Cisco Fails With Old Spice Copycat Campaign

Yesterday Cisco paid homage to Old Spice’s recent response campaign with their own YouTube response project, featuring ‘Ted From Accounting.’ Just like Old Spice, Cisco announced the campaign in the morning, asked people to send in tweets, and posted a number of personalized videos throughout the day. However, unlike with the Old Spice campaign, you probably had no idea anything out of the ordinary was going on yesterday. With a mere 2,750 views on 18 videos in the first 24 hours, the campaign paled in comparison to Old Spice’s 40 million plus views. So where did Cisco go wrong?

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Before we get into the specifics of how and why Cisco failed with their ‘Ted From Accounting’ campaign, let’s just take a quick look back at what happened yesterday, for those of you that missed it. Doug Webster, of Cisco Service Provider Marketing Team, posted a video in the morning explaining the concept behind the campaign. He says that Cisco was so impressed with Old Spice’s social media project that they wanted to use the same methods to promote their routers. Of course, the whole project was a bit tongue in cheek, as Cisco’s brand image is a far cry from that of Old Spice.

Viewers were then introduced to Ted as the video responses began. Cisco published a blog post about the project and asked readers to send tweets to the hashtag #CiscoSPice and look for responses from Ted. Cisco also tweeted about the campaign from several accounts– @CiscoSPMobility, @CiscoSPVideo, and @CiscoSP360. Later in the day, a clip called ‘Who is Ted from Accounting?’ was posted, made up of clips from the day’s videos.

In theory, this was a great idea. However, the low number of views and the low engagement rate on Twitter and the Cisco blog are a little embarrassing for this huge brand and have me wondering if the time they must have put into the campaign was even worth it. So what happened? I have a few thoughts.

Cisco Didn’t Set The Stage

For starters, who the heck is Ted from accounting? Why did Cisco wait until the day of the campaign to introduce him to us? Old Spice’s ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ had made his way to stardom months before the response campaign began. He was seen on television and viewed by millions on YouTube. If people don’t know who you are then they won’t care if you make a video response about them, plain and simple.
I have a feeling that over the coming days Cisco’s campaign will start to get more coverage and people will learn about who Ted from accounting is. Maybe if the company decides to stage another response campaign with Ted in a week or so they will get a little more of a following. But until people get to know Ted, who he is and what he’s about, this thing isn’t going to take off.

Cisco Didn’t Optimize Their Twitter Campaign

When Old Spice began their response campaign they ran the whole thing from a single Twitter account– @OldSpice. Fans were invited to tweet comments to this account and get updates and video links from this account. Throughout the day, thousands upon thousands of people found out about the campaign and began following the Old Spice Twitter account. Cisco missed out on all of this.
Cisco did not have an account for running this campaign. Rather, they promoted the campaign from three separate Cisco Twitter accounts and asked fans to tweet comments to a hashtag and not to an actual account. If they had created a CiscoSPice Twitter account then they could have engaged a lot more people. Each and every person who sent a Tweet to the campaign would be promoting it, providing a link for all of their followers to go to for more information, and while they were there they may have followed too, and even sent out a Tweet of their own. Additionally, the Cisco Twitter accounts being used to promote the campaign only have a total of just over 3,000 followers combined.