Old Spice’s 2014 Superbowl ad shows moms singing and stalking their sons
Mother’s everywhere are mourning the loss of their young boys as they become a man. And in this Old Spice “Mom Song” commercial, they’re singing as they stalking their children, clutching to their cars while riding laundry bins, and showing up in odd places like beaches and cafeteria
A superbowl commercial website is calling this ad creepy, but it’s absolutely my favorite Old Spice ad since Mustafa’s “this is what your man could smell like” viral hits of 2009 and 2010. I hope the agency (still Wieden and Kennedy) runs it on the 2014 Superbowl. There’s a also a shorter alternative with a woman popping her head from a bowling ball machine.
My day job, when not a Viral Video Genius, is insights strategy at an advertising agency (which works in healthcare and has nothing to do with this spot). I’ve worked with P&G but not in many years.
So I like to try to imagine what “insights” drove this campaign. Here’s my guess:
Guys are sold on Old Spice. But moms are buying Old Spice — especially for young teens.
Moms see Old Spice as a brand for grownups, and they’re reluctant to let go of their boys.
Moms don’t want to be sold Old Spice or told they’re clingy.
So the creative challenge was likely to win over moms by satirizing the clingy mom who won’t let their kids grow up. “You, dear shopper, do not look like Arnold in drag in Total Recall.”
Note what the spot doesn’t do: it’s not telling moms to “let go,” or “buy Old Spice to help them get the girls,” which would have the opposite of the desired effect. This just in: seems I called it right according to this AdAge piece that attributes the song to musical agency “Walker.”
What ya think? Love it like me? Freaked by it? Think it will work?
Finally an interactive, immersive online video ad that doesn’t skimp on the comedy or selling. Patrick Warburton takes us on ‘GOOD REASONS,” an interactive entertainment experience that highlights Honda and takes the viewer on a guided web surf. While the interactivity is limited during the 9 modules, Warburton’s script is clever… he’s seen tapping a Tweet or Facebook like page, and he’s best when left alone between module selections. I discovered the ad on YouTube, and probably spent 15 minutes with it.
Warburton generally walks that fine line between being confidently funny and glib, and it’s hard not to think of his voiceovers during the experience…. especially Kronk.
The work was created, at least in part, by Justin Young, who left Firstborn Multimedia in NYC and leads “This Is His” an LA-based interactive design and post production shop. Check out the behind-the-scene stills… and read more about the shoot here.
Or my version of the photo (and I could have done this without the green screen, Honda.
I’ll bet you thought this would be a post about Apple’s Facetime (glorified video-conferencing via a wireless network but not carrier). Maybe you expected people to be Facetiming via the DVD players in their car. Oh contrair. You get a free mini-MBA lecture in high-tech marketing with a few topical references. If you’re an MBA student, bring this post into to your professor for extra credit. If he smiles, he’s smart. If he dismisses it, he’s locked in circa-1990 and his obsession with Kottler will be his undoing. If he is indifferent, you should ask him why he really decided to stop marketing and start teaching. If I got the gender of your professor wrong I apologize. In 1996 the ladies only taught the organizational behavior classes. Anyway if it spawns an intelligent marketing debate, send me the footage please. And tell your damned professor and university bookstore to buy my book.
So wake up for today’s little marketing lesson. Failing to differentiate based on a meaningful attribute, a marketer may turn the customer’s attention to something very specific where his or her product is not the best… but the only. Being “the only” is a delicious place to live, especially if you can connect that to someone’s affirmed need. I usually introduce myself as the “only career marketer who also is one of YouTube’s most-viewed entertainers.” Then I try to explain how that unique POV (as a business guy who knows the new medium) can help a brand become relevant in social media’s most visceral form (online video). Convinced? Good because I’m too busy to take any new assignments. Anyway in today’s post I’m turning up the arrogance meter “up to 11″by likening myself to marketing authors Jeffrey Kottler and Geoffrey Moore. Nobody wants to hire an arrogant douche bag.
I was at first struck by the absurdity that Mac hung its iPhone4 campaign on Facetime, a novelty feature that gets old in exactly one 34-second call for 97.4% of Americans. Take this horrible execution of Santa Facetiming his son… an act of pathetic desperation to milk emotion out of Christmas and transfer it to the shiny feature. It’s revolting on so many levels. But it makes sense to me (at least the strategy if not the cheese-wiz execution).
By contrast, I first thought the T-Mobile campaign (ripping so directly from the Mac/PC campaign) was pathetic — blatantly borrowing equity from a market leader. But then I realized it’s a bold and savvy ol’ Judo “art of war” marketing/positioning technique: turn your competitors energy against them (this is risky and doesn’t generally work for a market leader). There’s no question it’s helping T-Mobile redefine itself as a company otherwise lost in the shuffle. I haven’t been able to look at my iPhone without thinking of the smug guy with the old fart cruising him around on the razor scooter. It’s the first time I actually considered T-Mobile despite loads of ads that have chomped at my ankles. By the way, if Jeffrey Kottler, Geoffrey Moore and I were in these ads, I’d be the hot chick on the motorcycle.
