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The lesson of Old Spice: Going viral doesn’t necessarily mean selling more August 12, 2011

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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Old Spice’s strategy of going viral in Summer 2011 entailed a battle between its popular spokesman Isaiah Mustafa and its supposedly new front-man, Fabio. The campaign was fairly successful, topping the viral video charts after being viewed tens of millions of times.

While Mustafa successfully resurrected the deodorant brand in 2010, many advertising experts have been left wondering if Old Spice is doing its brand a disservice by sticking with the same old silly ad strategy. As Ad Age‘s Jonathan Baskin stated:

The original Isaiah Mustafa commercials were utterly brilliant, and combined with in-store promos actually constituted a sales success. They put Old Spice back on the map with some attitudinal relevance, and could have been the prompt for other ads that reinforced and sold the brand again and again. Instead, they’re giving consumers more entertaining brand self-love with no point other than celebrating itself. It’s “engagement” like a wreck on the side of the road is engagement, ending once it has passed. Nobody needs it except Fabio, though I guess by giving him something to do, the ads could be considered a charitable act.

To see some of the ads from the summer campaign, watch the following videos:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Why was Old Spice’s original ads with Mustafa so successful?

2.  Should the brand be changing its strategy now that it has enhanced its recognition with younger consumers? Why, or why not?

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