Instant, personal, social and creative on a horse

It was only a year ago that most ad agencies turned their noses up at the mere mention of Twitter. (The comments are gone now, but half of them were beyond harsh.) It was only a year ago that most social media agencies went around declaring that traditional ad agencies just didn’t get it.  It was only a year ago that advertising creative teams would scream bloody murder if you expected them to generate creative within a couple of days, never mind hours or even minutes.

Well, things change quickly on the Internet.

Today, ad agencies are scrambling to catch up on what Twitter’s all about. Even some of the old guys are showing up.

The social media “gurus” are pulling their feet out of their collective mouths as ad agencies start to raise the SoMe content bar.

And those writer/art director teams that used to whine about shorter timetables? They’re disappearing as quickly as those tweets you saw in your morning stream.

And if they’re not, they will be after today as the Old Spice campaign running on Twitter and YouTube reminds us that everyone was wrong.

The ads that even the anti-advertising crowd loves have harnessed the speed of Twitter and YouTube and combined it with the personal interaction allowed by both to produce a bunch of new spots that speak directly to individuals, responding to their Twitter posts, comments on Reddit , and ramblings on YouTube itself.

If the videos were genuinely being produced in real time, they’re brilliant. And even the whole thing was preplanned, with incoming Tweets and scripts prepared in advance, well the illusion is great. (Hope I don’t sound like a cynic; I want to believe it’s the former.)

I haven’t contacted or spoken with anyone at Weiden and Kennedy, the agency behind the Old Spice idea, but clearly they have just gone out and done what is likely to be labeled one of the best examples of “the new integration.”

Ingredients: big, clever brand idea; social presence that realizes content is as important as the product it represents; opportunity for consumers to participate; responsive, real-time engagement (including faux pas and obvious glances at the script); and a built-in ability to share.

Of course having the formula doesn’t mean you can replicate it. That requires more than free platforms and a branded Twitter account and YouTube channel.  It takes talent.

Congratulations to all for a very cool and amusing idea. F@&*. Wish we’d thought of something like this first.

Relate posts:

ReadWriteWeb on how the videos were produced.

AdWeek on Old Spice ruling the web.

Even the New York Daily News

11 comments
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David Lee
David Lee

Although not done in real time, the US Army did video responses to questions submitted on our website about life in Iraq. We used hand held cameras and had Soldiers video other Soldiers and posted the responses on our website. Our goal was not awareness but rather to drive people to our website. It was a big success. Too many people don't realize that you can be social on your website as well! For more details see: bit.ly/cm6OO8

What we were able to do in real time was to have the first tweet from the International Space Station. (See @ Astro_Tim and @Astro_TJ) This was done by an Army Astronaut. Our use of the Army astronauts generated over 350 televised news reports. Our goal was to reach parents of prospects to let them know their child could achieve their educational goals in the Army.

Old Spice has certainly taken things to the next level.

Would love to be part of the Mullen team and do this for your clients!

Bruce DeBoer
Bruce DeBoer

I think we are finally moving into more creatively integrated uses for socially networked media.

My stance from the beginning was that socially networked media will never work in isolation. As a stand alone tool social media is a fad. In fact, isolation is anathema to the whole idea.

Integrated into a cohesive well balanced conversational marketing plan it's powerful. (Same goes for Crowdsourcing in my opinion).

@7 - Perhaps because the economy hit us hard at the same time social media hit a stride, it was perceived as a cheap alternative to conventional channels, not an enhancement.

Dustin
Dustin

I have one question. How much did they spend in traditional media TV, Print, & Online advertising to create the character? Millons, upon millions. Without that primed pump no amount of social media wizbangery makes this idea successful.

edward boches
edward boches

A lot I hope. Of course, that had nothing to do with my point. The fact that $$ was behind the idea is what makes it work. My argument is that any idea is better when it invites participation, uses media as connective tissue, and makes someone feel as if a brand is talking to him (or her.)Other point was that all the naysayers were wrong: agencies once dissed Twitter, now they embrace it; social agencies said ad agencies didn't get it, now those ad agencies are proving them wrong; creative directors who once proclaimed they would never do real time are now doing it and doing it well, at least in this case. Yes, you need a seeded idea, but a seeded idea is only good if it lives on and on and on in different iterations.

Kurre
Kurre

He's not on a horse, he's on a roll...

Darin Kirschner
Darin Kirschner

This is the kind of guerrilla tactic that Social Media is best at and will begin to open up new avenues to. Of course the first ones look amazing and almost undoable, but like old magic, in time will become commonplace. I applaud Old Spice for having the guts to embrace the tech and take the leap. Well executed and eyeball catching. Its sticky stuff, like potato chips, you can't view just one.

Bravo!

Mark Harmel
Mark Harmel

The original spots with him riding backwards on a horse was an example of bad push advertising.

Now with the same spokesman (who a great actor) and some brilliant real-time writing they have a hit.

Makes me wonder about if they were different teams.

Howie G
Howie G

Actually the Escape Pod/@vinnywarren launched this within the last month for Wheat Thins. But I am sure every agency is going to jump on this now. Adverve did have two episodes on Plagarism one recently when they interview Joe le Pompe and Ask Walling at Cannes. Social Media though is kind of unique but at the same time if many more come about people will lose interest fast. They also interviewed Vinny on the last episode (ahem btw Edward would love for you to be on with Bill and Angela since your cool and interesting!).

Wheat Thins got NY Times PR and was buzzing like crazy starting about 2-3 weeks ago. People wanting to know if the spots were staged etc.

But I do like your point about how things are changing in what Brands and Creatives embrace. I think its because everything has been done before in some way shape or form, even if you come up with something fresh without influence its hard not finding something from the past. (Music the same way now). Social is fresh so its being jumped upon.

Howie G
Howie G

OK Old Spice is one upping the Wheat Thins because it seems this is being done live rapid fire online via You Tube. Vs a crafted spot.

Edward you can trump this by having Jet Blue Pilots taking Tweets in flight via You Tube real time! ;-)

Arafat Kazi
Arafat Kazi

When I first saw what was going on, I got so excited I ran out of my apartment into the sun and called all my friends. Every one of the video responses have been hilarious. And talk about meta--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-qpEUOtLk8

Old Spice Guy actually responds to Isaiah Mustafa!!!!

Dag
Dag

This is an awesome campaign. Very good client to be able to see the value in this as well.

A Dr Pepper campaign in Europe from 180 Amsterdam (back in 2001) actually had a blog where the a character would answer questions from fans in real-time as well.

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