A look at why Old Spice’s new interactive viral video is social media gold

August 31st, 2012 by | No Comments

A look at why Old Spice and its interactive Muscle Music video is viral marketing gold.

Thanks to their viral marketing campaign unleashed two years ago, Old Spice has become the poster child of successful social media brands. Developed in partnership with ad agency Wieden+Kennedy, the campaign’s strategy involved refocusing the brand’s advertising focus and capitalizing on random humor and real-time engagements. This became the winning formula that elevated them to social media rockstardom—a feat that was frankly unexpected from a 74-year old brand that sold men’s hygiene products.

To promote their latest scent, Danger Zone, the company unveiled Muscle Music, a new video that’s currently exploding over the Web, leaving droves in laughing fits and lowering productivity in its wake. In it, Old Spice guy 2.0 Terry Crews hooks up multiple musical instruments to various muscles in his body, and proceeds to play them by flexing his muscles. If the entire thing wasn’t hilarious and engaging enough, the hook is at the end where you get to control Crews’ “muscle parts” to create your own video. You can then preview your finished muscle music, record it and even share it with your friends.

As of writing, the Muscle Music has already gotten millions of views, more than 16,000 mentions on Facebook, and thousands of likes, comments and retweets online. Here are some of the qualities that make Old Spice’s new ad such a viral hit.


It’s Well Planned and Produced

Image by CarbonNYC

Obviously, brands will need good quality content if they expect to get ahead on the online marketing streams. In Muscle Music’s case, Old Spice and Wieden+Kennedy set out to create a highly engaging video intended to capture people’s attention and keep them hooked. This meant gathering and investing on the right talent and technologies to produce a compelling video content so they tapped commercial and music video director Tom Kuntz, production house Mackenzie Cutler, and digital effects company The Mill to develop the video.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of technical work went into developing Muscle Music which, according to a feature piece by The Atlantic began two months ago. It was obvious that the concept required more than just shooting footages and editing them together so the production and marketing teams decided to tap Vimeo not only as a launch platform, but also as a partner. In this capacity, the online video service was instrumental in developing the under-the-hood tweaks needed to put together over 150 elements to create a seamless user experience.


It’s Funny

Image by JD Hancock

From Crews testing his instruments, crashing into a keyboard solo and exclaiming “Flame sax!” down to his very animated in-the-zone facial expressions, Muscle Music is just darn entertaining. Like before, it capitalizes on humor and the comedic chops of their spokesperson to attract people into their fold and reclaim their viral prominence on the social Web.

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, content that can illicit emotions and strong reactions (humor, in this case), can be virally successful. This keeps people hooked for the full experience, compels them to keep coming back for more, and even encourages them to pass the fun experience on to their friends. Crews will actually call your attention to engage with him again, hollering “Come on dummy, I don’t have all day!” and “Hey, play the music or get out!”


Its Star is Magnetic and a Comedic Genius

Terry Crews ripping the dance floor in the movie White Chicks.

Over the years, Old Spice has always featured funny, magnetic personalities to promote its products. Bruce Campbell and Neil Patrick Harris were very interesting to watch, brewing in their confident swagger and using their comedic timing to attract the brand’s targeted demographic. Come 2010, Isiah Mustafa stepped in as the new Old Spice Guy, marinating in a charismatic hyper-macho persona that directly targeted female viewers.

And then Terry Crews came. While Mustafa was confident, calm and his actions were calculated, Crews’ Old Spice Guy portrayal is loud, a little too intense and abrasive—elements that was coupled with truly absurd humor. As an actor, he’s always been a physical comedy genius and the campaign made use of this and his signature brazen sense of machismo to elevate Muscle Music’s viral appeal.


It’s Interactive and Shareable

Keyboard Guide to Old Spice's viral marketing video
Image from Old Spice’s Facebook Page

While the sight of an intense, hyper-macho black man pounding drums with his pecs is oddly mesmerizing enough, it’s the interactive element that takes Muscle Music’s virality up a significantly big notch. Obviously, the interactive element is part of the fun—watching Crews do your bidding with a press of a button or two, seeing those funny sequences in your own order, and being able to create something you can loosely call your own.

By letting people reconstruct pieces of the brand’s ready-made content into something they can share with their friends, they’re effectively turned into content developers themselves. This breathes a gratifying sense of satisfaction and the pride of personal accomplishment into the whole experience, further motivating people to showcase what they’ve created for others to see.


It’s Social and Easily Accessible

Old Spice shared Muscle Music on Instagram with this photo

After viewing the video in Vimeo, you can create your own muscle music, record it for playback, compare it with other people’s creations, embed it on your site or blog, and share it with your contacts across other social networks. Again, this fueled its massive virility that leapt from Vimeo to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, and it’s even been covered by countless blogs and news outfits.

Two days after its debut and Muscle Music has garnered over 4.4 million views and more than 10,000 Likes on Vimeo. In addition to this, over 11 thousand people have engaged with its interactive component and have created and uploaded their own remixes on the video sharing site.

Like all marketing campaigns meant for the social platform, Muscle Music was immediately cross posted on Old Spice’s various social media profiles.

  • Facebook

    To support Danger Zone and its new ad, the brand changed their Facebook page’s cover photo to a still image from the video. Naturally, they shared the video as a status update which meant that people can also view and engage with it without leaving Facebook. That status update currently has 5,512 Likes, 419 comments and has been shared over 6,095 times on the social network.

  • Twitter

    From the background image to the userpic, Old Spice’s Twitter page has been decked out to showcase Muscle Music. The tweet that announced the new ad carried the #musclemusic hashtag and has the video embedded for better access. It’s also been tagged as a Promoted Tweet for better visibility. As of writing, it has more than a thousand retweets and has been favorited 402 times.

  • YouTube

    Old Spice posted a 23-second preview on its YouTube page that directs people to its page on Vimeo. While people won’t exactly get the entire Muscle Music experience on YouTube, the preview video is surprisingly still getting some significant engagements. It currently has 96,690 views, 2,037 Likes, 241 comments and 457 favorites.

  • Instagram

    The brand posted an image of a giant Old Spice deodorant in a recording booth to announce Muscle Music on Instagram. Currently counting 144 Likes, the post was also cross-posted to their Facebook and Twitter profiles where it’s still getting lots of interactions.

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