Advertising that is Too Creative?

wolf dog

Sometimes brands do strange things with their advertising.  Remember when Old Spice ran a big budget Superbowl ad featuring Mr. Wolfdog?  What happened to that $4 million dollar media buy?

In 2013 Old Spice’s ad featured a sexy man wearing two growling wolves that he uses to successfully seduce a woman. The Mr. Wolfdog campaign introduced Old Spice’s new wild fragrances: Wolfthorn, Hawkridge, and Foxcrest, which debuted in February after the Superbowl at a retail price of $8.99 (4.25 ounces). The brand suggested that the wolf represented the dangerous side of masculinity and the smell of the wild. To support the new items Old Spice’ agency Wieden+Kennedy created 20 YouTube ads for Mr. Wolfdog and rebranded the Old Spice Twitter and Facebook pages. The campaign ran for only one week and during that time period and had the following results:

@DirectorWolfDog earned 7,700 Twitter followers
The YouTube ads generated 4 million impressions
The Old Spice website had 600,000 page views
Old Spice acquired 30,000 new fans on the various social channels.

What is the effect of these types of short lived campaigns? Why spend so much money on such an elusive theme?  Building a brand requires consistency in message.  It doesn’t make sense to confuse customers without an underlying goal.  Agencies think that the newest hottest idea will be the ticket to success, but building a brand personality requires a clear message that resonates with the target.

By 2014 the Old Spice website featured none of the Mr. Wolf Dog videos and only the Wolfhorn scent was available. Instead the brand moved on to the Mom Song videos in which mother’s lament their son’s attraction with moms singing “Old Spice, what have you done? You made a sexy man out of my son.”  These ads still run in 2015 with a very clear message that makes sense to the target without being too offensive to women.  Bingo.



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