Thoughts from Blog-ingham

Old Spice, New Media

Posted in marketing, Social Media, Social Networks, Uncategorized, Web 2.0, YouTube by adamellis1985 on July 16, 2010

How many times have you read articles about how big brands are and need to be, embracing Social Media? Twitter is laden with these kind of article links every day from a new report or latest survey etc. Some brands do it badly and don’t really know why they are doing it. Sceptics question the value of the return in quantifiable monetary terms but value can certainly be demonstrated in brand loyalty and customer retention.

There have been some great examples in recent years of how to utilise Social Media in advertising campaigns, to drum up a buzz about a certain product. You might stretch your mind back to how Ikea used one of their branch managers, Gordon Gustavsson, who allowed people to become friends with him so they could tag items of furniture with their names on his photo albums of Ikea catalogue furniture. The first person to tag the picture won that item. That was one of the best approaches I had seen but now there is a new kid on the block.

Enter, Isaiah Mustafa and a cult following. He is the face of a series of Old Spices’ ad’s and despite Old Spice having won awards previously to the latest ad incarnation, it is the latest ad that has gone viral on the Internet.

Few brands have or probably ever will come close to matching the innovative approach that Old Spice, the aftershave producer, used recently in their ad campaign. Old Spice started off by delivering a fantastic ad with prime time slots of US TV for their new fragrance.

Mustafa has become more than the face of Old Spice. Here’s what happened. The ad was interesting, amusing and entertaining and very short. Take a look if you have not seen it.

Unbeknown to everyone else and while they were enjoying the ad, commenting on it on Twitter and Facebook and bookmarking it on Reddit and Delicious, a team of creative, marketers and writers gathered in an undisclosed location in Portland, Oregon and produced 87 short comedic YouTube videos about Old Spice. Iain Tait Global Interactive Creative Director at Wieden, is leading the effort. “In a way there’s nothing magical that we’ve done here, we just brought a character to life using the social channels we all [social media geeks] use every day. But we’ve also taken a loved character and created new episodic content in real time.”

The Old Spice Social Media team didn’t just follow the feedback on Twitter, Facebook fan groups and their YouTube channel. They went one step further. They collated a number of questions and responses to their ad by trawling through numerous Social Media platforms and then used Mustafa, as the personality and face of Old Spice, to respond to them, in character. Mustafa’s personalised reponses have a collective number of hits of over 4 million in just a couple of days.

Mustafa has been reeling off the responses to the likes of Ashton Kutcher, Alyssa Milano and Ellen Degeneres. But he has also responded to the non-famous people who just liked the ad and went to the time to tell their followers on Twitter or comment on it on YouTube. Take a look at a couple of the best ones below…

Old Spice has taken the use of Social Media in marketing to new levels here. They have gone beyond just using Social Media to let people follow the brand and say they like the product, and have entered into a two way dialogue with the character representing the brand. The responses are light hearted and amusing and often a bit of gibberish really but cleverly often manage to get mentions of Old Spice in there. This keeps the interest going, makes you like the brand more and will probably result in a surge in sales. The short episodic videos feel like they are more directed at the viewer than the ad itself, as they have an element of personalisation.

Unfortunately, as Mustafa says himself, all good things must come to an end and here is the closing video response to ‘everyone’, which is a suitably eccentric post. 

A tip of the hat to you Old Spice for one very clever strategy.

For more info on this topic, check out Old Spice’s website


YouTube 5 Years on – Leave the Lunatics Running the Asylum – They’re doing a Good Job

Posted in Current Affairs, Internet, People, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web 2.0, YouTube by adamellis1985 on February 15, 2010


I was browsing my Twitter feed yesterday afternoon and I noticed a link posted by @guardiantech, which was entitled, “YouTube’s fifth birthday: watch its top five videos.” It stirred a few thoughts in my mind that I will explore in this blog post.

