Old Spice, we miss you on Twitter

Old Spice, active on Facebook has just four Tweets in all of October

Or do we?

Happened to stop by Old Spice’s Twitter page today and was surprised (or maybe not) to see that Old Spice had tweeted all of four times in the month of October. In fact, in the 92 days that have passed since the big social media event of the summer came to an end on July 15, Old Spice has posted all of 44 times. That’s 44 times in 92 days.

Instead Old Spice has focused its social media efforts on Facebook, where questions like “What’s fresher than freshishness?” routinely generate well over 1000 likes and just as many comments. Don’t ask me why. Social media is filled with mysteries like that one.

As for Twitter, it appears that Old Spice has found that it could get away using the platform in the old fashioned way — as an advertising medium. Old Spice simply used Twitter to call attention to its videos. They launched a campaign with a huge explosion, poured lots of fuel on it for a few days, and let it fizzle out. That’s the antithesis of how brands like Zappos, Best Buy, Ford, and Whole Foods use Twitter, but it was an effective strategy.

Still, Old Spice’s quick abandonment of Twitter raises some interesting questions.

Can a brand simply use Twitter in the same way it uses paid media?

You turn it on, crank it up, achieve some reach, accomplish your goals and call it a day. In that way it’s really no different from any campaign with a paid media buy. Presuming you have content and an idea big enough to generate attention. If you do, it can be a heck of a lot less expensive than paying for attention.

Is Old Spice missing a much bigger opportunity?

Hello Ladies managed to attract nearly 120,000 Twitter followers overnight. It seems a waste not to engage with those 120,000 followers an ongoing basis. Chances are they’re not the same people who are paying attention on Facebook. And even if there is some duplication why not leverage both social platforms?

How and where do people want to engage with a brand?

Perhaps certain brands just aren’t conducive to the day in and day out engagement that defines Twitter. Media companies, airlines, service brands, retailers with lots of stuff to sell have plenty of reasons to interact with an interested audience that wants constant information, real time access and quick responses. But Twitter calls for a brand to be present, attentive and willing to interact. Facebook doesn’t really. The two social networks can each accommodate very different conversation strategies.

Is Facebook a better place for a brand to connect with fans?

Or is it just an easier place to post content because less interaction is required? For me there are huge differences between Twitter and Facebook. The former is a place where the exchange allows for a productive back and forth, genuine conversation, and, of course, customer service. Facebook on the other hand tends to be a place to post something and simply solicit group reaction or individual comments.

Curious what you think? Should Old Spice be more active on Twitter, or wait until they have another gimmick for which it’s the ideal activation medium?

18 comments
Alexandra
Alexandra

I really like your idea of them doing a mistake by treating social media like old media - it shouldn't be like that and more businesses should have learned it by now.
But, at the same time, they can't just drag on with what they did, it would become boring and people might change their perceptions about the groundbreaking campaign OldSpice did.

NickStamoulis
NickStamoulis

Old Spice shouldn't have just dropped their Twitter. When you have an online presence, you should continue it through all avenues.

Sushi
Sushi

Old Spice is definitely missing out. They created a meme, for crying out loud. Why not continue to use it and tweet spinoffs, at the very least?

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I think this is a perfect example of a Brand excited that their Agency did this great cross media campaign, but in the end it was W&K who were doing the Social for the Brand. There is a hand off needed and it never happened. I have seen this before when Agencies showcase a cross platform campaign that included Social, got a Fan Page started and then nothing. Brand never ran with it.

I agree with Ben about Twitter. As for Social its a Personal Communications Platform, my view is there are 1000 brands who want to talk with you today via Social, assuming you are generously going to let 20 engage with you semi-regularly via Social, who is your top 20 just based on favoritism (favorite food, music, electronics, drinks, restaurants, etc etc) you can only pick 20. Where does Deodorant rank. Can it ever break the Top 20 sustainably? I don't think so. Old Spice should be happy and settle for using Facebook Ads to sell on Facebook if they want to be social.

DavidALee
DavidALee

I agree with Ben that Twitter is about a conversation. I agree that they don't want to talk to a cologne. However, I agree with Heather and think Old Spice missed a great opportunity by using their brand for Twitter and not the Old Spice Guy himself. Too many companies don't develop a communications plan for social media. What messages do you want to communicate and how will you do it in an entertaining way? As long as they stated up front this was fictional and for entertainment only no one would complain, and more might follow.

