Creativity Magazine did a great article on the behind the scenes of the 2-Day Internet Run.
How Wieden + Kennedy, Old Spice and the Man Your Man Could Smell Like pulled off the social media play of the Year
By: Ann-Christine Diaz, Published: Jul 14, 2010
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For the past two days, Old Spice's The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,
aka Isaiah Mustafa, has become the king of the social media space,
charming the general public, bloggers and journalists with his gravelly
baritone, spectacular abs and convoluted wordplay, delivering
tailor-made video responses to TMYMCSL's online fanbase. Creativity
checked in with members of the Wieden + Kennedy, Portland team behind
the massive project—Creative Director Jason Bagley, Digital Strategist
Josh Millrod and Interactive Producer Ann-Marie Harbour—to find out how
the agency achieved what's shaping up to be the social media play of
How did you come up with this idea for Isaiah to respond directly to Old Spice fans?
Jason Bagley: It was a genius idea that came entirely
from the mind of Iain Tait. Eric Baldwin, Iain and I were sitting
around trying to think of how to capitalize on all the YouTube traffic
we knew we'd be getting when the new Old Spice spots launched and Iain
threw out the idea of having Isaiah Mustafa in a room for a few days
making video responses to people's YouTube comments.
The only credit Baldwin and I can take is that he was looking at our
faces when he said it. Also, our boss Mark Fitzloff said it was a great
idea and would like that mentioned in this article.
What was involved in the prep on this shoot? Did you have any videos prepared ahead of time? How did Isaiah prep for this?
Bagley: There was a ton of prep, and very little time
to do it in. Once we had the idea and got our client's support, it took
the whole Old Spice team to figure it out and pull it off.
Our interactive producer Ann-Marie Harbour was amazing. She figured out
the best format and how to pull off the production. The idea became
bigger than just YouTube. We figured out how to extend it across Facebook, Twitter,
blogs—everything. One of the critical things that helped us pull it off
was a custom program Trent Johnson in our Interactive department
created. It automatically uploaded people's comments from Twitter,
YouTube, Facebook and everywhere else, and then allowed us to write
responses to the comments and upload them directly to a teleprompter.
The day before we launched the videos we made a few video responses so
we would have some when we went live, but most of them were written and
shot on the fly after we went live. Isaiah's only preparation was being
awesome, punching sharks and pumping mass loads of weights.
Clearly, from observing the posts throughout the day, you were doing a
lot of this on the fly. How did you select who you would respond to?
Can you talk about the writing/creative process?
Bagley: We had a kind of NASA control center about 15
feet away from Isaiah at two different tables. At one table were Josh
Millrod, Dean McBeth and Cody Corona, interactive community managers
and digital strategists who were going through all the comments and
monitoring all web activity. They were selecting the comments to
respond to. Baldwin, Eric Kallman, Craig Allen and I sat at another
table furiously writing the responses. We would pass our computers back
and forth to one another checking one another's work and adding jokes
to one another's copy. The four of us took turns directing. In another
room was a team of editors cranking out everything we shot. Not to
mention the entire production crew of camera, lighting, teleprompter
worker person, etc.
Production-wise, what were the toughest challenges/obstacles?
Who directed/edited? How did you set up the props? Where did this all
go down? How long did you shoot for, how many responses did you do?
Bagley: Eric Baldwin, Craig Allen and Eric Kallman and
I took turns directing. We had a big table of props to use nearby. It
all happened at a studio in Portland, Oregon. We shot for three days.
We're on our third day, but so far we have over 150 video responses.
Seeding—what was your strategy with this? Any plans to use any of the videos created for broadcast?
Josh Millrod: Typically, seeding strategies depend on
activating "influencers" like bloggers, celebs and news outlets.
Instead, we focused on activating communities. We knew that Digg
Founder Kevin Rose was sick so we made a get-well video for him
and posted it on Digg with the title "Get Well, Kevin Rose! Sincerely,
The Old Spice Man (Video)" to tap into Digg's passionate community. The
video became the top content on Digg yesterday with over 5,000 Diggs.
Next, we created a call for comments on Reddit and posted a
time-stamped picture of Isaiah saying hi to Reddit. To activate the
community, we tapped into their long-standing rivalry with Digg by
posting the video we created for Kevin Rose. Submissions started
flooding in and we quickly gained the first and second spots on
Reddit's homepage where the pic of Isaiah and the submission thread
stayed all day.
We also tapped into the large and influential "Anonymous," which is
widely considered the governing body of the Internet. They are
generally wary of brands, but we knew that they were fans and the video
we created for them got more than 90,000 views in one day and almost
4,000 likes on YouTube and less than 100 dislikes making us the first
brand to ever effectively activate this community.
Finally, we created videos for traditional influencers who were
relevant to these communities and posted the videos on their blogs and
@replied to them on Twitter. All of these tactics combined helped us
activate large communities and drum up buzz before we even rolled out
10 videos. At this time, we have no plans to run the videos on TV.
How did Isaiah Mustafa maintain his stamina through it all? He doesn't seem to break a sweat. . .
Bagley: Isaiah maintained his stamina by drinking eagle's blood and sleeping in between words. He was amazing.
Any mishaps or interesting anecdotes/outtakes from the shoot?
Bagley: We're moving too fast to pay attention.
If you were to do this all over again, would you do anything differently?
Bagley: No. It's a credit to the producers and the whole team how flawlessly everything has worked.
Ann-Marie Harbour: Not yet, still in shock on how well it's gone. Pretty amazing.
When it was all over, Isaiah Mustafa came by and joined the team discussing how they pulled it off.
Amazing! Congrats to everyone on a job well done! Team photo with Isaiah. Then Isaiah, stuck around for photos. Thanks to our Old Spice client. We love Old Spice.