Does Viral Video Translate to Marketing Success?

Wrapped in a towel, Old Spice slipped onto the social media stage earlier this month. Extending his 2010 Super Bowl ad role, Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice hunk, starred in over 180 YouTube videos. In the process, Old Spice reached third placed in subscribers for its sponsored channel on YouTube. The Wieden+Kennedy branding campaign has become 2010’s viral social media success story.

Repositioning your grandfather’s well-established Old Spice brand as a social media savvy, hip brand icon creates significant marketing options going forward. While it may not result in a big jump in immediate sales, the ability of a major rebranding campaign to communicate with loyal users as well as prospects will provide many new opportunities to adjust the product, price, and place components of the marketing mix, according to Florida Gulf Coast University Advertising Professor Chris Wright-Isak.

27 Questions to Determine Branding Effectiveness

With any marketing campaign, it’s important to measure results against its goals to determine campaign success. Here are 27 questions to help assess branding effectiveness.

Social Media Including Video

1. How many people viewed the videos? How many videos did each person view? How much of the videos were visitors viewing? (For additional video data, check here.)

2. Did the videos attract comments? If so, what sentiments were expressed?

3. How did the videos trend on YouTube? How do these videos compare to previous successful campaigns like “Will It Blend?

4. How many viewers shared the videos?

5. Did the videos result in parodies? If so, how did they reflect on the brand?

6. How many people followed or became a fan/liked Old Spice on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms?

7. How many people tweeted or commented on Facebook about the campaign? What specific words were used? What was the sentiment of their comments? This reflects viewer engagement and willingness to enhance social status by sharing.

8. How many people engaged directly with the brand-posed questions, what questions did they ask (what kind of questions?), and why did they ask? One man proposed via the videos.

9. Which social media platforms did they use? The Old Spice campaign started on Reddit.

10. Did the campaign reach influencers, people with large social media followings? Old Spice spoke directly to popular icons like Ellen DeGeneres, media entities like The Huffington Post, and social media gurus like Peter Shankman, aka @skydiver.

11. Did the campaign reach trending status on any social media platforms? This rank translates to additional reach. On July 13th to 14th, Old Spice was a trending topic on Twitter.


12. Target market. Did the campaign increase awareness in key target markets? Did it have an impact on influencers such as women, who aren’t product users but who users want to impress?

13. Brand sentiment. Did the videos change viewers’ feelings about Old Spice? If so, how did brand perceptions change? Was this in line with campaign goals?

14. Purchase intent. Did the videos result in increased buyer likelihood to purchase Old Spice? Did this campaign change time-to-purchase?

15. Loyal fans. Did the campaign reinforce a positive perception of users who feel an affiliation and affection for the brand? How do prospective buyers feel about the brand?

16. Brand status. Did the campaign transform the brand making it an icon? Did the brand’s reach become part of the culture?

17. Line extensions. Did the videos’ impact extend to other Old Spice products like aftershave?

18. Market share. Did the product and/or brand’s market share increase? Branding campaigns may take at least a year to yield results.

19. Competition. Did the campaign have an impact on direct competitors’ sales? Did it cause changes in the category? Old Spice even spoke to Gillette.


20. How many media mentions did the videos generate? Did these mentions link to Old Spice’s videos, Facebook page, Twitter page, and/or website? If so, what was the impact on organic search results?

21. What type of media picked up the story of the campaign and what was the entity’s reach? Did traditional media, like television, cover the story? For example, Mustafa spoke to Good Morning America via Skype showing his technical savvy.

22. How many people tweeted, shared, or commented on campaign-focused articles? What was the sentiment of this commentary and how did it position the product?

23. Did the media engagement related to your campaign extend to talk and comedy shows? If so, how was the brand portrayed?

Financial Indicators

For most marketing campaigns, the proof is in the financial metrics. The reality is that sales must be tracked over time, especially for branding campaigns that often can take at least a year to yield measureable results.

24. Revenues. What were sales for the promoted product? In Old Spice’s case, how did other products under the brand umbrella such as deodorant, shaving cream, and aftershave perform? Were sales measured over time? The first Mustafa ad appeared during the 2010 Super Bowl. What was the sales trend before the campaign started? If its sales trajectory was weak, are current results better than anticipated? How does this compare to prior month and last year’s sales?

25. Expenses. How much did this viral campaign cost including all of the related marketing such as the branded YouTube site, the Facebook page, Twitter page, as well as related personnel and other costs? How do these expenses relate to other brand campaigns on digital and offline media? Were there any PR expenses such as press releases?

26. Profitability. How did this campaign impact the product and brand’s profitability?

27. Investor relations. Did this campaign have any impact on perceptions of the company as a whole, the stock price, and/or investor perception?

A branding campaign, particularly when it’s repositioning a well-established brand with the word “old” in its name, needs to first focus on building awareness and purchase intent. Therefore, it may take time to increase revenues and market share. Every marketer wants to create the next viral hit. But the second critical issue is how do you capitalize on your brand’s increased awareness and repositioned image to contribute to your marketing success going forward?

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