Viral Old Spice Man Ads Could Be Model for Internet Video

Look at your marketing campaign, now back at Old Spice's. Sadly, your campaign isn't Old Spice's.

The company took its well-produced marketing campaign, and its baritone-voiced star Isaiah Mustafa, online, targeting social news sites Digg and Reddit, both known for their ability to generate traffic and buzz. One video is effectively a "Get Well" card for Digg founder Kevin Rose, while the rest answer questions posed by Reddit users.

The campaign could be a prototype for creating video with high production values for the Internet, as SnarkMarket's Robin Sloan writes. Advertisers would support content producers (an advertising agency, in this case) who offer high-value content that is enjoyable on its own. It's not exactly a new idea, but the Old Spice campaign has something going for it: it's been particularly effective and people don't seem to be tiring of the dead-pan Mustafa.

In one video, Mustafa responds to Reddit user robotjox, who asks:

'If you could meet one great historical figure then arm-wrestle them while singing opera, who would it be?' That's easy. Genghis Khan. Because he died like 5,000 years before opera was even invented. And when he hears the soul-enchanting tones of Wagner streaming out of my phonics funnel straight into his face, his quivering arm will become overcome with emotion and literally peel off his body like a leaf from a freshly steamed artichoke that I will dip in melted butter and sage and feed to the Mongolian wolves.

Enough talking. Here are a couple of clips, with titles I made up:

Update 10pm EST: They keep coming. Check out the Old Spice YouTube page for a comprehensive list of the videos.

Arm-Wrestling Genghis Khan



Get Well, Kevin Rose


Buffalo-Style Pegasus Wings


Smell Like Fighting and Space Shuttles


Presented by

Niraj Chokshi is a former staff editor at TheAtlantic.com, where he wrote about technology. He is currently freelancing and can be reached through his personal website, NirajC.com. More

Niraj previously reported on the business of the nation's largest law firms for The Recorder, a San Francisco legal newspaper. He has also been published in The Hartford Courant, The Seattle Times and The Age, in Melbourne, Australia. He's also a longtime programmer and sometimes website designer.

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