final tidbits from Old Spice vidbits

It’s been a fun week examining the many things we can learn from ONE cool advertising campaign. If you missed it, you can find all the entries in this week’s little exercise right here. (The intro post is at the bottom, since it came first.)

For now, some other ideas that we can glean for college ministry. If you’ve got anything to add or questions to ask – please do!

immediate response

Whether we malign it as “immediate gratification” or extol it as “staying current,” immediacy doesn’t simply carry a premium for Millennials; it’s expected. We’ll have to weigh how to work this into our ministry. But at the very least it seems like we can respond to world, local, and campus issues ASAP, before they become “old news.” Further, as college ministry blogger Matt McComas mentioned here on Monday, students “like real-time stuff cause it’s fun and feels good to watch something unfold before your eyes.”

fluid and opportunistic

The Old Spice crew took advantage of some timely opportunities in their two days of video responses. For one thing, lots of publicity came their way after they offered a “get well” video to Kevin Rose, who just happened to be sick… and just happens to be the founder of, too. Likewise, some of the best video responses (in my opinion) came from parrying with Alyssa Milano, which only happened because Alyssa chose to play along. And of course, the whole event was built not on some predetermined script but on real people’s interaction with what was taking place.

This choice is obviously closely connected to the “Go with Opportunities” note on Thursday’s post, as well as the note Tuesday on Interactivity. But the emphasis here is on taking advantage of even the “micro-opportunities” that God might present. It’s worth asking ourselves, Are we just “running plays,” or are we responding to what’s happening within our college ministry and on our campus in a real-time way?


Of course, the length of these videos (rarely even a minute long) made them very attractive for viewing, both during and after the event. Think of it this way, and it becomes obvious: Students were probably far more likely to sit down and watch 30 minutes of these 45-second videos, than they would be to watch 15 minutes of one video. Right?

Sure, we can (and maybe should) bemoan our collegians’ short attention spans and preference for quick-moving presentations, but we’re probably not gonna “fix it.” A rapid pace can – sometimes – be worth aiming for.


Also from the file of “it’s-annoying-but-true”: Our Millennials love soundbites. And certainly the soundbite has been the M.O. of this Old Spice Man from the beginning. “I’m on a horse.” “Smell like a man, man.” “Swan dive!” “Look at your man, now back at me.” Those were in the commercials, and the two days of videos offered plenty of additional one-sentence wonders.

While I’m not completely sure how we work this in (and I’m not sure we’d want to), I’ve got a few guesses. It seems like we could at least offer the occasional “sound bite synopsis” of teaching, of our ministry’s values, of an upcoming event… If nothing else, it can make things “catchy” and “sticky,” which of course might just make them more impactful, too.

strategic targeting

One last bit of marketing genius was involving individuals who could help spread the word. I’ve already mentioned Kevin Rose and Alyssa Milano. They both have big sway these days over the internets and other media. So do Ashton Kutcher, George Stephanopoulos, Ellen DeGeneres, Perez Hilton, the Huffington Post, Apolo Ohno, and on and on… and all got shout-outs from Old Spice Man (and in the case of George, political advice for President Obama). The MSNBC article describes this strategy quite well:

The decision to include Rose and the celebrities was no accident. The Wieden team purposefully selected not only persons with huge followings on social networks — followings that dwarfed Old Spice’s own — but specifically those with particular credibility and influence over the technorati and social media addicts. The social media kingpins told their followers, their followers told their friends, and the math compounded exponentially, fervently and quickly. Old Spice’s Twitter followers increased more than 1,000 percent. Nearly 600,000 people on Facebook gave its ads a thumbs-up “like it” vote. And, according to Advertising Age, the Old Spice commercials received more than 7 million online views this week alone … The cost of media: nothing.

When it comes to campus ministry, this is one worth weighing carefully. There’s a thinnish line between trying to reach those who can help you reach others, and attracting or favoring only certain types of people. (Clearly, Old Spice chose the former, by the way.) But I do know that many college ministries have noticed that certain individuals can help them reach more people; do with that what you will.

But more clear (and less controversial) is recognizing that this can help our own advertising activities: spreading the word about an upcoming teaching series, for example, or hyping an upcoming event. If we’re strategic about how (and through whom) we first get the word out, we have a better chance of that “word” moving much further.

As with all of these lists, we observe the tools and the wisdom involved… but our methods are determined by our purposes (and not the other way around).

So thanks for the wisdom this week, Old Spice Man. Monocle smile!


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One Comment

  1. I think that the way to work in the sound bite thing is to have or make (I’ve ripped off all of mine so far) a collection of maxims.

    It is a part of the attention span thing. It’s easier for people my age to remember “Your life is perfectly designed to give you the results you’re getting,” “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care,” and “Students learn what their teacher knows; disciples become what their master is,” than it is for me to remember a counseling session and a sermon about discipleship.

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