Going viral or selling product: ROI anyone?

by Urs E. Gattiker on 2011/09/22 · 23 comments 14,053 views

in d business failures,d business Fortune 500,e marketing 101 cost-benefit ROI

You may remember our recent discussion of Isaiah Mustafa’s commercials for Old Spice. Some considered them brilliant, especially combined with in-store promos that actually helped increase product sales. Now we have an attempted encore in Old Spice’s efforts to get back on the map through more videos with attitude.

Article source – Going viral or selling product: ROI anyone?

German version of this post is also available – Virales Marketing als Verkaufsfoerderung: Wo bleibt der ROI?

Of course, Old Spice’s campaign is geared for the North American market, but it’s advertising copy with a kick and worth checking out (Old Spice – see Thursday).

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First came the 30-second television commercial ‘Man, Your Man Could Smell Like,’ featuring the ironic model of manliness portrayed by Isaiah Mustafa. This was amplified with widespread online exposure that prompted a three-day YouTube campaign in which the actor responded to messages from fans (see Social Media Monitoring group on Xing: Old Spice crew produces 87 short comedic YouTube videos).

The agency tried a repeat performance in July 2011 using this template, but this time, 52-year-old Italian model Fabio Lanzoni played the Old Spice model of manliness. His acting career has included tv series such as Mr Romance (2005) and Acapulco H.E.A.T. (1990s).

For the campaign’s high point, Isaiah Mustafa returned to face off against Fabio. The ad agency’s idea was to let fans vote on who was the manliest of spokesmen. Here is new Old Spice guy Fabio’s challenge video:

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Isaiah Mustafa responds here:

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And, Fabio ups the ante here:

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What’s the point?

This virtual duel definitely garnered millions of views on YouTube and led the charts in August 2011. Fabio even has his own Twitter account.
Image - Fabio - new Old Spice guy - Twitter account - flash in the pan.
Unfortunately, Fabio (or the ad agency people doing it for him) stopped posting after August 15, 2011. Our analysis of the 240 sent tweets rates it a flash in the pan, without continuous engagement, and little, if any thoughtful conversation.

Fabio also started a Tumblr account, the fastest-growing platform among 18- to 34-year-olds in the US. I don’t think Fabio was the right guy to reach out to this group, but maybe their parents’ generation. Moreover, the few pictures and videos do not encourage visitors to engage, hang around or return. So, why the effort?

The advertiser even tried to make the public believe Fabio was winning the challenge, but comments in various forums suggest otherwise.

As a finishing touch, the campaign’s kick-off commercial is called ‘Smell Better Than Yourself’, and promotes the Red Zone product range. It features a naval captain fighting a sea monster and drowning in gold coins (not slick, funny, or smart, but definitely boring).

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Tip: Get more posts about the My.ComMetrics 2011 trend briefing series by adding ROI ComMetrics to your search. Do better than Old Spice – benchmark your social media footprint. Measure for impact, use My.ComMetrics.com and improve your social media hub’s performance.

Celebrating yourself without selling product

If you believe Old Spice owner Procter & Gamble, Fabio is not replacing Mustafa. The bigger question is whether showing consumers your brand’s self-love serves a sales purpose. Besides creating buzz, you want to sell product, or at least increase people’s commitment to the brand, which will hopefully result in a future purchase.

The first campaign with Isaiah Mustafa was combined with various promotions (newspaper and online coupons, in-store promotions, etc.) that helped sales. This time the campaign seems focused on going viral, without trying to sell product, and while it builds on a successful template this attempt seems forced.

Of course, word of mouth is hard to measure. Nevertheless, would you or your friend purchase Old Spice next time you need a men’s fragrance?

We previously published Why did Toyota ignore successful Old Spice?, outlining a few tricks the car manufacturer could have used for their own viral marketing attempt. Unfortunately, Procter & Gamble needs to do some review of their own on this one.

Paying for an engagement campaign that ends with the video, assuming you even finish watching it, seems a waste of resources.

What do you think? Thumbs up or down for this viral campaign? Would your business (if it could afford such a campaign) go for this type of viral marketing?

