Old spice commercials

There once was a man who was a former NFL player who didn’t make the cut, he than became an actor and booked a gig called the Old Spice Man. He told men to spell like him because what is better than being him? Him on a boat, him on a horse, him on a motorcycle, him in a hot tube etc. There he was shirtless in a shower answering your Twitter questions via Youtube…does this ring a bell?

The year was 2010, the campaign was Old Spice You Can Smell Like Me, and it was a viral hit. The first of it’s kind in the “new media” world. Since than, many marketers have tried to recapture the magic of the Old Spice Guy, many tried, many failed and many will continue.

The You Can Smell Like Me campaign proved the a new type of narrative has emerged. A narrative told through several media platforms at once that nonlinear, interactive and immersive. This new narrative doesn’t rely on traditional linear storytelling methods, this campaign had several moving compartments or social media platforms to view the story from…almost like a murder mystery play where the audience is engaging with one actor at a time to slowly discover who killed the butler. We the audience first engaged with the Old Spice Guy commercial on TV, than sent the commercial to our friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, or email, than engaged with the actual Old Spic Guy via Twitter Q&A with responses on Youtube.

The story itself was linear: a man telling us a story about how awesome he is, than answering our questions on how awesome he is. What wasn’t linear was the multi-platform delivery system of this story, television, email, Youtube and Twitter with audience interaction.

What was revolutionary about this campaign was not the content but the interaction with the audience. If the Old Spice Guy was on Twitter and no one participated it would have failed but it was because of the AUDIENCE through these social media platforms that this campaign groundbreaking.

To answer the question poised in Why Tell Stories Part 1, can marketers who have not been trained in traditional storytelling be effective in the age of storytelling? Yes, if they focus on the audience and only the audience. What moves them, inspires them, makes them laugh, brings them joy. The product, the message, the platform are important but with no audience there is no play.

How to focus on the audience will be the final instalment of Why Tell Stories?

To identify and tell the stories of your brand, contact our Chief Experience Designer at pyan@genesisxd.com or call 416-595-9823. 


GenesisXD, is an award-winning Expereince Design firm, who show clients how to communicate their story through innovative design, branding and communications.

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