In fact, I found the whole, somewhat popular, line of thinking that it didn't -- or wouldn't -- move the sales needle so befuddling that I made a few public comments about it last week. It was that, or scratch my head endlessly, which I wasn't up for.
Far as I could tell, Wieden had hit a home run. Just look at the ingredients: tens of millions of YouTube views featuring an already-popular, and outright hilarious, character. Ingenious social media outreach - which included more than 180 video responses - guaranteed to lift awareness. A parity product, locked deeply in the ha-ha advertising wars with Unilever's Axe. (All else being equal, funniest brand wins.) All of that had to make a difference.
And it did -- according to data we should all trust. Nielsen reports that Old Spice sales rose by 107% in the last month. Even if sales had only increased by half of that, the campaign should be considered a success.
So, why the naysaying? Some of you are not going to want to hear this -- but it's crystal clear. You've fallen into the trap of not trusting metrics in new media, as though a YouTube view, which is actually opt-in, is somehow less meaningful than when someone watches a commercial on TV. I can hear it already. Some of you will say that some of the ads' views fell outside the demographic, and that we don't know the number of uniques. Like TV ads are so perfectly targeted that there's no waste? Like an ad that someone wanted to watch is less valuable because ... Why? The advertiser didn't pay YouTube any money? Because decades of traditional TV measurement have inured too many of us to the fact that it's deeply flawed? Or, because if clients stopped buying lots of TV time, agency holding companies would lose a big part of their compensation model?
But the problem I'm getting at isn't just about YouTube. This kind of distrust tends to leak into other things as well. Does the massive online awareness of the campaign -- even for those who never actually participated in it -- count for nothing? You mean tweets are completely meaningless? Of course they aren't.
This distrust of nontraditional media isn't limited to social. I shake my head when media buyers get leery about buying things like Hulu (pricing aside) because they can't equate it to traditional TV metrics. Last time I noticed, the Hulu audience was pretty damn captive. It has to sit there, watching the commercial, before it can get to the content it requested. Ditto banner ads. They usually don't represent advertising creative in its highest form, but if you think their value lies solely in the click-through, you've never been exposed to advertising at all. Some part of the message usually seeps in, particularly after repeated exposure. Speaking of which, the Old Spice social media effort leant itself to multiple views. You got a problem with that? Then you've never seen a big-budget TV campaign, where frequency is part of the plan.
I'm lucky. I don't have to convince recalcitrant clients to spend their money in ways they might consider unorthodox. But I'd urge those of you in that business to question yourself, and your clients, the next time either of you start to poke holes in the validity of digital media metrics. You might realize that digital -- and social media -- metrics mean more than you think and that traditional metrics mean less.
Now, wasn't that an obnoxious rant? At least now I feel better.