Firstly, it made me realise how incredible YouTube’s growth has been in such a short period of time. Secondly, it made me rather nostalgic about how many great things I have seen on YouTube and I will share some of those with you in the same way The Guardian did. And finally, it made me slightly concerned about the ever expanding Internet juggeranut that is Google. As Google continues to expand, steamrolling the Internet landscape, re-inventing the YouTube commercial model and simultaneously looking for its’ return on investment, I fear we may lose some of the things that have endeared us to that site for the past five years. YouTube is a crazy and bizarre place at times but that is one of the things that has made it so great. The people behind the videos are YouTube and without them it’s nothing.

Happy Birthday YouTube – My, How You’ve Grown

So, YouTube has reached the tender toddler age of five years old. I can imagine many teenagers wondering what came before YouTube in that space. And the answer really is, not much. Google bought YouTube for $1.65bn in 2006 less than a year after its launch but is still working on ways to make money out of it. At that time, 100 million videos were views every day and 72 million people visited the site each day. YouTube now streams a monstrous 1 billion videos a day. It’s a scary figure and I can’t get my head round it. It’s growth is quite simply astronomical and causes quite a headache for ISP’s providing the bandwidtch to cope with their customers appetitie for an ever expanding library of online video content. If you want to see how far YouTube has come, check out the Web Archive where you can check back month on month to see what the site used to look like. YouTube is now of the most visited websites in the world sitting at number 3 for 2009 behind only its parent company Google and of course, Facebook. People my age have grown up with YouTube and found amateur videos that are inspiring, cringeworthy, hilarious, sad, endearing and sometimes outrageous. Here are just a few of the best videos I have viewed on YouTube over the last few years:

The Battle of the Kruger

Filmed by holidaymakers in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, this is an incredible video and probably something that even the professionals would struggle to find themselves in the right place at the right time to film. It is a once in a lifetime clip.

Where the Hell is Matt?

This is one of the most heartwarming, life-me-up videos I have ever come across. I don’t really know why but I just like it. Perhaps it’s because a guy called Matt has decided to do a silly dance in many countries across the world and invited anyone who lives there to do it with him. Simple but brilliant. YouTube is the perfect forum to share it. If you want to find out more about Matt and how he made the videos and the story behind it, then check out his website.

100 Greatest Hits of YouTube in 4 minutes

For me this video sums up what YouTube is all about. It is an eclectic (substitute electic for other adjectives such as, crazy, mental or bizarre where applicable) mix of brilliant amateur clips that you just wouldn’t have seen before YouTube came along.

Google and a Changing Commerical Model

This leads me on to my final point which is about what YouTube represents and why people like it? YouTube is changing the way we consume online content and moving beyond the amateurish realms of videos of babies giggling and having 50 million people view it. Google is looking for its ROI by using YouTube as a plaform for much more than your average person sharing their holiday videos. More and more online content consumption is via video. Google is not missing a trick here and is raising YouTube into a fully fledged adult capable of bringing in massive revenue streams to get its’ return on investment. YouTube recently announced the rights to stream Inidan Premier League Cricket. The two-year deal gives the Google-owned YouTube the exclusive rights to stream IPL matches online, with the two companies splitting revenue from sponsorship and advertising.  YouTube are moving into content areas traditionally owned by broadcasters such as BBC and Sky and they must be looking over their shoulders now at the Google backed video giant wondering how they can compete in the future. This move was on the back of YouTube moving into the live music market and winning the rights to U2 broadcasting their gig at the Pasadena Bowl, in California, in October via YouTube, to fans in 16 countries around the world.  Google has been making its mark on YouTube, professionalising it and moving it beyond the You’ve Been Framedesque amateur clips. Furthermore, the expansion of corporates into YouTube for having their own communications or marketing channels has also been noticeable. YouTube now even features a Corporate Brand Channel, which teaches you how to plan online marketing campaigns. YouTube styles itself as being a “powerful, creative and efficient partner for your next campaign.” (Source:

Don’t Like Change

All this is fine and Google needs to make its money back and the new channels on music concerts, live sport and online events streamed via YouTube only adds another dimesion to the its appeal. But what attracted us all to YouTube in the first place was the appeal of seeing normal people (well, people anyway) sharing their amusing, uplifting or downright deranged video clips. I just hope Google doesn’t ever take that precious channel away, as I know I for one would miss it!

