Posted in advertising
July 16, 2010

Old Spice, and why I don’t agree with @Alyssa_Milano

I loved the Old Spice campaign. I loved the original ads and think that this week’s web campaign of personal responses to bloggers, Twitter & Facebook users… was brilliant. It’s raised the bar for any company and ad agency mounting a web campaign, and got people actively involved in a way never seen before. Not to mention that the sheer feat of producing 170+ videos in two days is something that would normally be considered impossible.

Honestly, the only part of the campaign I didn’t like was Alyssa Milano using the ad campaign for activism. Yes, it’s a good cause. But her actions are essentially bullying them into donating. How so? The Old Spice twitter account and videos seem to be the work of W+K, an ad agency. They can make all the silly videos they want, and send flowers to Alyssa, but a $100,000 donation would need to be made by Procter and Gamble. Word would have to be passed along to the company, and because it was being funneled through marketing, that takes time. And as time passes, it only makes the Old Spice team, not Procter & Gamble look bad. Admit it, not many of you knew that Old Spice was made by Procter & Gamble.

How should she have done it? She could have posted a video asking for Old Spice to bring attention to Gulf Coast Restoration and the charity- and given all the lovely people watching the video the information to donate themselves. Then, she should have contacted Procter and Gamble directly and let them know about her video, and ask them to match donations made by Old Spice fans. They would have little reason to say no (as she’s pointed out, $100,000 is not much money for a large company like P&G), and everyone would have won. Everyone would have looked good and even more people would have been aware of the charity.

I’m sure I won’t be very popular for this post, but honestly, having a large amount of followers on Twitter does require some sort of responsibility. Charity isn’t charity if you’re bullied into donating. Good cause or not, she could have asked P&G in a manner that wasn’t putting them in a corner- and making the wonderful team behind the Old Spice ads look bad.

It does look like she’ll get her donation. The Old Spice guy tweeted “Apologies for dlay. I’m saving village by damming flash flood w/left pec while typing u this msg w/right pec. My ppl 2call.” I just hope that in the future, she is a bit more careful in her actions.

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