Imagine if they used the Old Spice Guy. A few witty quotes to keep people entertained and send him on trips to places people would like to visit. Periodically input brand messages. For example:

@OldSpiceGuy about to fly to NYC and only have a carry on. Don't need much more when you don't wear a shirt. Glad Old Spice has a deodorant in 3 OZ size.

@OldSpiceGuy at a nightclub in NYC and the ladies love my Old Spice cologne.

Maybe even "travel" on one airline and in exchange get them to give Old Spice print space in their magazines that are on the planes.

I bet they could tell an interesting story and in the course of a year mention all of their products (more than once)...and maybe even get suggestions for new ones while continuing to grow their community.

Mhandy1
Mhandy1

Old Spice is totally missing the boat... however to supplement the diminishing law of returns turing on and turing off is an option... it is however, a lame one

howlvenice
howlvenice

It would seem to me that ignoring 120,000 followers is a complete waste of a valuable audience. As you state, FB and Twitter really do talk to different people, and most brands maintain a presence in both spaces. I know they have replaced Mustafa, but wouldn't it have been nice to continue to leverage the relationship they so smartly created between him and "the ladies". Those videos were genius in that they allowed Mustafa to break out of the commercial script and offer advice, personal information and humor in an intimate entertaining way. It would have been very easy to extend that conversation daily. and it's not like you have to tweet that often. Hire a great writer, continue to charm the ladies, offer advice for how to treat their man...it could have gone on a for a long time without great expense. I believe they have missed a great opportunity.

benkunz
benkunz

1. Twitter is about conversation. Perhaps people don't want to hold a conversation with cologne?

2. Twitter is about relationships. Perhaps people who buy deodorant every two months don't want a relationship with that type of product?

3. Twitter chases hot trends. So when a viral one-time hit fades, perhaps nothing can reignite the trend-fueled conversation?

This isn't meant to be negative, but rather to suggest that not every tool fits every work job. Twitter is one type of communication tool, not suited for every producer-consumer dynamic any more than TV works for every product sale or hammers help change light bulbs. Old Spice may have been right to ease off, if there are no real relationships for that brand to be had in 140 characters. I personal love Old Spice, but please keep it off my Twitter feed, just as I don't really want that brand calling me on the phone at home.

jmsptrck101
jmsptrck101

certainly would seem worth their while to engage the people who engaged them with appropriate messages or conversation. perhaps they don't think they do (have an appropriate message to share) at the moment? perhaps, to malbiniak's point, they don't and prefer to have something good (or interesting) to say, or nothing at all. although, not sure what possible reason there would be for not having a long-term plan for twitter and the followers they hoped to (and did) gain with the wonderful Hello Ladies creative work.

toddgilleland
toddgilleland

While it does seem odd that they haven't been consistent on Twitter, I do appreciate the fact they aren't beating a dead horse by still trying to promote work that's run its course (for the moment). I can't speak to the effectiveness of one vs. the other, but Twitter does require an on-hands captain – while Facebook can be set to autopilot for a period of time and will also tell you how well the flight went.

A brand of the size of Old Spice can certainly afford to maintain at least a marginal presence on Twitter. But if the next round of work is as good as the last, it'll all work out in their favor regardless.

malbiniak
malbiniak

Facebook has Insights on fans. Twitter has _____? Brands can learn more about their audience (and engagements) on FB.

And let's not kid ourselves. It's something you put on your armpits. The social media mystery behind this is intriguing, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a falloff in the their Facebook efforts. They don't seem to be trying to force the circle in the square, and I think that's commendable.

tim_nolan
tim_nolan

@edwardboches Mom always says, "If you don't have something #awesome to say, it's best to says nothing at all." ?

jessica731
jessica731

Great points, Edward. I was just thinking about this recently.

I agree with your point about Old Spice missing out an the opportunity to connect with its 120,000 followers on Twitter. Even if they were to cross post a lot of their content, using Facebook as the hub of their social media efforts, that would be better than abandoning their Twitter.

In fact, a recent Forrester study shows that people who follow brands on Twitter are much more likely to buy from the brand than Facebook fans.

Sure, Twitter might take a little more effort, but social media is about being present where your audience is and engaging them at the right place at the right time. Old Spice brought itself to the front of the social media space with its genius campaign, and if they want to have a lingering impact after their 15 minutes of viral fame, it would benefit them to maintain an active presence on their social channels.