Great Idea – Poor Execution – #OldSpice Duel

July 27, 2011
July 27, 2011 Jason

Great Idea – Poor Execution – #OldSpice Duel

mano a mano in el banoYesterday was the big event, the social media duel of the decade.  Mano a Mano in el Bano. Old Spice Guy vs. Fabio.  A battle via social media to determine who is the most manly man to pitch the pit-stick.

There were TV spots.  Lots of them.

There were online ads.  Lots of them.

There wasn’t a ton of lead-up before the event (as opposed to normal media, which is hammering the fall lineup 2-3 months before we’ll get to see any of these new “must see” shows).

The event was scheduled for 9am PDT, and there was a fair bit of buzz in twitter.  I had tweetchat fired up, the youtube channel loaded, a fresh pot cup of coffee, and I was ready to enjoy the hilariousness.

Nine o’clock rolled around and the first video was the Rules of Engagement from the Old Spice Guy.  Funny – sets the tone for what we should expect in the video duel.

And then we waited.

and waited.

Finally, a response from Fabio.  His response, choppy, stilted, and hard to understand.  So different from the effortless delivery of Mustafa.

Ok – chalk it up to nerves.  Mustafa has been doing this gig for a while now, and he lives in his character.  Fabio – well, English isn’t his first language.

We waited some more.  in the first 20 minutes, there were 3 videos.  Maybe it’s my ADD, but when you hype an audience up for a 9am start, you need to have something to keep their attention.  Too bad this was pretty much how things rolled out for the day.

Finally a few vids started coming, but this was less of  a battle and more of a schoolyard tiff.

Fabio would post a video, mumbling through his lines, trying to combat Mustafa.  A battle of words between these two – but one of them is a cunning linguist and the other seems to have failed ESL – this maybe could have used a bit more planning.  It seemed like they had different writers for their dialogue.  Mustafa – keen witted comments from the original team at Wieden+Kennedy, Fabio – word jumbles from a box of AlphaBits.

At the end of the day, 44 videos were delivered by the pair, but instead of being a fun and funny social media experience, it became a clear example of why you should choose the right person to pitch your product.  Big names are great if you can afford them, but if they don’t represent the brand well, is it money well spent?  (ie: Don Cherry for Dominion Lending – when was the last time he needed a mortgage broker?)


You can check out all of the videos here on the Old Spice YouTube channel.

What did you think of the event? Too much hype, not enough delivery, or was it chock full’a awesome, and I’m just a Fabio-hater?





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Comment (1)

  1. I actually didn’t even watch the event. You had mentioned it that morning and I thought that it would be a waste of the time that I should be parenting my child. I think the other issue I have is that I barely understand a word that Fabio says. Ironically his delivery of ‘blah blah’ is very clear.

    My thoughts on this whole thing is that there must be a bigger ‘marketing picture’ at work that is waiting to unfold here. I really don’t see how the Old Spice team could have such an amazing campaign and then do something so terrible. I can see them maybe missing the mark, but really they have ‘shit the bed’ with Fabio. I just don’t believe it.

    There has to be something bigger than all of us that we cannot comprehend at this point. I will wait patiently.

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