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content maketing: despite Old Spice’s stellar creative, folks still ain’t buying it!

July 26, 2010

So sales of Old Spice have dipped some seven percent during the recent virally successful “Smell Like a Man” campaign.

It’s kind of tough to believe that some 35 million viewings of the series of ads on YouTube hasn’t resulted in at least some immediate uptick in sales.

Of course, the ad agency will tell you that it takes a while for any sales message to slip into the subconscious and that it is unrealistic to expect instant results. Having said that, there are still several reasons why the ads, despite huge national and international exposure, haven’t yet resulted in increased revenues.

1. You can’t revive the sales of a tired, dated product simply with ads.
The last time I checked, the product was still called “Old Spice.” Same colors and same clipper ship logo as when my grandfather used to buy it – and wear it back in the ’70s. A slogan on the website tells you all you need to know – “New Look, Same Great Mansmells”. In this day and age and in one of the most fiercely competitive markets, it takes more than a towel-wearing guy on a horse to get me to switch to a dated brand. You might get the product on my radar with a viral campaign but unless the product lives up to the hype, I’m still not buying it.

2. Entertainment doesn’t necessarily lead to sales
Quite why we’re all assuming that if a campaign or video achieves huge viral success it automatically leads to increased sales I don’t know. Did I like watching Susan Boyle singing on YouTube? Yes, as have some 100 million others. Did I go out and buy her latest CD? No. Did I enjoy the latest Nike World Cup soccer ad? Yes, it was awesome. Did I run out to my nearest Dicks Sporting Goods store and demand a pair of the latest Total 90 Laser III boots? No.
Although we’re still at the stage with social media where this type of entertainment is still a novelty, at the end of the day it all blurs into one. The Old Spice ads take their place alongside a Korean baby singing Hey Jude, Charlie Bit My Finger and Lady Gaga. It’s great fun to watch and share, but as soon as the video is over, we’re on to the next shiny thing.

3. Recognising the need to followthrough
Creating entertaining and engaging content experiences is only one part of the social media/content conundrum. As we mentioned a few days ago in this blog, the true art of social media is being able to develop that one-to-one earned relationship with the consumer. There’s little point in having 50 million Facebook fans or 30 million YouTube views if your relationship with the consumer stops as soon as the laptop is closed. In this regard, Old Spice still has the tough part of the job to do – converting those fans into loyal, brand evangelists and keeping that individual communication going.

Social media, like any other type of media, requires a solid, long-term strategy if it is going to be successful.

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