Viral Marketing: Ain’t Nothing Old About Old Spice

Old Spice Muscle Music

Image from: Muscle Music Player / Oldspice.com

It’s a paradox: Old Spice has been absolutely dominating viral media with its riotous commercials, yet their traffic is trending downward. If a brand is excelling in social yet suffering in unique visits, is this necessarily a case of cause and effect? Or is this just an example of leveraging a different platform to generate massive brand awareness?

What Old Spice has done is no small feat; each commercial is a stand-alone agent of share-ability, a conduit of viral content. If you haven’t seen the commercials, watch one. Watch twenty. They’re all funny, if not a little brazen, but you’ll be impacted no matter what. That’s what humor does for a brand. It resonates, then it echoes long after a consumer has stepped away from the advertisement.

Oldspice Demographics

Above is a breakdown of the demographics to Oldspice.com. If you’ve seen the commercials you know they play off a completely ridiculous, hyperbolized masculinity, and taking a look at the typical visitor this makes sense: young and male. However the humor doesn’t seem neglectful of the 44% female demographic; it’s much too overblown to take itself seriously, so it’s unlikely to exclude.

Visits to Oldspice.com

Here’s the paradox: despite the pervasiveness of the commercials online, Oldspice.com has a volatile and somewhat evident downward trend in visitation. Meanwhile, their YouTube channel is heavily trafficked. In August they posted one video (screenshot above) called Muscle Music Player, which as of this writing has 198,948 views. This is more than OldSpice.com’s entire Visit count for August (11,430, or about 5% of views on the Muscle Music Player video).

You can purchase products online from Old Spice, but my theory is that the campaign isn’t targeting those loyal enough to buy in bulk. Instead, this campaign seeks to make in-store conversions simply by the sheer memorability of the outlandish humor. Old Spice is therefore using an alternative platform that is more conductive to viral content and therefore more able to leverage this brand impression.

YouTube can be branding gold if you’ve got the proverbial oomph behind your campaign, but humor is fussy and virality is fickle mistress. In either case I’d say Old Spice has proved themselves masters. If you don’t believe me, just check out their YouTube channel. Just try to look away.

About Ryan LaSala:
Ryan La Sala joins Compete as the Digital Marketing Co-op for Compete.com, sovereign of all things social media. Ryan is a current attendant of Northeastern University, dual-majoring in Cultural Anthropology and International Affairs (with minors in Biology and Psychology), with career interests in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Consumer Anthropology. Aside from acquiring aspirations with big words, Ryan’s other interests include reading cheesy fiction, writing in any capacity, singing and cooking. Find Ryan on twitter @Ryality or connect with him on LinkedIn.