Freak Week: Anatomy of an Ad

The marketing world has been all abuzz with results — whether debating brand lift for Old Spice or butt lifts from the billion-dollar “toning shoes” industry. The man of the hour was definitely “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” whose washboard abs have turned into concrete ROI for Old Spice and Wieden + Kennedy. In an internal case study video obtained by AdFreak, W+K rattles off a legion of stats from its recent body wash work. Most notably, it reiterated the fact that Old Spice body wash sales were up 107 percent over the past month, and the campaign’s total impressions were tallied at 1.4 billion. While there weren’t many hard sources cited to back up W+K’s figures, the agency probably isn’t off base when it describes the 186-video YouTube blitz for Old Spice as “the fastest growing and most popular interactive campaign in history.”

While some industry naysayers were still questioning the long-term effectiveness of Old Spice’s manly antics, Nike was raising its own doubts about another hot fad: butt-toning shoes. Instead of joining rivals Reebok and Sketchers in the race to create magic muscle-sculpting sneakers, it launched a campaign mocking the trend through print ads in women’s magazines. Sarcastically hailing its own Air Max Trainer as “The ultimate quick fix,” Nike brings us down to earth with the tagline, “This shoe works if you do.” Nike’s perspective earned applause from those who aren’t afraid to sweat on their way to a better bum. But with the toning-shoe segment expected to surpass $1 billion in sales this year, is Nike wisely skipping a silly fad or just missing out on buttloads of profit?

One brand that’s happy to admire your rear, no matter how diligently you’re working to improve it, is Old Navy. Crispin Porter + Bogusky has launched one of the clothing chain’s strangest apps ever: The Booty Reader. Just upload a pic of your posterior, and Old Navy will recommend the best blue jean cut for your physique. The site promises that “photos of your booty won’t be shared, dear.” Sorry guys, this one’s just for the ladies, though it’s hard to picture too many women being eager to send butt shots to the Web — especially to a creepy mannequin who says things like, “Your booty is speaking to me.”

For another anatomically based marketing decision the results of which are sure to be scrutinized, look no further than Saatchi & Saatchi’s decision to hire a copywriter based solely on a penis joke. The agency’s L.A. creative chief, Mike McKay, recently said he would award a $70,000-a-year writing job to the applicant who posted the best tweet. The winner was Jonathan Pelleg, who wrote this: “You have to be concise on Twitter. Like a circumcision, everything extra gets cut off whether you like it or not.” It’s hard to say what was more debated after Pelleg’s win-the decision to hire based on a tweet, or whether the tweet was even that funny.
Best of BrandFreak: Sony takes advantage of a Situation

It just wouldn’t be a good discussion of questionable investments with surprising results unless we mentioned Jersey Shore. With the debut of Season 2, Sony Pictures decided to put a substantial bet on Snooki and The Situation by grabbing up much of the ad time to promote its new releases. The gamble paid off big when the show drew 5.3 million viewers — a 300 percent increase from the debut of Season 1. Some brands were probably a bit reluctant to support a franchise riddled with negative stereotypes and laughable lifestyle decisions, but Sony Pictures partnered with the show to the point of even soliciting opinions from the reality stars on upcoming movies like The Other Guys. We tried to reach the cast for comment, but they were too busy tanning, hitting the gym and shopping for swimming pools filled with molten gold.