Advertising Is Content, Content Is Advertising, I'm On A Horse

from the hello-ladies dept

For anyone watching the Olympics lately (despite the efforts of NBC — really, NBC? Why air one of the most anticipated events of the games on MSNBC?! ), you may have seen this engaging Old Spice commercial where a man is magically transported from his bathroom, to a boat, and finally to a horse. The commercial was actually interesting enough for me to stop my TiVo and replay it twice when I first saw it.

The commercial itself has garnered over 2.5 million views on YouTube — and that’s just for the “official” version, there are many other accounts that have uploaded the commercial, which Old Spice has wisely not asked to be taken down (yet?). This serves as a fantastic reminder of a point that we’ve illustrated here before: advertising is content, and content is advertising. When you make a fantastic commercial like Old Spice did, not only do people actually seek out your commercial to see it, but they discuss it as well. I know personally that I have had no less than 10 discussions amongst my friends about the commercial. In fact, Leo Laporte’s video, where he interviews the creators of the commercial about how it was done, has gotten over 100k views.

The big question is, however, how effective this ad was for actually increasing the sales of Old Spice.

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Comments on “Advertising Is Content, Content Is Advertising, I'm On A Horse”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Still won't buy that crap

I think even mentioning that product name in my house would get me divorced so fast that I would get whiplash. Normally that might seem to be a trivial reason to get divorced – my wife hates the smell that much and I cannot blame her.

Great commercials do not make a great product. Who wants to smell like their grandfather (during his post-life period)?

Dez (profile) says:


I never saw the ad on TV, but saw a few marketing friends tweet about it favorably. Not only did it remind me that I needed new bodywash (I ran out of my oldspice body wash), but when I got to the store I decided I liked a few of the new scents and purchased the spray as well as one of their ‘island’ deodorants.

We’ll see if I am riding a horse by the end of this, but hopefully I’ll still have a fiance at the very least.

Effective? Yes!

PRMan (profile) says:


A little off topic here, but the Canada/USA hockey game was the best game I saw in a decade. I loved the way they went to it in late night AFTER the empty net goal sealed it.

They should have had a running order: “If it’s close, we’ll cut to it for the last 5 minutes of the game in prime time.”

And who has MSNBC in HD? Nobody I know. What a horrible programming decision!

Why does the NHL “partner” with these guys. They’re certainly not doing them any favors.

PEBKAC (profile) says:

Re: Seriously...

Agreed, that was an awesome game. I…sorry, can’t believe I’m gonna say this considering issues I’ve had with them, but…I was *lucky* enough to have Comcast and they added MSNBC to the HD lineup in our area very recently. And there were very few commercials (erm, thanks NBC!…oh, I’ve taken crazy pills…), which made it a really great experience.

No matter who won that game, it was a good ‘un! 🙂

On topic: that ad made me chuckle, and I hate ads generally (’cause they’re done badly). My dad wore Old Spice, rest his soul. Scent’s a very strong memory inducer and invites some serious effects. Probably a good thing we don’t have scent-o-vision.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Seriously...

Dunno about MSNBC in HD, but I did watch the entire game on MSNBC. Dang fine game. The commentating sucked, but I rarely pay much attention to the commentary anyway.

I also notice that NBC has been a ratings juggernaut, exceeding the ratings for winter Olympics all the way back to 1994, and they may yet go even further back. Indeed, NBC frequently has an audience exceeding the other two networks, COMBINED. Wow.

NBC is capitalizing on their MASSIVE ratings wins by upping their internal goals. They may still lose money on the Olympics, but the way things are looking right now, they may end up losing a lot less money than they originally anticipated as people tune in prime time in droves.

Jay Moore (profile) says:

free advertising for providers?

I personally can attest to companies doing things like this. About 2 years ago I uploaded a copy of an iPod commercial that drove me nuts for about 2 weeks…and I expected Apple to promptly take it down. However, they haven’t…the video is still up.

When Gary Coleman did the ads for CashCall…I promptly put them on Youtube because, hey, that’s funny right? I also expected someone to come along and take them down…but to this day…it’s still up…and has been linked by everyone.

I can’t say all my advertising content is still up…some of it has been pulled…it all depends on the company that owns it.

My opinion is with a lot of the adverts that do manage to stay up on YouTube…it’s essentially free airtime for them. They want the ad to reach as many eyes as possible..and if people are going to put them up…that’s still eyes having viewed it…even if it’s just as entertainment’s still somewhat affecting what they do.

Besides, the profit channels are different.

Pax says:

“Old Spice has wisely not asked to be taken down (yet?)” – WTF would they do that? It’s not like they can monetise an ad by getting people to pay for watching it (say, like a movie).

The whole point of whacking ads out there is to get bucketloads of people to see them and hopefully convert some of those eyeballs into money.

These people *pay* to get people to see their ads. If they issue takedowns against a service that’s giving them more exposure for no extra outlay, they’re crazy.

Richard (profile) says:

The big question is, however, how effective this ad was for actually increasing the sales of Old Spice.

Don’t know – but the highly entertaining “Compare the Meerkat” commercials in the UK have had a huge effect on …

plus is now a very succesful website on its own – I guess they’ve made a useful bonus on the merchandising.

Anonymous Coward says:

Great advert. Now if they could just fix the smell. Nobody wants to smell like Grandpa, and actually that generation is more like great-Grandpa by now.

It’s a lovely nostalgic smell for many people who are old enough to remember it actually being worn in the 1970s and 80s, though again by older men. But to modern noses it’s kind of intrusive, vulgar, pushy. Nice sweetness and musk too, but it smells of male chauvinist pigs!

Anonymous Coward says:

The big question is, however, how effective this ad was for

I swear they could make more money from the Meerkats than comparing insurance. They already tried giving away stuffed meerkat toys when you sign a policy with someone. But you can only have so much insurance, change gas company so often, etc. How would you complete the set?

They were popular enough a couple of years ago that a CGI movie, as the meerkats are already CGI, would have done extremely well in the UK. Sell the toys too one xmas, they’ll go mad and be the Tamagotchi (remember them?) of that year.

All sorts of stuff you could do. Sure there’s money in selling third-party financial services, and taking a percentage for doing so. Lots of money actually! But a killer character can be worth a ton of money for the right people. Nothing wrong with being a website AND a toy brand, right?

They could have Meerkat yoghurt, Meerkat breakfast cereal with amusing pretend-Cyrillic letters on the box. Really shove it down everyone’s throats til we’re sick of it. Then drop it, and move to a different market, the USA, or anywhere else you can saturate people’s minds with advertising.

Sorry to be so cowardly, but signing up and getting tracked even more by sinister ad networks is more than my browser can cope with. Did you ever click “list of companies” on the popup permission thing? Is it only EU members who get asked for permission? I clicked, and stopped looking after the first dozen, in alphabetical order and, no lie, that wasn’t even past “A”!

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