How Vimeo Built the Interactive Old Spice 'Muscle Music' Video That's Crushing the Internet

Wieden and Kennedy turned to Vimeo to create the "first of its kind" player behind their latest viral campaign.

With over 1.5 million views, Wieden and Kennedy's latest video for Old Spice is a smashing success -- and it's only a day old. It's easy to see why; former NFL player and action movie star Terry Crews is literally playing cacophonous "music" with his bulging muscles, yelling entertaining non sequiturs like "GIMME A HAT!" and "SAUSAGES!" The spot fits the vibe of Wieden's game-changing 2010 campaign for Old Spice, which generated dozens of hilarious YouTube videos in real time, winning the Internet's heart for a day and making every other creative agency super jealous. Muscle Music taps the same Internet-friendly principles of absurdity, interactivity, and iteration -- at end of the performance, the video becomes interactive and viewers are invited to bang out their own ridiculous track on their QWERTY keyboards. The native Vimeo player lets users record and share their videos too, and the slick setup is fully embeddable. Give it a shot: 

Curious as to how Vimeo put together such a seamless interface, we spoke with Abby Morgan, their Senior Manager of Strategic Sales Partnerships. Wieden came to Vimeo back in June, and together they worked with the visual effects shop The Mill to produce the spot. Asked why Wieden selected Vimeo over other video platforms, Morgan explains, "I think it was because we were willing to work with them throughout the entire process of ideation, creation, production … because we were willing to take the journey and step into the trenches with the creative process." In addition to the live video recording of Crews, the video is a composite of over 150 different elements. While the Flash player runs through the music video, it loads the interactive portion, which is "effectively a new player." The real triumph, Morgan says, was figuring out how to speed up the server-side compositing of 150 moving parts so that users could record and save their own Muscle Music videos. The process they came up with is surprisingly fast; watch the progress bar load and it just gleefully declares "COMPUTER STUFF HAPPENING!" 

The player is not just a sweet new interactive toy; it marks a new phase of native brand integration for Vimeo, which has traditionally avoided advertising on the site, with the exception of a few sponsored contests (Canon's Beyond the Still) and branded pages. "We’ve been careful with how we tread with advertising because our community is so unique," Morgan says. Vimeo prides itself on the caliber of its creative community, focusing on developing as a platform for filmmakers and high quality video. Vimeo Plus subscribers pay $59.99 a year for extra features and space. "Any advertising we do needs to benefit not only the brand but our community," Morgan explains, and "we want to be super native about it." Luckily for Vimeo, their community (and the wide Internet audience beyond) seem quite happy to watch and share Muscle Music. Their boutique model for creative services seems to be a success, and Morgan says they plan to work with more brands in the future. Perhaps the clearest sign that the video platform has come into its own as a creative shop is the integration of its own key in the Muscle Music video. Hit "Y" and Crews yells "VIMEEOOOOO!" 

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

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