"If you've ever wondered who owns the Internet, I can tell you right now — it's the Old Spice guy," writes Dave Taylor in The Vancouver Sun. The brand's astonishingly successful ad campaign starring Isaiah Mustafa "bridges traditional and social media, and then goes viral. It just doesn't get any better than that." Still, the basic approach doesn't break new ground. The Old Spice guy is just the latest "embodiment of a new archetype" that emerged in post-war advertising: "The Ironic Man," who himself evolved from the earnest "Pitch Man" of the 1950s. By acknowledging their sales shtick, these antecedents helped jaded consumers swallow their pitches with a spoonful of sugar and certain no-baloney bluntness. But will Old Spice's iteration of this persona, asks Taylor, usher in a slew of imitators? Here, an excerpt:
While some corporate executives are wringing their baby-soft hands about the death of advertising, other companies are stepping up their game. The success of the Ironic Man as an archetype shows that while consumers are savvier than ever, they will buy into your world if you create one that's relevant to them and makes them part of the equation.
With the rise of social media, it's often forgotten that creative is still king. You can build the best social media integration imaginable into your product or service, but if the creative isn't there to tweak the imagination, you're dead in the water.
As for the future of the Ironic Man archetype, Old Spice guy may mark his apex, signalling the start of his inevitable decline. Or it could be the start of Ironic Man's golden age. Regardless, right now, he has the ears and eyes of consumers. And advertisers had better pay attention.
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