The Viral Genius of Wieden+Kennedy’s New Old Spice Campaign

[show=oldspicead size=large]Am I the only one who’s been bored by many of the ads that have recently attempted to go viral? Two weeks after the Super Bowl, not a single one of the campaigns launched at that time remains memorable, and the real innovators are mostly focusing on alternative social media ideas.

Of course, there is one huge exception, courtesy of The Man Who Smells Like The Man Your Man Could Smell Like, aka actor Isaiah Mustafa, the new face of Old Spice.


Old Spice has a good track record when it comes to clever advertising with a clear voice — I’m not the only one who still fondly remembers Bruce Campbell’s series of ads for them, I’m sure. But this ad for the Smell Like a Man, Man campaign has a number of awesome things going for it…

It’s just really really funny, even after repeat viewings

I’m sure that deep in YouTube’s analytics there’s a number for how many times I’ve re-watched this ad, and while I might find that number a little embarrassing, the fact is that I’m not alone — it’s racked up more than 2 million views so far on YouTube, received close to 10,000 five-star ratings on that site, and been featured on numerous blogs.

And it’s important to note that it’s easily found (Old Spice is featuring it along with other ads from the same campaign on their official YouTube channel) and was available for viewing immediately upon its premiere.

It’s deceptively complicated

Leo Laporte at TwitTV, who didn’t believe that the ad was largely done in one shot, tracked down the creators of the ad at the Wieden+Kennedy agency in Portland, Ore., and did an exhaustive walk-through of how the ad was created. The trickery involved, both physical and digital, is impressive when revealed: Apparently, for example, it took 57 takes to get the sweater to land perfectly on Mustafa’s shoulders.

The actual Man Your Man Could Smell Like is awesome

The LA Times Ministry of Gossip blog managed to track down Mustafa, whose abs are a big selling point, sure, but swagger and charm are what help this ad ride the line between ridiculous and entertaining. In real life, his acting career seems to have gotten a bit of a boost (he’ll be appearing in an upcoming episode of the ABC drama Castle, for one thing) — and he seems very sweet based on his Twitter account, albeit a bit overwhelmed by his new success.

I’m sure Wieden+Kennedy are hard at work right now figuring out how best to capitalize on this as well for their clients; the challenge will be not killing the joke. My advice? No more horse. As much as I love The Man’s horse, this follow-up ends the need for any more horse. After all, how many other ways can a man, even The Man, ride a horse?

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