Back to Facetime. I began to appreciate the campaign (despite its horrible creative manifestation) because I’m guessing the strategy was derived for three reasons. These are the things I think about while I’m forgetting where I placed my to-do list:
At the launch, video conferencing wasn’t so common, and appeared to distinguish iPhone 4.
Early adopters aside, something can’t cross “tipping point” if it’s too confusing or feature laden. It’s a good idea to focus on one feature (facetime) and turn it into a benefit (you’ll be a better parent!). Apps are too confusing to serve that objective in 30-second spots.
It was likely driven from a “consumer insight” via research. Apple knows it’s got the hard-core users by the balls, and could issue an iPhone with a unicorn horn and we’d buy it. So it looked at the outer ring of the target (“considerers”), and asked “what can we do to guilt the “Airport Dad” (Blackberry user) into switching to a phone made for a teenager?” Clearly he might be turned off by iPhone’s inability to, um, work like a phone, or its inoperability with his company’s technology system, and he may not even care about music and movies. He’ll like apps but he doesn’t know that yet, and short-form advertising won’t get that through. So we’ll punch him where he already hurts… you’re not buying a piece of electronics, airline papa, you’re buying perceived proximity to your family and loved ones. Boom- we shifted this consideration process from a rational purchase to an emotional one. It’s like ad agencies and their cursed theatrical pitches, oh how we hate and love them, but buy them either way.
So what’s this have to do with DVD players in the car? We purchased a new van recently (you may recall me giggling like a stoned teenager at the absurdity of the used-car store). My wife was trying to tantalize me with what mattered the last time we bought a used van (about 4 years ago)… DVD players, GPS, etc. I quickly took those off the table, knowing that the “shiny electronic objects” would become obsolete long before the automobile.
As a marketing student for live, I can sometimes use my evil genius to resist being prey to my peers.
Don’t try to change my consideration method with your shiny objects. It would be foolish of an automotive manufacturer to try to differentiate based on an accessory (DVD, GPS, wireless) that cost less when purchased alone… but it’s still happening and always will. Jo told me one van has an ice chest. Really? If I want a friggin’ ice chest burning down my battery, I’ll check the DIY sites. I’m commuting not camping, damnit. (I just Googled, and I think she might have been referring to the Honda Odyssey’s “cool box,” which isn’t even cooled.. just insulated).
Hey that reminds me of my dad’s old statement about “the smartest gadget on Earth.” A thermos, he’d say. It keeps hot things hot. It keeps cold things cold. So what, you’d say? He’d respond: “how DO it know?”
So all I’m saying is I don’t need Facetime, I don’t need a crappy GPS built in my automobile that can’t even discern between Pine Wood and Pinewood. And I sure as hell don’t need a fancy thermos deciding what van I buy. Call me crazy.
In conclusion, marketers use gimmick features/benefits to “level the playing field” or twist the consideration process. I’ll bet Kottler never learnt you that. Maybe Geoffrey Moore, but not Kottler. And there is such a thing as Facetiming while driving, and yes I’ll probably do it to my own demise.
How is this list similar or different from 2007, 2008 and 2009?
Commercials are still the exception not rule. This year’s popular advertising campaign/commercial was Old Spice, and last year it was Evian’s roller skating babies. I referred to the latter in my book as the “exception to the rule” that promotional videos don’t often go viral. Even though this is increasingly true, 2011 to spawn some Old Spice knockoffs nonetheless. Hopefully a few brands and agencies will try a “road less travelled” with better odds.
Both 2009 and 2009 lists had a Twilight trailer. Again- this says less about online video as the fact that the films are extremely popular.
Last year’s “double rainbow” was the quirky “David After the Dentist,” now at 75 million views (that’s almost half of the views I’ve garnered on my entire collection). Hopefully we’ll continue to rally around odd moment like these.
As the medium matures, we’ve seen fewer “quirky” amateur clips than, say, 2008 when we had viralizations like Fred, “Christian the Lion” and ImprovEverywhere’s “Frozen Grand Central.” The memes of 2007 were even more interesting to me — from The Landlord and “Leave Britney Alone” to Obama Girl (Next New Networks) and the South Carolina Miss Teen USA clip
Almost all of the top-10 popped on YouTube. The world’s second-largest search engine remains the most vibrant channel.
The teen factor is still driving views, even if each year offers content for a broader demographic.
Each year the top 10 most-viewed hits are a smaller percent of overall views… it’s the long tail effect. Finally, do you notice anything missing for the first year in a while? No SNL Digital shorts… or sadly, anything from The Onion, College Humor or Funny Or Die.
Okay now go buy my book, or tell a journalist to interview me for a delightful year-end segment on viral videos.
This is a real Google Chrome operating system promotion created by engineers and posted on YouTube. The good news? They set a low bar for consumers to create their own YouTube commercials. And maybe that thankless job of being a Google marketer will improve, as the product and engineer-driven company may finally recognize marketing as a non-trivial function. Sadly Google’s high GPA requirement means no great marketer or sales person can ever work for the software company.
