It pains me to see the advertising midgets emerging from their hovels to attack the towering colossus of awesomeness that is the Old Spice ad campaign.

The Old Spice campaign was an incredibly smart use of the media as it is today. it sold the product (and by association all the Old Spice products) as hard as it could be sold. And in a very rational AND emotionally appealing way from the first second of the ad. And it was hilarious. And it was brilliantly executed. It also seeped its way into the popular culture in a big way. “I’m ON A HORSE!”. “Look at your man, now look at me” etc.

YET, and here’s the funny bit, some of the very people who should be cheering and applauding this undeniable specimen of fantastic-ness – ad people – are now coming out of the woodwork to question its efficacy. “Yes, but did it move the needle? Did it sell?”

Well let me put your little minds to rest. THIS CAMPAIGN WORKED. Because i bought an Old Spice product based solely on this ad. That’s it. That’s all there is folks.

if i sound a bit on edge here it’s because i experienced a similar reaction during the Budweiser Wassup! campaign. The giants of the industry (Jeff Goodby etc) loved the campaign. But suddenly all these nobodies came out of the woodwork criticizing what was an undeniable phenomenally successful global viral ad campaign. Trying desperately to make a name for themselves by being contrarian hardasses all of a sudden. “Yeah it’s funny but did it sell?” they would harrumph, arms folded, a sour look on their face. Thinking they were Clint Eastwood or something.

These people are what my old boss, an ad legend himself, used to refer to as “the midgets”. They don’t want things to be successful and elegant and simple. Because deep down they know they’re incapable of ever achieving such a thing. They can’t imagine it. And if they can’t then nobody else can either.

These people are to be avoided like the proverbial plague. Run from them! Run like the wind!

I bet there are no midgets at Wieden and Kennedy. Bravo dudes! You won.


  1. When advertising meets pop culture, everyone’s a critic. You’ve been there, you can say it. Nicely put, sir.

  2. Yeah Baby. I’m on my way to the store now to support the new manly man that I’ve become since the Old Spice man gave me an awesome answering machine audio file. I am not really ‘in the loop’ and I think theres a lag in the bottom line here. Ring up another 6 bucks plus 1 kiss-my-ass for me!

  3. These midgets are also probably bashing the campaign out of one side of their mouth, while using the other to sell their clients a ‘comprehensive social media campaign utilizing the Old Spice strategy’.

    Also, one of my friends and I were not Old Spice users prior to February. Now both of us have Old Spice products in our bathrooms.

  4. Ciaran McCabe

    Well said Vinny!
    There are a lot of those midgets around, always
    have been, but it’s nice to know that they never really win.

  5. Cheers for that vote of confidence Vinny. At least I don’t smell like me dad!

  6. thanks for agreeing with me guys. it just makes my blood boil to see this. the ad is perfect. of course it’s working.

  7. I’m sure you’re aware of their live twitter extension of this campaign . . . a kind of Wheat Thins in reverse. This whole mashup of live action and social media can only get more fun. 4square anyone? :

    And, just cuz I know you love the pros, here’s a (bit-long) interview with the creatives talking about making the commercial, and giving props where props is due (before they won the lion):

  8. Boiling Blood and Old Spice is not a good combo.
    Keep cool dude.

  9. Vinny I am here to make you happy. I am here to represent because that is how I roll.

    Campaign was awesome. Even if they had just 1 to 1.5mil uniques in 3 days that is massive success. It was a one and done campaign and Weiden did it. Bravo. No other agency will be able to do this again. Back to that part in a min.

    You know I am a ROI guy. But an Ad Campaign can only do a few things: awareness, image enhancement, and get people to try something. This did all 3.

    Not Weidens fault the product is a dog. You can’t change a donkey into an arabian horse with an Ad Campaign. I tried the body wash because I got it cheap. It sucks. Will never buy it again. Not W+K’s fault. Packaging is really horrible. Not Weiden’s fault.

    I take both sides. It takes a great product to hold up their end of the bargain. Not creatives fault. This is where I go to the CEO and CFO and demand more money for the creatives even if sales do not go up. They deserve it.

    Lastly my point of never being done again. Stars are never going to give free help to a brand that doesn’t pay them again. Alyssa Milano filmed her own spot asking for 100k to go to the NWF for saving Gulf Spill animals because she in hindsight feels they benefited from her stardom. P&G’s response was BS lame btw. But if they did it for her they have to do it for everyone else. And she is right. No stars ever give their image or support without being paid. So I see next time someone tries this payment contracts shooting via email all around. And I think that is fair.

    Lastly this also proved the limits of twitter. I have estimated 5-10% of tweets are seen/read. And it proved it. The click through rate of the tweets bore this out. Ashton has 5mil followers. I think unique views for the campaign were 1 to 1.5mil over the first 3 days. Probably 10 mil unique followers + WOM + facebook + texting links. Very good response rate.

  10. I think we all get suspicious if suddenly everyone is in agreement. However, I think you’re right Vinny, in that here it’s dissent for dissent’s sake, nothing more. Maybe the sales figures aren’t through the roof. But as we all know, advertising works on many levels: some ad campaigns are designed for a quick retail hit. Others fulfill a more long-term perception-changing role. And does anyone still think Old Spice isn’t cool? Job done.

  11. And I forgot to add: if you’re looking for the new model advertising; one that seamlessly combines trad elements with digital, this is it.

  12. phil, i would bet sales ARE through the roof across all the OS products. i switched to OS deodorant based on the ads. you know why? because i just didn’t give a f**k about my old deodorant. and that’s where advertising can make a huge difference.

    howie, it did everything (and more) that an ad could be expected to do. but if the product sucks then the advertising will cause it to fail that much faster as people find this out. but Axe products are pretty dismal and the ads seem to almost make up for that. and the target isn’t the most discerning.

  13. 3 bottles of Old Spice body wash in the cupboard, and 2 different deodorants. But then again I used the stuff before these ads and they were on sale. = But I’d like to think I bought them because the ads were awesome.

  14. You mean nobody uses talcum powder anymore?

  15. The only reason I have OS deodorant in my cabinet right now is because of this campaign. I also drink Dos Equis whenever possible for the same reason. I want to reward great advertising.

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