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mY Ad Report Card: Is residue evil?

September 1, 2009

How do you capture the attention of a Tivoing, over-stimulated crowd that is trying to watch Monday Night Football while checking Fantasy football and updating Twitter on their blackberry?

Be quick.

The above ad is the wave of the future. Quick, short ads. You don’t even need to match it up to your product. Just drive traffic. That video is a 5 second commercial. You can toss that as a pre-roll onto a website like The Onion, or buy the last 5 seconds of air time before a show comes on (that way, people see it as they finish TIVOING through the 30-second ads).

I heard a lot of backlash from this ad. People said that the website disgusted them. If you haven’t gone to www.residueisevil.com, do it when you’re not eating or planning on eating. Trust me. People also said they wouldn’t buy the product.

But this ad isn’t about driving trial. Everyone knows what Old Spice is. This ad is about keeping a brand that 10 years ago was the men’s fragrance of choice for geriatrics fresh. With commercials like Residueisevil, or the Swagger ads featuring LL Cool J and Brian Urlacher, they’ve managed to refresh their brand and give it an irreverent attitude.

It’s the same thing Coke did with Coke Zero. After a while, an older brand becomes stagnant, the choice of the last generation. So it’s important to rebrand every 10-15 years. And that’s what Old Spice is doing. So yes, the website is disgusting, the product is barely connected to the commercial and it will turn off a set of people.

But, while Old Spice is No. 1 in men’s deodorant, they’ve been locked in a pitched battle with Axe. And not just for deodorant, but for the highly-profitable Shampoo, Body Wash and other line-extensions market. So, they’ve had to create more youth-friendly marketing. Enter Residueisevil. And that commercial is evil.

But, it’s accomplishing a necessary mission. And Old Spice isn’t hurting (in fact, the Old Spice brand is racing towards a billion dollars in sales.) So, let’s go head and give Old Spice an A-. And it would’ve been an A, but to be honest, I threw up a little when I clicked that link.

Don’t forget to check for residue.

For more on the creation of Old Spice Clear, check out this: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/135/smells-like-a-billion-bucks.html

Follow Devin on Twitter at www.twitter.com/devinkunysz

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