Old Spice And Their Instagram Are Anti-Humor Treasures.
Old Spice is the brand whose branding is secondary to an asinine punchline. Six years on, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” spawned a hornet’s nest of imitators who haven’t sniffed the level of success Old Spice and W+K did. Most anti-humor attempts lack the cajones to fully commit to the ice bath that is telling a joke and expecting 90% of recipients to roll their eyes, dip their heads in dismay, or flat out ignore you. Old Spice, to borrow a phrase, does not give a damn. And their Instagram radiates creative genius; Gamma wave poisoning.
Interestingly enough, when viewing their full arsenal of absurdity as a whole, a distinct trend emerges. Earlier, most posts included product shots. While the humor was distinctly Old Spice (read: irreverent), the product line was the star. They slowly moved away to show posts that omitted the product and gave us such wondrous works as the reverse mullet. Which was more successful? Who’s to say—but seeing a company’s full breadth of advertising efforts evolve with shifts in tone is an interesting new trend since the advent of social media.
When images are branded, the punchline is usually a complete non-sequitur. Their comedy is buckshot. No topic too outlandish, no stone unskipped. It’s a masterful display of consistency to be as scatterbrained as they are. Having the zany and kooky ad may be annoying, but being the strung-out hummingbird BRAND will win you favors, followers, and a boatload of praise.
Old Spice has dabbled in some really ambitious undertakings on Instagram as well. Similar to the United Nations Mine Action Service “Minesweeper” Instagram campaign we profiled a few weeks back, Old Spice offers a similar choose-your-own-adventure journey which fans of Goosebumps know all too well. The hijinks are kinky, the twists are nipple clamps (see?), and the content is branded.
They’ve also created an homage to long-form copy ads, maintained a football-centric push that featured NFL quarterback and ginger rights advocate Andy Dalton, and taken the sanctity out of everything from Christmas encroaching on Thanksgiving, to Titanic, to stock photography. It’s a masterful portfolio of Something Or Other. Historians and scholars will likely look back and shake their heads in disdain. But for now, we have a front seat to a great brand show.