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June 12 2015

Media Pulse | Blazing a New Marketing Trail


This article was first published in the June edition of Media Pulse – Omnicom Media Group’s monthly highlights on relevant media insights, intelligence and trends.

How do you get 100 million video gamers to think about deodorant (insert “gamer” jokes herehere and here)? Start by infiltrating their turf.

The fresh-smellin’ folks at Old Spice did just that; becoming the first non-game content on The website, home to the largest video community for gamers, hosted three-day-long live-streaming event that mixed odd scenarios, user interaction and brand marketing. It’s basically a real-life version of Twitch Plays Pokemon, where the site’s users control gameplay. The result was something that barely smelled like a commercial for the new Old Spice Fresher Collection and engaged the site’s massive 13-to-34 year old (largely male) demo in a previously unexplored way.

The content is typical of Old Spice’s history of marketing goofiness (“Hello, ladies”).

Instead of streaming live video gameplay (as the site is super-popular for doing) it was home to the gamified, Old Spice Nature Adventure. The live event, featuring sports-style play-by-play and color commentary, ran about 10 hours a day and promised viewers they “control the action.“ Here, chat room users could interact with the Old Spice “Nature Man”—a camera-wearing, limit-pushing, nature freak—to control scenarios and give instructions (like shower an unsuspecting park ranger with ketchup or wrestle a grizzly bear* (*no real bears were harmed in the making of this game).

Over the course of the 3-day event, the content was live-streamed (kinda necessary for interaction, right?) and made available as recorded content. A map of the nature zone offered links to highlights, like “Nature Man finds the Pizza Tree”.

Sure, this might all sound like a colossal waste of a productive person’s time, but it’s also an example of how a site like Twitch can do marketing right: offering way more than just a quirky commercial that you could block or fast forward through. And because it’s not just a static, pre-produced video there is the “what could happen next” factor that keeps people watching. Plus, it’s totally entertaining—especially its demo. Besides, interactive, silly and buzz-worthy videos are what Twitch viewers respond best to when watching their favorite streamers.

And brands, like Old Spice, are hoping to have a similar effect.

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