Old Spice Proves Consumers Have More Patience Than Creatives


When Old Spice re-launched their Old Spice Guy campaign last week, the advertising pundits were quick to their pedestals – many criticizing the decision to return to what they would now consider an ‘old’ campaign (no pun intended).  Several wrote that, while the original campaign was an undeniable success, it was a mistake to go back to the well and potentially ruin all the goodwill they had built up.

The problem with most of these pundits, however, is that they forget that 99% of the target market for Old Spice does not live in their tiny world of advertising.  They don’t analyze things as deeply, they don’t pay as much attention, they don’t see the spots as many times, and they certainly don’t bore as easily.

Well, the online viral numbers from Old Spice Guy’s first week back are in – and they are better than ever.  With over 3.4 million views last week, the newest ads eclipsed the orginal launch (2.1 million views) and it’s sequel (2.5 million views).

This craving to move away from successful advertising way too early is, in my experience, a fairly common problem in the industry.  Think about it, you’ve got some super creative creatives sitting in their funky offices in Manhattan and they spent the better part of a year devising, pitching, producing, re-producing, and talking about 1 specific campaign.  These are not folks who like to sit around and be stale – they want to be creating!  So, naturally, 1 or 2 years into a successful campaign, they get bored.  And when they get bored, they start creating reasons why things need to be changed.

The reality, though, is that the typical consumer sitting at home in Madison, Wisconsin is FAR from bored with the campaign.  They haven’t been living with it day in and day out for 2 years – they’ve maybe seen the spot 20-30 times.  They haven’t been following the coverage in AdAge or AdWeek or The Wall Street Journal for that matter.  And, so, they are not bored with the campaign – in fact they probably love it (if it has been successful) and can’t wait for the next execution that is pretty much the same except a little different.

The lesson here – let the consumer tell you when they are getting bored.  Until then, get every last penny out of the work you have already done.  Let’s face it – successful campaigns don’t come around all that often.


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