TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Kai Ryssdal: When you think about Old Spice you probably think about fuddy duddy old guys wearing aftershave. Apologies, right here, if I’ve offended anyone. But Old Spice’s newest ad campaign is a crazy hit with all kinds of people. Here’s a little bit of it:
Old Spice commercial: Hello ladies. How are you? Fantastic. Does your man look like me? No. Can he smell like me? Yes. Should he use Old Spice body wash?
That’s actor Isaiah Mustafa as the very manly Old Spice Man.
Those ads as outrageously over the top as they sound. They have gone viral online. Now the ad agency behind them has given viral a whole new meaning. They’ve spent the last two days producing rapid fire video responses to comments that people have left on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Equally over the top.
Old Spice YouTube video: Jilly Juice Baggly tweets: Old Spice man, what do you do to let yourself unwind and let your hair down, etc.?” Well Jill, like any other man I find candle lit dinners on top of dangerous ice crystals incredibly relaxing.
Iain Tait is with Wieden and Kennedy, the ad agency now in the limelight. Welcome to the program.
Iain Tait: Good to be here.
Ryssdal: This does sort of seem like advertising 2.0 doing this YouTube campaign in response to responses to the ad. How did you come up with it?
Tait:We knew that there was a massive love for this guy and a desire to be closer to him — from men and women — so what happened was, when we were tasked with doing something around the latest ad campaign to support that in the digital space, we just came up with the idea of, you know, what people would like more than anything else is to actually be in the shower with Isaiah, so that was really where it started from.
Ryssdal: Do me a favor and tell me the process that went into this thing. I mean, did you guys set out specifically to do Twitter, and Facebook, and YouTube and all these social media platforms that this thing has exploded across?
Tait: Absolutely, I mean, there was a team of digital people. They really planned out how this thing was going to roll out online. Lots of people would have seen the very high-profile celebrities we’ve responded to, but there was also people who had very specific niche followings online who he addressed. So all of that was a well-orchestrated campaign to really design to spread into the far and distant corner of the Internet. And we wanted to use all the platforms in the most interesting ways that we could, so YouTube is obviously the kind of channel where people are sharing videos. Twitter is really the platform where you can create an interesting real-time social explosion like this. And of course, we were doing things like Facebook and blogs as well. But we only had 48 hours to pull this off, so we knew we had to take a running jump at it and really kind of work every angle that we possibly could to make this thing take off.
Tait:My favorite one was the question from George Stephanopoulous. Of course, George had Isaiah on the program this morning, but he asked a political question about the president. And we’re going to play a little bit of Isaiah’s response here, in character, of course.
Isaiah Mustafa, as the Old Spice guy: President Obama should henceforth only be seen in a towel. Also, instead of opening the State of the Union address with my fellow Americans, try opening with, “Hello ladies.”
Ryssdal: I was going to say, that’s pretty good. You can’t make it up, but actually it is made up, it is pretty good.
Tait:Thank you I mean, like I say, this is a genuine kind of collaboration I think between the writers and Isaiah himself. The guys have such an amazing relationship with it. They were able to write these things for him and pretty much nail it in a single take. I’ve never seen anything like it in terms of the ability to create things at that speed. I think that’s a testament to the fact that a great character, a great ambassador for Old Spice has been created that can do those things, and can be quite tongue-in-cheek about his relationship and his use of the product in a way that feels very kind of fun and light-hearted. And we’re waiting to see what affect this has on sales, but I think it certainly makes people kind of reconsider Old Spice in a new light again and that has certainly been brought out in some of the conversations that we’ve seeing online.
Ryssdal: Iain Tait is global interactive executive creative director for Wieden and Kennedy up in Portland, Oregon. Ian thanks a lot.
Tait:Thank you very much.
Ryssdal: Alright. We’ll let the Old Spice guy take us out.
Old Spice guy: Well friends, like all great things. This too must end. I’ll never forget this time we’ve spent together. I love you, always.
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