Corporate Eye

Old Spice Continues to Entertain and Drive Social Media Buzz

I’ve been thinking about writing a post about the newest Old Spice Guy commercial for several days.  Yesterday, I found an article on Advertising Age about that newest commercial that includes some interesting statistics which support the post I was planning, so here goes my take on it.

The Old Spice Guy commercials have been very successful in making an old brand that many people associated with their grandfathers into a brand that younger generations are actually pausing to consider.  Both male and female audiences are talking about the Old Spice Guy commercials with the newest commercial (and my favorite so far) getting 3.4 million views on YouTube in the first week that it was released.  You can view it below.

One of the things that keeps the Old Spice Guy commercials alive is the company’s willingness to give up control of their content.  When an Old Spice Guy commercial is uploaded to YouTube, people use clips to create their own videos.  They talk about the commercials, share them, and make them their own.  That’s a brand manager’s dream come true.  However, giving up control of a brand isn’t something that most large companies are willing to do yet.  The Old Spice success is a perfect example of how the power of the social web can drive brand buzz, but unless a company is willing to lose control to a certain extent, that buzz potential is very limited.

It’s still unknown whether or not the Old Spice Guy commercials are actually driving sales, but those metrics are more important when it comes to tracking actual advertising performance.  When it comes to tracking social media marketing success, brand conversations and sharing are far more important and indicative of an initiative’s performance in terms of building brand value, creating brand advocates, and generating word-of-mouth marketing.

Based on the number of social web views of the most recent ad (previous ads each generated over 2 million views online within the first week after their releases), Old Spice is definitely benefiting from a strong social media buzz generated by the ads.  The question is whether or not the company can sustain that buzz, deliver on the brand’s promise, and meet consumer expectations for the brand again and again.  Only then will that buzz turn into long-term, sustainable growth for the brand and business.

What do you think?  Will the Old Spice Guy commercials have a long-term positive impact on the Old Spice brand and business?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

Great post…but it has me thinking. Its great that there is positive overall online buzz for the Old Spice commericals but I am left wondering if all the positive buzz has any impact on revenues. At the end of the day, isn’t that the overall intention of why we are in business?


That’s what I was talking about in the third paragraph of my post. Buzz is essential these days but given the likely monetary investment in these ads, they need to deliver tangible ROI, too. The question is whether or not they’ve done that well enough.

I would say to early to tell. I find that many in the marketing field use positive buzz as the end all and be all to measure success. I don’t think many organizations are set up to attribute positive online buzz as a percentage of revenues (for profit organizations) and/or percentage of donations (for not-for-profit organizations).

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