Scenes from one of Procter & Gamble Co.’s latest viral video campaigns: A young woman gets on a water slide, but instead of sliding down she sticks to it like glue. In another, a boyfriend tumbles out a window while trying to hurriedly pull off his girlfriend’s uncooperative stockings.
“Happy with your razor?” the tagline asks, directing viewers to a Russian website for Venus shaving products at www.school-of-date.ru. They’re part of the latest
attempt by P&G to engage global consumers via online videos and social media, in this case targeting Russian women concerned about razor stubble.
Created by Ogilvy Group in Russia, the water slide video won a “Silver Drum” at the 17th annual Golden Drum International Advertising Festival in Slovenia last month.
The videos follow Cincinnati-based P&G’s wildly successful “Smell like a man, man” campaign earlier this year for Old Spice body wash. Featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa, clad in a white towel, those videos garnered millions of views and massive publicity for the venerable P&G brand. At one point in July, Old Spice accounted for eight of the top 11 most-popular videos on YouTube, and more than a million people registered as fans on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, said Gillette spokesman Mike Norton in Boston.
‘The tools are out there’
Smaller businesses with more limited budgets aren’t likely to achieve that level of success, but they can learn from P&G’s experience and use online videos and social media to boost awareness with a targeted audience.
“It’s a gold mine for small businesses,” said Matt Plapp, president of Northern Kentucky-based Driven Media Solutions. The marketing firm focuses on digital and social media, managing about 150 Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages for small businesses. It also provides a range of marketing services for other clients.
Plapp relates the story of a trade show that he attended recently with officials from Blue Ash-based Ficks Reed, a maker of high-end wicker furniture. When the company’s CEO fell asleep on a chaise lounge during the show, Plapp shot some video of him, mostly to embarrass him, he said. Then a customer came along and was so impressed he bought $10,000 worth of furniture on the spot. So Plapp took the footage and whipped up a quick online video, uploaded it to YouTube, and sent an e-mail blast to all of Ficks Reed’s online subscribers.
“This is what’s great about digital media. We spent nothing on it. It took all of about 20 minutes,” said Plapp. “The tools are out there for every small business.”
Ken Williamson, senior vice president of On Location Multimedia in Cincinnati, said the cost of professionally produced videos is quite flexible, ranging from as little as $500 for a talking-head format to as much as $20,000 for a more elaborate production. Because they appear so small on screen, the picture quality is of secondary importance to the concept.
“Most of your money should be spent on the development of the idea. The real key is the creative concept,” said Williamson, whose company does videos, website development and digital photography.
For P&G, the secret to its Old Spice campaign, in addition to “absolutely great creative” from the Weiden+Kennedy ad agency, was the eye-opening consumer insight that “women were key purchasers of body wash for men,” Norton said. “That changed our conversation. Now we’re talking to both men and women.”
P&G is mum on specifics, but Norton said U.S. sales and volumes for Old Spice body wash and deodorant have increased in the “high-single to low-double digits” compared to last year.
“Old Spice is now No. 1 in body wash and deodorant,” Norton said. Previously it was neck and neck with Unilever’s Axe, he said.
P&G global marketing spokeswoman Tressie Rose said reapplying the successful elements of the Old Spice campaign isn’t limited to videos.
Viral videos can be one digital element within the total campaign, she said.