Last Updated Jul 29, 2010 10:49 PM EDT
It won't be possible to recreate this success, because this campaign was the first of its kind. "If the message that comes out of this is that you can make TV commercials in 30 minutes, then we're all out of a job," joked Ian Tait, the man behind the Old Spice campaign. "We're operating on Internet time but with a level of quality you'd get on a TV slot. That combination got peoples' attention."
Tait, a creative director at marketing agency Wieden + Kennedy, generated the incredible response by straddling the worlds of pop culture fans and online geeks. The deodorant's popular spokesman, Old Spice Man, made videos directed at stars like Perez Hilton, Alyssa Milano and Ryan Seacrest. But the campaign also recognized the influence of tech celebs like Digg founder Kevin Rose, Gawker blog Gizmodo and the anonymous hackers at web forum 4chan.
Mere mortals were also treated to personal replies. Hundreds of thousands of Twitter users sent in personal messages, hoping they would be selected for the next shout out. Tait and his team understood that successful viral video frequently steers a narrow course between celebrity and obscurity, and they did so to great effect.
According to ReadWriteWeb, several "social media experts" were on hand to monitor mentions of the campaign from across the web and track which of the users responding to Old Spice had the biggest influence in different social networks. The term "social media expert" usually seems suspect, but it's clear the team behind the Old Spice campaign deserves that designation.