Is oldspice engaging with the social customer – PR or SCRM?


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If you are from the US & watch TV or follow twitter, facebook and/or youtube closely to catch the fleeting memes as they unfold, you must have obviously noted the exalted buzz around the recent ad campaign to revive P&G’s Old Spice brand, first on TV and then on the aforementioned social media channels.

Its been a hugely successful PR/Marketing campaign and I hear it to have proven ROI too already! I will not get too much into the details of the campaign & what worked and if it can be replicated or not, etc. You can get those from other sites far better suited to the purpose than mine. (some links provided below). I did not get into the discussions initiated by Jacob Morgan either (who initiated me to Sushi when I was in SF in May 2010 & is an up & coming Gen Y dude in the Social CRM arena).

What prompted to post me this commentary on that awesomely brilliant & tough campaign (Imagine 200+ videos within 2 days, can you script it all? Or even act in those many short clips?) is the editorial pick by of a post by old colleague Harish Kotadia (and currently an independent consultant) claiming this to be the best ever Social CRM campaign.

I was intrigued & confounded. I believed that this ad campaign was a brilliant stroke of genius & hard work that leveraged the power of social media & networking sites to make a marketing campaign viral. I however did not think of the campaign as a holistic Social CRM campaign. Many people claimed that the brilliance was in the engagement that the campaigners had with the social media users (lets call them social customers here because they are social media users who are potential customers of Old Spice).

I am a huge proponent of businesses listening & engaging on social media (in addition to influencing, measuring, analysing) and this should have stoked me. But it put me into deeper confusions! So I asked on twitter:

So the ad agency did the listening, corresponding, engaging act on behalf of @oldspice. Did P&G or its LOB engage w/ customers?
To which good friend & star analyst exemplar Esteban Kolsky responded:
why does it matter who did it? somebody did. customers got what they wanted / needed. outsourcing is not bad just because“And then added:
however, that may just be the difference between SCRM and PR/Marketing efforts
And thats exactly I had wanted to know from the cacophonous cognoscenti (again thanks to Esteban for this term, I think its brilliant!) that interacts on twitter, just to check if I was the lone person with those thoughts.

For me Social CRM is a step ahead (above?) Social Media Marketing (read this post for more) and SCRM entails the involvement the whole organization, not just Marketing/PR. The feedback loop did not encroach much within the organization (check out Esteban’s experience continuum).

So when its merely the Marketing/PR that listens & engages on the social media, for me, its just the mouth piece talking. Its not a visceral response. How many other departments within the Old Spice brand/LOB (whatever they call it) of P&G get involved in this? The campaign itself was scripted & executed by an ad agency Wieden & Kennedy.

Another friend, ex analyst, currently head of social channel at huge PR agency, Natalie Petouhoff said that the campaign made big ROI & why would I not consider it Social CRM? To which I responded “high ROI for the company & flash in the pan entertainment for the customers.”

Meaning, that there is nothing with a staying power in it for either the organization or the customers. Its something that kick started the brand again for Old Spice and brought it back into the current psyche of the social customer. And thats a great thing to do!

Did this campaign in any way lend to autopoiesis between the externally & internally facing teams of Old Spice &/or P&G?

So, end of long rant & bottom line: IMHO, this is an example of a brilliant social media marketing campaign, just not social CRM.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Prem Kumar Aparanji
SCRM Evangelist @ Cognizant. Additional knowledge in BPM, QA, Innovations, Solutions, Offshoring from previous roles as developer, tester, consultant, manager. Interested in FLOSS, Social Media, Social Networks & Rice Writing. Love SF&F books. Blessed with a loving wife & a curious kid. :)


  1. Congrats Prem on your excellent and thought provoking post and thanks for quoting my post on Old Spice campaign.

    IMHO, it is a Social CRM (and not PR or “Old Style” Marketing) campaign for the following reasons:

    1) This campaign is targeted at a very specific audience Old Spice wants to influence – note the content of the videos and style of execution. It is not targeted at general “Public”.

    2) It “Engages” the target audience and helps in building “Trust” and “Friendship” about the brand in their mind.

    3) You don’t need to “market” or “hard sell” to people who trust you or are your friend – and this is how Social CRM works. You engage your customers and prospects on Social Networks and build friendship, trust and loyalty.

    This is the reason why I have been saying all along that Social CRM is the business strategy of engaging customers through Social Media with goal of building trust and brand loyalty.

    It is different from advertising or “traditional” CRM (which is nothing more than record keeping and managing transactions) or “Old Style Mass Marketing” (which is non-personal and uses mass-media).

    Social CRM leverages Social Media to engage customers/prospects and helps build “personal” relationship (trust and loyalty) with customers and prospects across geographies in a way mass-marketing can never do (because you could not have responded to individual customers on the same channel via mass media). Note how Old Spice campaign effectively engaged the target audience by posting YouTube videos in response to tweets/facebook posting – they didn’t email or call people who tweeted. Instead, Old Spice engaged them through Social Media.

    Hope this helps, thanks again for your post and giving me the opportunity to explain.

    Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  2. Thanks a lot for commenting Harish and taking the pains to highlight the salient points of the old spice campaign & explaining why you think its a step above the traditional marketing &/or CRM. I do not refute those aspects.

    I only am not convinced that this is a holistic social CRM effort. That would have been something like what the Kimberly-Clark guys did with their female hygiene brand Kotex. You should read this excellent article on Destination CRM.

    You of course must also have read Wim Rampen’s post, since I saw a copy of the above comment pasted in his blog too. Which, IMHO, does a good job of explaining your own post, but does not address the points that we raise / want clarity on.


    Thinker, Tinker, Connector |

    Social CRM Evangelist @ Cognizant & an Intrapreneur

  3. Do Harish and Prem agree on the same definition of CRM though?

    It is amazing how widely stretched both the terms CRM and Social CRM get (mostly by vendors like me who are to blame probably.)

    Some might think of CRM as mere old style campaign management, i.e. segmenting your customer database and selecting the next-best marketing message to bring in front of each segment. In that sence you could consider Old Spice and advertising version of Social CRM.

    Others think of CRM as providing two-way value and going towards interactive marketing, i.e. every message is based on the past and current behavior of individuals. In this sense, the Old Spice campaign would not be social CRM.

    Unica and
    Multichannel Metrics blogger


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