And so we bid a fond farewell to Old Spice Man, aka actor Isaiah Mustafa, who swan dives off in the video above after a suave success this week. His now-concluded personalized video responses to social networkers on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Digg and even 4chan blew up the social web.
Not only did Mustafa, in character, deliver a marriage proposal and respond to celebs such as Alyssa Milano , Twitter co-founder Biz Stone and sister brand Gillette — the P&G-backed campaign redefined "viral" with its barrage of tongue-in-cheek responses and set a new bar for branded social marketing.
W+K creative director Iain Tait discusses the "great trust" and "bravery" that P&G exhibited in allowing his team to respond in real-time on the social web, "with little to no supervision," after the jump.
ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick interviewed Tait in the middle of this week's marathon video-response session, which started Monday and included working "for 11 hours (on Tuesday) to make 87 short videos" at a rate of just over 7 minutes per video.
"There is such great trust [between the companies]," Tait told Kirkpatrick. "But we are being very responsible. They have given us a set of guidelines and if we get close to the edges we contact them."
He added, "If the message that comes out of this is that you can make TV commercials in 30 minutes, then we're all out of a job. This is something new. We're operating on Internet time but with a level of quality you'd get on a TV slot. That combination was what really got many peoples' attention."
Tait also told Fast Company's Mark Borden,
"We knew it couldn't be just responding to tweets in words, that wouldn't have felt so special and had been done before. The fact that we were able to do this in video feels appropriate in relation to the prior TV ads. It's not just responding to tweets, it's looking at the environment right now. YouTube is the place where people share video. Twitter is the place where--celebrities dying or whatever it is--those things blow up so quickly. We know we can only run this thing for a short time so Twitter felt like the place to create the explosion. It's keeping the allure and mystique of this guy alive. Finding that balance between exposing him to the world, (not literally), without overexposing him is really important."
Salon blogger Mary Elizabeth Williams was one of many fans who watched in awe as the responses unrolled: "With a panache that few other marketing campaigns have pulled off, the Old Spice team has once again harnessed the great, you-cannot-miss-this power of social media, and done it in a way that feels fresh and personal and playful. It's an exercise in understanding exactly what the Internet community wants: namely, a handsome shirtless man beating a pirate-shaped piñata with a petrified fish for the amusement of Demi Moore."
Check out our readers' responses in this week's brandchannel debate, and tell us: would you call this added viral twist to an already buzzed-about TV campaign a success, and why (or why not)?