Monday, July 19, 2010

What's the ROI of the Old Spice Guy?

This just in: despite the massive viral popularity of the Old Spice guy, sales of Old Spice are down.

Shocker. I don't care how fun/viral/clever/sexy/whatever you dub the campaign, at the end of the day, it's still Old Spice, the cologne of a million grandpas of yesteryear.

Here's the thing: how much of the incredible buzz about this campaign has come from industry insiders who have a vested interest in it being a success for P&G? I mean, sure a bunch of social media consultants, ad agencies and general Kool-Aid drinkers (myself among them, of course) WANT this campaign to be a success because we all stand to look more credible if this does turn out to be a slam-dunk for Old Spice and P&G. Why? Because we're trying to make money and/or a career creating this exact kind of campaign for other brands.

But now this whole Old Spice thing is getting muddy--sales are down, yet the popularity of the Old Spice Guy is up. Would canning the campaign be a "PR debacle" and hurt sales more? Or is this not even about sales anymore and, if so, what does that mean about advertising? That ads are now about garnering good PR for a brand and not about selling product anymore? What's the ROI of that?

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