Jul 16

A Blending of Old Media and New: Why the Old Spice Campaign Worked

When people call me a “Social Media Consultant”, it makes me cringe. Rather than focus on the medium, I’ve always preferred to focus on the audience, how a product benefits that audience, and then finding what mediums will get that message to that audience. If it’s on social networks, then that’s the medium to pursue.

Some people thought this campaign was silly. Personally, I found it amusing, but that’s not what struck me the most about it. The Old Spice Man was both on TV and in viral videos. The company obviously spent calculated efforts using both new and old media. This gives me hope.

I’ve often felt that new media fanatics write off old media as dead. I don’t know. As a business owner, if someone offered me a free TV commercial during “Dancing with the Stars”, I’d take it. The sheer numbers alone would drive traffic and hopefully my website could field people who might not be worth my time.

People involved in old media describe new media as a “fad”. They see it as a lesser medium, not worthy of the time and money often reserved for old media. They don’t see that it’s leaner but more segmented, and just requires more of a sniper vs. cannon approach.

The Old Spice campaign used both the cannon and the sniper. It drove mass awareness by using TV commercials and then engaged those masses with a clever YouTube and Twitter campaign.

I must send props to the people at Old Spice and their agency Wieden + Kennedy for recognizing that these mediums are not mutually exclusive and can actually work best when used together, depending on the scope of your product and the demographic you are pursuing. I’ve worked in places that considered old media dead already and other places that felt new media was a novelty you set up just to say you have it. I’ve worked in places where the new media people seemed to have to compete with the old media people. At the end of the day, all people care about is that you are delivering a message that is useful in some way to them. The medium is irrelevant.

  • dbourgeois7

    All good, but hasn’t this campaign been put on the case study shelf of great entertainment, but lacking sales impact? High entertainment aspect – check. Social vehicle – check. Sales driving efforts – oops // (should W+K have added coupons, discounts, online sales specials (buy-one-get-one-free), online promotions …?

    • Anonymous

      I’ve seen reports of both.

  • http://twitter.com/deepratap Deepali Pratap

    That campaign really brought the brand back into people’s conscious. Regardless of the sales figures, just bringing Old Spice into a younger generation is a success :)