Social and the Comeback Kings

PSONA Social - 06/03/2013 - 5 mins read - Archive

Many of us may be teetering on the edge of our seats in anticipation of new super-cool-awesome products such as the iPhone 5S or Playstation 4. However, who exactly fist-pumped the air at the release of the new, improved bottle of Fairy Liquid? That would be no one. Ever.

In terms of social, brands and their online presence can easily wane. Even a strong brand will find themselves with a thick layer of virtual dust pretty quickly if they fail to innovate or keep up with the times.

Boring brands have an even tougher time of it. Although it is easy to see why upcoming innovations such as Google Glass need very little pushing to get people drooling, liking, sharing and tweeting all over the shop, how do you achieve online glamorisation of a stationery line, loo roll or even a brand of milk?

But quite spectacularly, there are examples of dull, stagnant or near-forgotten brands that have achieved just that. From quirky humour and hilarious viral videos to the downright bizarre; the following innovative brands have said no to online boredom, went back to the drawing board and ran with the craziest idea to come out of the boardroom meeting. These are the reinvention stories of some of today’s most powerful brands.

Old Spice
This old favourite’s reinvention is arguably the most notable comeback story of them all. From its introduction in 1938, the brand quickly became known for its aftershave and cologne.


Silver fish hand catch!


However, by the 1980s its identity had become stale, and its products were only associated with older men. In stepped Procter & Gamble with a timely purchase of the brand and, more importantly, welcomed its saviour in the form of Isaiah Mustafa aka, ‘The Old Spice Guy’.

Relaunching with the bold statement – “If your grandfather hadn’t worn it, you wouldn’t exist”, its tongue-in-cheek humour was effortlessly persuasive and transformed the brand into a symbol of masculinity.

In 2010, Old Spice posted a whopping 180 YouTube videos from Isaiah (who describes himself as a ‘one ridiculously handsome man’), responding to fans’ questions. The videos attracted over 40m views and sales doubled as a result of the hilarious responses. With quotes such as; ‘I’m on a horse’ and “anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady”, they ensured that choruses of Old Spice anecdotes have become a fixture of pop-culture.


Nothing spells ‘YAWN’ more than the sentence ‘have you heard about the latest correction fluid?’ Tippex must have been scratching their heads for a while before it came up with the hugely successful ‘Hunter Shoots a Bear’ campaign.


The video, featured on YouTube displays a hunter caught in the dilemma of whether to shoot an approaching bear or not. Once the hunter overcomes this moral dilemma, he decides not to shoot the bear. The hunter then unexpectedly turns round and addresses the viewer directly, before reaching outside the confines of his video, grabbing the new ‘Pocket Mouse’ Tippex from one of the adverts at the side of the page. He amends the video to ‘A hunter ____ a bear’ therefore inviting users to ‘white’ and rewrite the story – a simple, but simply genius idea.


Once we suggest the action, the hunter is back, starring in a plethora of new videos with the bear where we see them unbelievably carrying out our command.

The compelling campaign did wonders for the brand. The video generated over 35 million views and sales increased 35% in 2011. We were encouraged to forage the recesses of our drawers to find an old bottle, then go and pick one up at the supermarket as that one had inevitably dried out.

The addictiveness to try and guess every possible variation of the video meant that before we were even aware, it was already lunch, and all we’d done that day is watch videos of a dancing, singing, hugging and even moonwalking bear.

Tippex reigns supreme for taking user engagement literally outside the box with this interactive gem.  


Upon removing one of the nation’s favourite chocolate bars from the shelves in 2003, Cadbury spurred a vehement Facebook campaign ‘Bring Back Wispa’. It gained so much backing that the brand was ‘persuaded’ to sharply restock their shelves. The clever campaign seemed to bring out the undying love of the chocolatey goodness from just about everyone in the country.

Most impressively, Iggy Pop was upstaged by the chocolate bar in front of the 100,000 strong Glastonbury crowd as two chocolate fans stormed the stage with a ‘Bring Back Wispa’ sign = Iggy Flop.


Brands are no-doubt becoming savvy to these kinds of strategies, therefore meaning the market for crazy ideas is even more crowded. This time next year I’m sure we will have seen campaigns even more, well, odd. Whatever the outcomes, whether it is dancing space pirates or create your own angry cat mash-up, we’ll all certainly be talking about them.  

From Community Executive Laura @YomegoSocial

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