What banks and credit unions can learn from Old Spice

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Something happened to an “old” brand over the past week that banks and credit unions might want to pay attention to. An “old” brand got some new life, and in turn generated more buzz than any financial services advertising campaign in recent memory.

Perhaps even ever.

Photo: YouTube Old Spice Campaign

That’s probably an overstatement, but it certainly got my attention. It also demonstrates how marketing audiences have changed, and reinforces the need for banks and credit unions to continue to creatively adapt their marketing efforts to include integrated social strategies.

Old Spice, a men’s cologne first sold in 1934, and an “old” brand by any means, recently launched a TV ad and integrated social media campaign entitled ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’. While the TV ad was funny and somewhat memorable, it was the online social media component on YouTube that is getting all of the buzz. Old Spice YouTube Channel

The principal of the commercial, Isaiah Mustafa, a former NFL receiver, takes the ads theme (that your man could smell like me by wearing Old Spice) to a new level by personally responding to questions from several social media channels posed by people from all walks of life.

The 186 responses addresses questions range from helping Obama win back female voters (asked by political pundit George Stephanopoulos) to a very unique marriage proposal (she said ‘yes’ via twitter).

If you heard the related story on NPR, Old Spice’s creative partner for this campaign, W+K, quickly turned this effort viral by posting all 186 video responses within 48 hours of the kick off (each video took about 7 minutes to film, but probably a full night to write). NPR/Listen

Now imagine your bank or credit union approving creative direction at this pace. While marketing financial services isn’t exactly the same as marketing cologne, just look at the results. The campaigns social component has generated over 25,000 questions/social interactions and now over 40 million views. And it helped Proctor and Gamble breathe new life into the Old Spice brand.

The campaign appears to have reached a key demographic – younger, web savvy, Gen Y and Millenials. This certainly demonstrates one of the distinctions of social media marketing – personalized responses from brands get people clicking and sharing. It also reaches a demographic prize that has often eluded financial brands.

What should the financial services industry learn from this campaign? Even an old brand, or an embattled industry like ours, can generate some positive buzz for younger viewers through some creativity and personal interaction through social media. We need more creativity, more personalization, more social interaction from our financial brands. Since most consumers and businesses (the ‘target’ of our marketing efforts) have several banking relationships, this type of marketing effort stands out. It gets attention.

Will the Old Spice campaign translate to sales? Maybe. It’s sure to cause at least a blip of sales activity, but I would bet they would get a nice bump. Or at the very least it would pay for itself. It may not matter, though, because it got a younger demographic to talk about an old school brand. That’s something many of us have been searching for and that’s a win in my book.

Congrats to the creative group Wieden + Kennedy and to the folks at Old Spice. W + K

Related Posts

Jeremy Griffin’s Love Letter to Old Spice Original Post

Join the BrandChannel Debate

Ryan Wiancko’s Post About the Campaign

Wikipedia Already Updated


Bradley Leimer is a dedicated senior marketer with experience in brand development, online / offline marketing, database marketing, web development, and online banking / mobile financial applications. Connect / Follow via linkedin.com/in/leimer and twitter.com/leimer (@leimer).

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