Three Essential Ingredients in the Old Spice Viral Campaign

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The numbers are in and Wieden + Kennedy’s Old Spice campaign has not only turned into viral gold (more than 30 million YouTube video views) but also literal gold as well, Nielson reports that Old Spice sales have risen 107% percent over the last month. That’s a lot of manly smelling men.

At first glance, mainstream media and Old Spice don’t seem to have much in common. But, several lessons can be drawn from the campaign’s viral success:

1. Content Matters.

The Old Spice campaign demonstrates the power of high-quality, clever, well-written and branded content (not to mention a hunky dude on a horse). DemandMedia and Associated Content may have figured out the algorithms behind what users want, but they have yet to match the quality and caliber of traditional publishers in terms of enduring content.
2. Engagement Matters.

Old Spice didn’t stop at producing one or two funny commercials. Instead, they developed a marathon campaign that centered on directly engaging with people who went out of their way to check out Old Spice Man on YouTube, producing 180 response videos to increase awareness. The lesson here is two-fold:

A. They catered to user wishes, giving them more videos and engaging directly with commentary.

B. They identified a valuable, high traffic trend and tapped into that interest. Publishers can do the same with content, especially when using tools to identify user intent and user interest and subsequently acting on that interest by producing content to foster even more engagement.

3. Social Media ROI Matters.

MediaPost’s Catherine P. Taylor covered the Old Spice Campaigns success and argued, “The next time either of you start to poke holes in the validity of digital media metrics. You might realize that digital — and social media — metrics mean more than you think and that traditional metrics mean less.” Taylor’s statement rings true for publishers as well, these digital metrics offer powerful insight into the performance and relevance of content. Publishers who fail to heed and act on these metrics are missing a tremendous opportunity to maximize the value of their work.

So much to learn from a fragrant spokesguy.

— By Lee Glandorf

Follow Lee on Twitter: @LeeGlandorf

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