the man your ministry could smell like

Here, Old Spice Man addresses (very kindly) a common Millennial situation:

Yesterday I pointed out Old Spice’s recent foray into complete social media dominance. If you haven’t caught up, I’d encourage you to here! [You can now see the whole series here.]

Today, I want to begin taking a look at some takeaways. There are many, and I’d encourage you to add your own to the comments if you have some ideas. But either way, come back later this week for more!

Last summer, I thoroughly noted Jimmy Fallon’s Millennial mastery. A show like Glee, a musical like Wicked, and even Horton Hears a Who can point us to wisdom in reaching our audience best. (The fact that we reach a very narrow window of the overall population should drive us to know our audience well!)

In the case of last week’s Old Spice campaign, we can learn some things from the videos themselves and others from the process. Much of it has to do with reaching Millennials specifically, but there are other pointers that are just good to remember for reaching anybody. Consider this an exercise in excellence and a chance to evaluate our ministries!


Fundamental to the success of the Two Days of Old Spice was the idea that people “out there” could interact with the campaign. And it didn’t much matter if your Tweet got answered by the Old Spice Man, because you recognized that somebody’s was, that the audience actually had a say in what was taking place. As Matt McComas noted yesterday in the comments, “It was a two-way dialogue. The video’s played off of the hilarious questions people were asking. 100 times more engaging than a broad 1-sided marketing campaign.”

(For a more detailed look at Interactivity & Millennials, see the comparable Jimmy Fallon post.)

There are lots of ways to build participation into ministry, of course, especially via…

social media

Of course, another hub of the entire event was the use of social media – most notably YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. And they didn’t just aim to “present” nor to “promote” via social media. The advertisers aimed – strategically – for proliferation, recognizing that their success hinged on message multiplication, not just messaging.

One more note: While we still may not be noticing Twitter catching the attention of most of our students, it’s good to remember that if they’re on Twitter, they’re probably a “connector” type of student.

(See more about using tech to reach Generation Y at this post.)

purpose, purpose, purpose

Moving (temporarily) from the Millennial world to basics of solid ministry, one notable thing about last week’s campaign is that the message wasn’t lost. Did every single clip highlight Old Spice? Nope. But if you stuck around for any time at all, there was no chance you’d miss the message. The product is regularly shown, discussed, and hyped throughout these spots; even though it’s comedic, they accomplished a lot for their brand in those days.

On the other hand, if a college ministry gets an idea this entertaining, how long does it take for us to lose the plot? Nothing is useful unless it actually accomplishes purposes, but too often we stick with what we (and our students) LIKE, whether or not it’s fulfilling what it once did.

listening to the audience… but listening smart

Many of the articles that describe those Two Days remind us that the advertisers were strategic in their selections. Old Spice spent those days watching all kinds of social media – and balancing interactivity (discussed above) with strategy. If they had answered the fans who yelled the loudest or the fans who they knew the best or even the ideas that popped up the most, they might not have fulfilled their purposes as well.

While I know there are college ministers that pay too little attention to the wants of their students, there are also college ministers who let students desires steer the ship too much. One requirement of a shepherd is that he not be a sheep, right?

More to come. Your ideas?


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One Comment

  1. Pingback: another 10 reads for assessing your college ministry « Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes about our field)

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