Launching a New Story With an Old Brand — Old Spice Continues to Win With Ad Spoofs

YouTube Preview ImageOld Spice was your Daddy’s aftershave until hunky Isaiah Mustafa became the Old Spice guy in the shower, reviving the 71-year-old P&G brand and increasing its sales by 107 percent. At one point, the short videos, which were launched on social media in addition to TV, were so popular that 87 were produced in one day in a secret location in Oregon, with copywriters producing content in real time as the cameras rolled.

Wow. That’s trust. But it was a risk that’s necessary in social media, where speed not only can kill but also thrill. They won big with the gamble.

It’s a great brand turnaround story. P&G took a sturdy but tired old name that was associated with “cheap” and “old,” and used “sexy” and “funny” to make the brand a new cultural icon. How? By writing — literally — a new story. Showing a great-looking, silver-throated guy in a towel saying and doing funny things in the bathroom.

While the series itself was a parody of former Old Spice stories (i.e., commercials) that took themselves very seriously (men on steads rescuing damsels in distress) — several of the videos showed Mustafa on a horse — there are now knock-offs of the knock-offs, featuring the holidays.

First Round Capital has launched a seven-minute parody showing their guy in a body suit, as do numerous partners and members of his portfolio who wish viewers “happy holidays” at the end of the actual spoof. It all just goes to show that a great story not only has a long shelf life for the original storyteller, but those coattail riders who imitate it can get a lot of mileage, as well.

How can you take an old story and revive it by turning it into a parody? What tools would best tell the story — Video? Blogs? Facebook?

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