Way to go internet

Old Spice

This is no longer viral marketing.

If you have been on the internet in the last few days than there is no doubt that you have probably seen this man at one point or another. If you’re not aware of who he is than I’ll give you a brief history lesson on the matter. Isaiah Mustafa has become the human mascot for Old Spice and their newest line of commercials. A former Wide Receiver for the NFL, Isaiah started his career with Old Spice some months ago when they decided to start a new line of commercials which broke away from the classical approach of marketing. The famous commercial of course made its round on the internet with the whole “I’m on a Horse” and it’s later incarnation having Isaiah end up in a hot tub riding a motorcycle.  I suppose it is worth nothing that these commercials are well done in a purely technical sense as most of it is not digital effects. In fact the commercial featuring the horse [seen below] was actually a single stage and with the exception of the diamonds flowing out of Mr. Mustafa’s hands it was all done in a single shot and on a single set.

The commercial is below:

Now, this commercial on it’s own was an attempt on the part of old spice to try and convince their younger audience that they are still hip or more so that their product isn’t solely aimed at men who are now in their late 60’s and 70’s.  To do this, they have attempted to make this change as to who they are marketing to. Of course, this isn’t as obvious in the first 2 commercials which simply feature a rather well produced Old Spice commercial, but rather after they discovered how well that commercial was making it around the internet, Old Spice figured it was time to bring Mustafa back out and use him to star trying to make more personal videos. The trick here of course is that the internet loves when you start speaking to individual users.

To do this, they set Mustafa up in a studio and had him answer questions on sites like Facebook, Reddit, etc. in a style similar to those that were seen in their initial commercial. The internet, being easier to manipulate than they would like to admit, were of course fascinated that a company as big as old spice would reach into their pockets and start answering individual questions and then recording professional videos based on that. Now, I don’t know anyone who would even have the heart to call this viral marketing anymore, because it simply isn’t. And of course whenever that happens we have to go looking at the sales.

According to the CBS business network in fact, sales are up by 11% since the start of the videos. In  fact only the specific product that the commercials were trying to market [Some Night time Red Zone something or another], were down, overall sales were still up. So with that alone, this form of marketing apparently works like a charm, and honestly, I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed in all of that. As a child raised by the internet, it’s always been a common theme to become nearly immune to advertising [as that is the only method of making money on the internet]. But it seems that as the internet grows more and more, people are becoming easier and easier to sway. I’ve heard the various reasons ranging from the appreciation to good marketing, and all the rest. The problem with this of course is that it doesn’t change the fact that it is still pretty much direct marketing.

I guess it just disappoints me that people are so easy to sway with marketing, that the human mind will actually go out of its way to like something because they are being lied to.  Now of course Old Spice and Mustafa don’t care about anyone they answered questions for, and even more so they are simply doing it so that Old Spice can have a bigger profit margin this year. There is nothing more to it than that, and I’m not really sure how comfortable I am with the fact that it apparently worked like a charm. Basically this means that as long as I impress the internet with how well I lie, it makes it ok to lie. Meh, oh well…

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