The ‘demon squirrel’ clip (below) has become a smash hit on the internet, according to the UK Telegraph. It’s been seen more than one million times, and is attracting a slew of critical and positive comments. The video is part of the Kremlin’s toughest anti-alcohol campaign, and was released after President Dmitry Medvedev described the country’s drinking problem as “a national disaster.”
Meanwhile on states side, reactions to the animated squirrel have been negative, including criticism by the poster animal for the anit-drug campaign initiated by Nancy Reagan.
“I recognize the clip is meant to be cautionary tale about the effects of binging on alcohol,” said Scat (pictured, right), who played a crack-cocaine lit squirrel on ICE AGE, by 20th Century Fox.
“But seriously- that nappy-haired, poorly animated piece of Pixar crap is teaching us nothing,” Scat added, while rubbing his nose spastically and screaming for his pimp. “I’ve done three films and I’m being considered by James Cameron for a cameo in Avatar 3. F that little Пиздец!”
Take a bold YouTube homepage-takeover advertisement like today’s “Flu Has Cooties” campaign then toss in this ridiculous disclaimer: “MedImmune has no control over the video content on the YouTube homepage.” What do you get? Shit. Without that insulting disclaimer, I might have sailed right onto the Flumist page, learned about a flu vaccine that comes in a handy nasal spray, and maybe even “asked my doctor about Flumist today.” Alas, I had to clear the vomit from the back of my throat first.
The gratuitous disclaimer insults human intelligence, reveals the sorry state of pharmaceutical marketing, and sucks the mojo from this campaign like Dr. Evil to Austin Powers.
I can just hear the company’s medical/legal review meeting, as some poor bio marketer tries to explain: “Well, sir, a YouTube homepage advertisement doesn’t, in fact, make the advertiser responsible and liable for the videos that appear around it.” Then the thick-headed attorney, who recently stapled his tie to his wall accidentally, charges back with something like:
The FDA may think we’re responsible for those bosom films and cat viral movies. What? Well you call them videos, but I call them talkies. You know, we’d better not advertise on YouTube. DDMAC hasn’t come out with its position on social media. YouTube is social media, right? (Insert wet fart sound). Well- I’ll approve it as long as you put a disclaimer on the masthead button. What? Okay on the banner. What if there’s a flu video near our banner? We might get a letter from the FDA. People might think our sponsorship implies editorial oversight of the entire YouTube library. I’ll have to consult outside council.
Seriously I’d like to meet this attorney and give him/her a wedgie. I hope this moron is requiring Flumist magazine ads to disclaim “Medimmune has no responsibility for the articles or letters to the editor in this magazine.” Better stay away from television, because it’ll take a good 15-seconds to explain that “adjacent shows are not the responsibility of Medimmune, AstraZeneca, its employees, or its shareholders.”
I think the ad would have been more effective if it just said “Flumist side effects (adverse reactions) include runny nose, headache, muscle aches, cough, tiredness, weakness, chills and muscle aches (no I didn’t make that up). I swear I’d rather get those side effects AND the flu than deal with this type of legal mindset.
Feeling sympathetic to the attorney? Good- go work there. They’re hiring. By the way, I tried Flumist and it made me fart. Now if that attorney reads this he’s gotta report it. It’s a Flumist adverse event.
I’ll go to my grave urging brands and agencies not to pin their online-video marketing strategy on “going viral” or chase the exception. But every once in a while someone succeeds… It even followed PC Week’s rules.
If I return my iPad and buy this Galaxy thing… will that music play in my head, and will everyone follow my every dance step? It’s funny how the joyful, musical celebration distracts your brain from another less positive interpretation of this video… we’re all techno lemmings and we’ll follow the innovators even if they drop and fall. But that’s okay! I can be a lemming and be joyfully aware that I am, right?
Topping OldSpice and Evian, the most-viewed online-video advertiser is Blendtec, according to “The Top 10 Viral Ads of All Time,” by AdAge (AdvertisingAge) and VisibleMeasures.
Seriously we’re not tired of it.
Here’s the page on YouTube where you can sort videos and channels by most-viewed , most-liked, most-subscribed by day, week, month, all time. Find me a few advertisements on here and I’ll give you a piece of candy.
I think I get the first copy of my book, Beyond Viral, in a week or less. The central premise is that it’s time for advertisers to stop pinning all their hopes on going viral. Leverage popular creators and channels. When the web was new we all scrambled to create the ultimate website for our target audience… now we’re back to advertising and public relations.
With online video we can do a “Hail Mary” and maybe land on AdAge’s chart. Or we could sponsor a webstar and guaranteee a sizable audience without luck or paying for views.
But they’re amateurs! They may say something bad. Yeah, no. You sponsor them and you get to review their videos before they’re live… and still I literally got a text yesterday from an agency friend who wondered who might produce a viral video for her.
I wonder if archaic advertisers and marketers will blend? I mean I wouldn’t press the button, but if you could build a big enough blender… MAN that would go viral.