By now, you’ve probably heard about the Old Spice Guy — the attractive towel-clad gentleman pitching Old Spice who created nearly 200 videos, many in response to Twitter users’ questions. Those who relish hyperbole might say that the Old Spice Guy appeared to be so viral, so popular that he nearly exploded the internet due to his site traffic.
After all, video analytics were through the roof, with their most popular video, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” garnering nearly 20 million views.
But, what about sales?
Earlier this week, rumors began to spread around the web that even with the incredible social media pick-up, Old Spice sales numbers were down. Some early reports indicated that numbers were down by as much as 7%, which left many marketers shaking their heads in confusion, wondering how could that be possible?
Some nay-sayers went so far as to vocally declare the Old Spice campaign to be off-target and too much of “pounding” product message to positively influence sales. Such analysis indicates that great social media success didn’t necessary mean overall brand success.
At the root of this numbers scrutiny debacle appears to be some miscommunication about sales numbers, and at its core, a lack of trust about the tactical sales power of social media (The 7% decrease in sales figure was actually for a different Old Spice product called Red Zone After Hours that was not promoted in the Old Spice Guy videos).
Working in social media is often about faith in time-tested communication strategies, understanding user trends, and trusting that word of mouth works. This type of work also requires patience in not jumping the gun too early and being smart when reading statistics. For instance, did no one else question that the product that dropped 7% wasn’t actually mentioned in any of the 180 videos before they denounced the campaign’s effectiveness?
For any non-believers still out there, Old Spice body wash sales actually rose 107% in the past month. Sales rose 55% within the past three months (Nielsen).