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July 30, 2021

Old Spice Guy revolutionizes effect of viral marketing

It wasn’t but in the spring of this year when there was a legitimate question mark behind viral videos.

In many cases, in even the most successful cases, quirky Internet clips could drum up tons of interest, spark millions of viewers to take part but ultimately fall flat where sales and bottom lines were concerned.

Exhibit A: the Cadbury gorilla, which did little to revamp Dairy Milk sales. Exhibit B: the Evian roller-tots, Time magazine’s No. 1 TV ad of 2009 which actually preceded a 25 per cent average sales drop for the bottler that year.

So maybe we had at least a rudimentary feel for the still-emerging trend of viral marketing: it’s good for brand recognition but impartial for brand sales.

And then this damn Old Spice Guy came along and screwed everything up.

You no doubt have seen all these preposterous Old Spice commercials going around – the ones where Isaiah Mustafa, the beefy ex-NFLer, ambles around pertnear naked and hawks deodorant and body wash.

At first, the ads sucked. Then sucked less. And then they got charming. The more they were played, the more they were talked about.

And what was supposed to be a one-or-two-off commercial series with Mustafa got so popular it’s become the highest-watched ongoing viral campaign of 2010, one that’s had the first real effect on bottom line sales.

Nielsen data shows that sales of Old Spice body wash have jumped 107 per cent in the past month, and by Brandweek’s numbers, a further 55 per cent spike in the last three months.

This is good news for Old Spice, a brand one marketing source says had all been written off as “obsolete,” and even better news for Mustafa.

The fledgling actor has become a bona fide B-list celeb from these ads. He’s got his own social marketing tool named after him now, and will even star in a movie alongside Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Kevin Spacey and Jamie Foxx next year.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...