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  • http://twitter.com/birdbathbuzz/status/116672785320906752 Chris Isaac

    Going viral or selling product: ROI anyone? http://t.co/WFxVFqh4

  • http://twitter.com/mathewbatarse/status/116689184953081859 Mathew Batarse

    Going viral or selling product: ROI anyone? http://t.co/NAfGd8FB #socialmedia

  • http://twitter.com/davidoa David O. Andersen

    Great case and some solid points in this article.

    I do believe the most important thing to keep in mind when creating a social media campaign is the purpose – what do you wish to achieve?

    Old Spice did extremely well in going viral and raising brand awareness with both the original video and the face-off videos featuring Fabio. The original video successfully integrated promotions to push consumers for a purchase, the following Fabio-video did not.

    I wouldn’t call the second video a flop but it is definitely hard to measure the ROI in regards to sales figures. But again, if the goal was simply to raise brand awareness it was undoubtedly a success.

    • http://commetrics.drkpi.ch/articles/2011-trends-get-better-roi-with-facebook-twitter-and-youtube/ Urs E. Gattiker

      Hi @twitter-3702901:disqus Welcome to the blog. I appreciate you being here!. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Of course, you are correct, it did raise awareness for those that watched the video or read about the campaign in newspapers. For me,  Isaiah Mustafa’s commercials were funny, smart and hilarious at the same time.  Fabio plays a character whose narcissistic disorder is apparent and, worst, he is a bit full of himself (at least the character he plays) as we say here.

      Having said that I wonder about two things:

      1 – will those people whose awareness went up during the 3 week or so campaign remember in a month when the go shopping for a fragrance?
      2 – did the campaign really reach they 18 to 34 year olds or actually turn some of them off

      Of course, older guys like me don’t even want to be seen using Old Spice any longer because I thought its campaign was dull… boring…  I don’t want to be self-centered old guy like Fabio do I?
      Of course, this affects us old guys only :-)
      Thanks so much for sharing.

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  • http://twitter.com/audreyfleury/status/116852197857312770 Audrey Fleury

    Une étude de cas sur la campagne #Oldspice RT @ComMetrics: Going viral or selling product: ROI anyone? http://t.co/KFQDphTW

  • http://twitter.com/davidoa/status/116871875845558272 David O. Andersen

    Case: Did #Oldspice push sales or raise awareness with their viral campaigns? http://t.co/ExCRuL2B #ROI #socialmedia

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  • http://twitter.com/smintel/status/117337748884561920 SM Intelligence

    Going viral or selling product: ROI anyone? http://t.co/8v7jMmcX

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  • http://commetrics.drkpi.ch/articles/2011-trends-get-better-roi-with-facebook-twitter-and-youtube/ Urs E. Gattiker

    @BodhostUKDedicatedserverUK:disqus     Thanks for stopping by to read my blog here and leaving this comment. Second, I apologize for my late reply (PS. for some reason your comment ended in the spam box).
    I believe that for most small businesses using the approach that Old Spice pursued is simply too costly.

    We have to try it step-by-step with small conversions (e.g., as you point out subscribers to a newsletter or this blog). 
    We leave such campaigns to those with deep pockets and consumer brands. If you sell power plants or server hosting it is unlikely to work.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  • http://twitter.com/devseo/status/129949309683777536 Alex Hall

    http://t.co/D2ENj1Zs – Going viral or selling product: ROI anyone?

  • http://twitter.com/hughmccabe/status/136388770139348992 Hugh McCabe

    Going viral or selling product: ROI anyone? http://t.co/o1Tw2TcH

  • http://twitter.com/commetrics/status/160012925669621760 Urs E. Gattiker

    Why the Old Spice campaign worked once http://t.co/fWJb2bUZ failed 2nd time http://t.co/SesHlqcN #SIMD12 @Natacha_Romano

  • http://twitter.com/cytrap/status/160994191856513024 CyTRAP

    Old Spice Kampagne: das 1st Mal funktionierte es http://t.co/U0JMOXDs Flop 2tes Mal http://t.co/MRQILePn #SIMD12 @Natacha_Romano

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