The Irresistible Old Spice Guy Commercials

Greatest ad campaign ever.

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Forget about Secretary Clinton’s participation in the Afghan conference, or British Prime Minister David Cameron’s meeting with the president today. Ladies, it’s time for some very important Internet research. Click to watch the #1 most-viewed videos on YouTube this week, which are the Old Spice ads which feature former football player and current hottie Isaiah Mustafa. I was out with some women last night and it’s all they could talk about. One told me that even her teenage daughter had starting wearing Old Spice.

“The Old Spice strategy makes brilliant use of social media,” Augie Ray, an analyst with market research firm Forrester, told BusinessWeek this week. “The response has been terrific. Social networks are buzzing. Video resharing has been very high, and the Old Spice YouTube channel now has 75 million total upload views. And this effort shows evidence of going even more viral.” Make that 99 million as of today.

The first ad ran on television in February, and since then the campaign has been on YouTube. The ads usually begin with Mustafa saying in a sultry voice, “Hello, ladies” and quickly going over the top in terms of goofy humor. In most of the videos, he appears bare-chested wearing only a towel, and I think women especially need to watch these videos many, many times ... in order to study how to run a successful social media campaign, of course. 

Since last week, Mustafa has recorded YouTube responses to specific people who commented online. As word spread, Ellen DeGeneres and Demi Moore posted questions, and George Stephanopoulos sent in a query as to how President Obama could recapture the women’s vote. In all, Mustafa starred in over 180 responses to comments, all of which are on YouTube. Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb covered the making of the videos behind the scenes, and he writes that being responded to directly and by name is what is making this go viral so quickly: “It is well done and it appeals to people's egos--but there is something more, too. It feels very personalized, even if it wasn't directed at you. Those people that got responses, and many people who didn't, have Tweeted, Facebooked and otherwise shared links to the videos back out across their social networks.” 

According to NPR, the YouTube responses are being hailed as “the fastest-growing viral video campaign of any product in history.” BizReport (headline: “Look at these social media results, now back at me, now back at the results”) quotes Matt Fiorentino of Visible Measures: “We took a look at some of the most explosive viral videos we've measured, including Bush dodging Iraqi shoes, Obama giving his electoral victory speech, and Susan Boyle, and found that in the first 24 hours, Old Spice responses outpace all of them. Now, that's fast."

And as the number of views continues to climb, the phenomenon continues to grow this week. Fans at Reddit--not the marketing department at Old Spice or its ad agency--have created a website that allows you to record a personalized voice-mail greeting with Mustafa’s voice. (My husband was just saying he thought I needed to record a new greeting on my cell phone, and this will work very nicely.) It shows you how popular this has become, beyond YouTube. Twitter is full of comments about it, and if you Google “Old Spice Commercial” you’ll get over 8 million results. As the man you want your man to smell like would say, this ad campaign is now diamonds!

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