Why have I started blogging? Seems a good place to start

Posted in People, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 by adamellis1985 on August 29, 2009

Blogging has become a common literary (0r visual) form of communication in today’s world. Blogging is becomming almost as common as writing letters was fifty years ago or emailing is today. But why do people choose to join this new culture of communication when they do? And why do people choose to blog rather than deliver the same messages via other social mediums? These are a couple of questions that have gone through my mind and as this is my first blog post I thought it was a decent place to begin with a little bit of reflection about why I have joined the blogosphere now and why I choose to blog?

Why now?

I have been fascinated by a number of other blogs on the Internet for some time now, including Robert Peston’s BBC Business blog, Mashable, Freakanomics, Confused of Calcutta and Life Hacker. It dawned on me that I had a huge interest in a number of areas demonstrated by the range of the topics in the blogs mentioned and perhaps I could add some opinions and thoughts on topics that I am particularly au fait with. I first started blogging nearly two years ago but in a far more insular, defined space. I wrote a travel blog as I made my way around Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru. I chose a blog, as I thought it was the best way to communicate my experiences in South American with the people who were interested enough to hear about it (but I will come back to that later) Since I started working at BT I have become more aware of what social technologies like Twitter and blogging can offer and have become more engaged in them both in the Enterprise and in my personal life. Therefore, this seemed an appropriate time (also it’s raining outside) for me to transfer what I have learnt and observed into a blog.

Why do I blog?

This answer will vary remarkably for each different blogger you ask so my answer is tinged with a little bias from my own viewpoint. I am certain that this question has been laboured over by thousands of other bloggers out there so I will not summarise their thoughts as I have deliberately not read the answers to this question as I wanted to approach it from a fresh perspective.

Firstly, blogging is a method of communication and differs greatly from a letter, an email or Facebook messages direct to you wall or inbox because it offers the wonderful element of choice. One can’t really claim they haven’t seen a friend’s ‘gap year’ weekly message if it is delivered by email or straight to you Facebook Inbox. A blog sits alone on the Internet and the reader seeks to consume the latest blog posts and chooses do this by ‘subscribing’ to new posts. Coming back to my trip to South America, I was loathe to share what a ‘life changing, soul enhancing’ (fortunately I never actually had a blog post with that title anyway) time I was having with my friends back home while they toiled away with the beginning of the recession trying to find jobs after graduating from University or saving their pennies to do a similar trip to myself. Therefore I chose a different medium for sharing my stories and thoughts about South America and in general what I had been up to. I therefore chose to write a travel blog and offer the URL to anyone who was interested enough to what to know what I had been doing in Patagonia or how my trek up Macchu Picchu was and they could take it or leave it.

Secondly, blogging is a form of democratisation on the Internet and can open up debate and the sharing of thoughts and knowledge on specific topics. You only have to think back to the peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe, the social media explosion in Iran after Ahmedinajad’s recent ‘re-election’ and the popularity of blogs in Cuba, a country where that is still a dangerous past time to be engaged in. I hope to share my views in this blog in the future on topics I have a certain level of interest and knowledge in and will steer clear of other topics. So blogs are a point of learning.

And finally, blogging offers a totally different form of communication to other social mediums, such as Twitter and Facebook. For me, I am a fan of both Twitter and Facebook and frequently use both. But equally I acknowledge that they both occupy a fairly inane social space in the form of ‘what are you doing?’ Now, I am the first to admit that I like to engage in filling in witty responses or slightly gleeful announcements of where I am going on holiday to that question on Facebook or summarising my weekends’ activities in 140 characters on Twitter. But does anyone except my Mother really care what I have eaten for dinner or where I went on a sunny Saturday afternoon? I think not. Admittedly, Twitter does also serve a more mature purpose as well demonstrated by its current demographic of users, including academics and business leaders.  Therefore, what my blog won’t be is a self indulgent real time report of what I have eaten for breakfast, when I read the paper, which paper it was and when I had lunch. There is nothing wrong with blogs that are like that but mine won’t follow that trend so please feel free to remind me if it ever reverts to that. I will attempt to deliver a blog with some insight and commentary on topics such as Politics and Business, Social Media, Sport, Travel and The Arts (a posh term for music and cinema).