The second most interesting man in the world

Isaiah Mustafa, the second most interesting man in the world

The phrase “making it go viral” speaks to some hard facts about social media marketing. Guiding and launching viral efforts takes a lot more than a well directed sneeze. The excerpt below from ReadWriteWeb reveals a behind-the-scenes look at what it took to make the enormously successful Old Spice campaign go viral.

July, 14, 2010
“A team of creatives, tech geeks, marketers and writers gathered in an undisclosed location in Portland, Oregon yesterday and produced 87 short comedic YouTube videos about Old Spice. In real time. They leveraged Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and blogs. They dared to touch the wild beasts of 4chan and they lived to tell the tale. Even 4chan loved it. Everybody loved it; those videos and 74 more made so far today have now been viewed more than 4 million times and counting. The team worked for 11 hours yesterday to make 87 short videos, that’s just over 7 minutes (production time) per video, not accounting for any breaks taken. Then they woke up this morning and they are still making more videos right now.…You can already get an Old Spice Man voicemail message generated for your phone. The coolest thing about that? That system wasn’t even created by Old Spice or (the agency) – it was built by a crowd of users at social news site Reddit this afternoon.”

Old Spice beats Obama

The Stats

  • Number of videos made: 180+
  • Number of video views: 5.9 million
  • Number of comments: 22,500

These guys were making videos in real time and posting them as responses to live comments from social media conversations. They selected the most visible or highest-rated respondents to the campaign (such as the likes of Alyssa Milano) to leverage the exponential effect of their huge social network followings.

This campaign follows a formula that seems to be emerging in social media: Find an issue or create one, use entertainment as the sticky stuff, leverage social media influencers to spread the word, recognize some high-profile influencers in your responses – and do it all in real time…or as close to it as you can.

Sound like a big commitment? You bet. Social media can be the most demanding of all media and we’re still not sure of the payback. In the case of Old Spice, awareness and a change of brand image were top goals. My grandfather used to wear Old Spice. I still won’t wear it because of that. But my kids are crazy about it, because to them The Most Interesting Man in the World 2.0, Isaiah Mustafa, is now the embodiment (in all ways) of Old Spice…the most edgy brand in the category, thanks to an exhausting and explosive social media play. I’d like to see the awareness and brand metrics on that.

Any other examples of a peek behind the scenes of a successful viral effort?

For the complete story, see