Old Spice’s Mano A Mano En El Bano: What Happens In The Bathroom Stays In The Bathroom

old spice

Image from: Old Spice / Shutterstock

Old Spice and agency Wieden+Kennedy yesterday  finally delivered the punch line set up by their recent dalliance with B-list hunk Fabio, whom they recently set up as “The New Old Spice Guy.”  On Monday, Fabio challenged “the Old Old Spice Guy” Isaiah Mustafa to an “Internets duel.”  Mustafa accepted on the same day, ending a hiatus from said Internets that had many fans worried that Fabio might truly be replacing him.  Billed as “Mano A Mano in El Bano,” the battle was waged in the form of a cascade of short videos responding to questions posed by spectators via Twitter.

They had us at “in El Bano.”  By mid-day Wednesday, the duelists had uploaded dozens of videos, and we must have watched…oh, a few of them, let’s say.

What’s interesting to us as experts in digital analytics and advertising effectiveness is the way that this campaign – like the Old Spice Guy campaign on the whole – deftly aims at non-traditional ‘response metrics’.  No doubt the campaign’s ultimate goal is to increase product sales by raising the brand’s image, but this campaign is designed to get to its goal by first sparking two actions that it doesn’t explicitly call for: getting viewers to tell someone else to watch and getting viewers to come back for the next video, and the next, and the next.  These goals are common to ‘viral’ efforts, but Old Spice sets the bar – a judgment backed up by the modest-at-best traffic to OldSpice.com, which grew with the initial Old Spice Guy campaigns but now stay in an orbit typical of products designed to make men smell better (figure).

Old Spice devotes all of its energy to bringing everyone back to the place they started, preferably with friends in tow.  What happens in their bathroom, stays in their bathroom.

So when it comes to virality, where does the undisputed champion of viral video campaigning set the bar?  Fabio’s original “Challenge” has been the most watched of the new Mano a Mano videos so far, according to YouTube statistics (love you for that, YouTube!) – garnering over 2 million views in 2 days.  Mustafa’s “Challenge Accepted” eclipsed 500,000 today.  Most of the other videos trail far behind, but they may catch up.  We’ll give this a week to let the virus incubate, and then there’s a few questions we’ll be posing and answering next week:

-How many Mano a Mano viewers had never watched an Old Spice video before?  (Is this a virus that’s still spreading?)

-How many Mano a Mano viewers watched more than one?  (Is this virus still potent?)

-And….what kind of people are supporting Fabio?  (We’d never forsake Mustafa…)

Check back next week when the data speaks.  (See how we set up the next installment?)