Viral Done Right: The Hyper-Personal ‘Old Spice Man’

Advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy created a monster with their recent campaign of ‘Old Spice Man’ commercials, featuring the irresistible appeal of former NFL wide receiver Isaiah Mustafa.  These commercials may have made their debut on television, but they really reached the apex of their popularity on the internet, thanks to their viral spread across social networks and content aggregators such as Digg, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook.

Aware that internet word-of-mouth was their best distribution engine, and wishing to build off the momentum of the already popular ads, Wieden+Kennedy recently went hyper-personal by filming a series of responses to individual internet commenters, on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, again featuring Mustafa as the ‘Old Spice Man’.

Here he addresses G4TV’s Kevin Pereira and unleashes a new move, the ‘monocle smile’:

Here he wishes Digg Founder Kevin Rose a speedy recover from recent illness.

Here’s a message to The Ellen Degeneres Show, which she will undoubtedly feature on-air, again creating free publicity for Old Spice.

In an example of instant meta-hyper-commentary, Mustapha responds to actress Alyssa Milano’s tweet referring to the hyper-personalized campaign, adding a clever nod to her ‘Who’s The Boss’ past.

And in a near-absurd example of hyper-personalization, Mustapha addresses a comment on YouTube that he never saw because it was removed!

Here’s a personalized message to the Reddit community, not complicated, but just enough to prove Mustapha is performing these live and these messages aren’t ‘canned’:

By reaching out, not just to the communities, but to the individual users of those communities (and influence leaders, in particular), Wieden+Kennedy have strengthened the image of the Old Spice brand in a way that an ad alone simply couldn’t do.

BONUS: In another bizarre example of self-reflexivity, Isaiah Mustapha answers a tweet…from himself!

UPDATE: This Google Trends graph shows the campaign has been very successful in the short term at building brand awareness on the internet.