. While tweeting with faux-individuals has been done in the past with the characters from the popular TV series "Mad Men," the difference here is the Old Spice Man is communicating back to his followers. Old Spice's ad campaign has smartly made this a two-way conversation.
Isaiah MustafaIn the last few days, with rapid-fire-produced YouTube videos the Old Spice Man (who's real name is Isaiah Mustafa) is responding to a good number of tweets with links that include a personalized video that addresses a specific question or comment.
Celebrities have even been taken with the idea. Here is a personalized 20-second vid for Alyssa Milano which allowed Old Spice Man to turn on the charm just for her:
And he's not responding to just celebrities or Twitter users- here he's communicating with Gail Berg who posted a Facebook status update asking Old Spice Man if he had any suggestions as to how to find a man worthy enough to purchase Old Spice for? He responded with the following:
Even marriage proposals are getting into the act. A fan named Johannes S. Beals tweeted, “Can U Ask my girlfriend to marry me? Her name is Angela A. Hutt-Chamberlin” to Old Spice. The following video popped up on YouTube within an hour, and Old Spice Man tweeted it to Beals.
According to a Mashable report, Brenna Ehrlich writes that "the campaign is a perfect storm of virility - not only does it target specific bloggers (who are then more likely to cover the whole thing), it also reaches out to less prominent individuals who can be made more aware of Old Spice."
By becoming personally vested in the campaign, social media brings viewers into the fold and attaches them to the brand in a way, neither 'push' nor 'pull' marketing has ever been able to do in the past. While those two traditional forms of advertising are still necessary, they do not have the viral impact that 'magnetic marketing' has - or the ability to bring the consumer and product together at a moment in time that creates a bond that is so strong - it leaves a lasting impression and builds greater customer loyalty.
We've seen 'magnetic marketing' at work with campaigns like those are presently being used by the Flip.to social media service for hotels and airlines, and NBC's current "Fan It" initiative aimed at turning social media 'evangelists' into an ad hoc promotional team for the network.
So as marketing and advertising evolve and begin to embrace 'magnetic marketing', it is evident that branding can be accelerated when Social Media is used as the glue that solidifies the bond between product and consumer. Proctor & Gamble has taken an innovative leap that now distinguishes it from the its competitor.
Funny, I stopped wearing Old Spice aftershave some years back after one of my colleagues told me, "my scent reminded her of her grandfather." Today, I might just take that as compliment and not as the 'age' inference I took it as, back then.
For other stories that highlight the workings of 'Magnetic Marketing,' please check out the following posts.