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So I – like many of you out there – love the Old Spice work.
I don’t say this because the people behind it pay my monthly salary, but because it is a wonderful idea that can go and grow into a multitude of areas and – most importantly – comes from a product truth [even if on first impressions, it could have appeared a negative] and an insight that without doubt, laid the foundations for this campaign to happen.
In other words, a planner played a major part in the development of this campaign – a campaign, let us not forget, that is for a brand owned by P&G – which I think is bloody fantastic given the ridiculous levels of parity in so much of the advertising these days.
Sure, the work takes this insight and idea to another stratosphere, but interms of laying the foundations for this to happen – and move Old Spice to New Spice, so to speak – a planner played a major role.
As much as some people think its wrong, I am a big fan of seeing the strat in the work …
For me, if you can’t tell what the communication is trying to make you do/say/feel, then you have to question  the purpose behind the work and  what was the point having a planner on the biz in the first place.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying an ad should be a verbatum expression of the planners brief and proposition … however like with Old Spice, it should contain a message that you know has motivating relevance to both the audience and the client.
The thing I particulary like about the campaign is that it’s basically built on the same principals that allowed/allows W+K to do such great work for NIKE.
The whole ethos of the agency is to find the tension point between category and audience and then create an idea that will exploit that in favour of their clients brand.
To be honest, it’s not a unique philosophy [cynic had something we called ‘anger is an energy’] however they are better at identifying the ‘tension point’ than most.
With NIKE, they realised the conflict was all about people liking the idea of being active versus actually getting off their arses and getting involved, so they created an idea and brand voice that encouraged these very folk to get off the sofa and JUST DO IT. Sure the meaning of the message has evolved over time, but at its heart it still conveys the same tough-love statement that made it stand out all those years ago … the sort of tough love statement you’d be more likely to hear from your parents &/or teachers than a brand.
And here’s the thing, I believe the Old Spice campaign taps into the same thing.
I remember when I was a kid, my Dad caught me in his bedroom trying to style my hair [yes, I had some] with gel and god knows what else.
After watching me in silence for a while, he said …
“Stop poncing yourself up and get out”
… which isn’t that far removed from saying …
“You’re a man so why are you covering yourself in smells more suited to a girl?”
The thing is, like the wonderful guys at BBH did with AXE, W+K found an insight that was in front of everyone’s eyes for years [plus truly linked to the brand] … and that is the sign of a good planner, being able to see the obvious, even if it appears not to be that obvious … so while there’s a few other brands that have adopted a similar stance [Canada Dry’s fucking awesome “Your Dad” campaign comes to mind] the accolades for this campaign should go beyond just its executional brilliance, but also celebrate its creatively inspirational planning heart.
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