We all strive to reach success. We plan, we organize, we execute…all in order to get there – to the peak of the curve. It’s a nice view from there – say those who reached the peak. They also say – it’s hard to stay there once you’ve reached it, since the winds are strong.
We hear a lot about people, products, companies who made it. Their success stories are used as case studies and lessons for others. The steps that they took are analyzed, praised and copied. While most of us could remember at least a few success stories that we have heard about, how many of us can recall what happened to the subjects of those stories after success? A day after success? A year after success?
In a couple of my previous posts, I wrote about the wunder-campaign of our time. In 2010 I joined the army of marketers and bloggers who meticulously followed a living legend – the Old Spice marketing-viral-social-etc-etc-campaign. W+K got us all hooked up with Isaiah’s perfectly chiseled body and witty monologues. Millions of people bowed down to creativeness and a new approach to marketing that Old Spice dared to implement in its marketing campaign. A direct response to customers, wow – yes, future marketing students will have the Old Spice name materialize throughout their textbooks.
The Old Spice buzz lasted quite a bit… resulting in increased brand sales and a crowd of groupies who obsessively engaged and responded to the campaign. W+K brought the Old Spice guy to the top of the peak, but what was the plan from there on?
Source: W+K Old Spice Case Study, 2010
In perfect product or brand life-cycle management, by the time a sales peak is reached, there should already have been a plan developed for innovations that might restart the cycle (I hope that Old Spice planned something to prevent Isaiah from rolling downhill). The same rules could be applied to a marketing campaign, which also has a similar cycle, one during which marketing activities become noticeable enough to gain customers’ attention and a positive reaction, resulting in increasing sales. However, if not ‘restarted’ at the right time, that same marketing campaign becomes worn out. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict what happens to the brand.
So, going back to our wunder-campaign “The man your man could smell like”…what happened almost exactly a year after the big success? Since Isaiah was such a hit, inertia dictated that rather than developing an innovation to restart the brand life-cycle, Old Spice would try to revive the man that everyone wants to smell like. The revival process was called Mano a Mano in el Baño. The most publicized ever internet duel was supposed to put Old Spice back on the peak. Brilliant! The comeback of nice-smelling American hero Isaiah was supposed to be safeguarded by cheesy, metro-sexual Italian sidekick Fabio, a guy who had the campaign-duel taken place in Europe might have even had some chance of winning….but, not in a land dominated by tough, primarily un-metro-sexual, NFL-loving men.
The buzz has been created, people have spoken, and the American hero has won, but people talking about a campaign vs. buying a product are two completely different scenarios. It will take some time for both us and Old Spice to determine whether or not the revival succeeds. If it did, kudos! He lives! Or does he? Perhaps Old Spice never truly wanted to revive, but simply milk the ‘man who smells like he can bake you a cake’ for all that he is worth. And he is worth a lot….especially shirtless.