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Old Spice II, the "hybrid" agency model, bowling and greasy spoons at Cannes


It's one of the age-old questions of marketing: you've done a brilliant campaign, so what next? The same again, and reap the benefits of consistency? Or start over, and go for another step change?

Which I guess were considerations that have been on the minds of the Old Spice team. The first commercial was a cracker, and a real bolt from the blue: clever, fun, ironic and completely unexpected from such a tired old brand ...

So in light of success, it obviously made perfect sense to do the same again ...

And it's still pretty damned good. Nothing to be ashamed of here, let's be clear. But ...

It's just so hard to bottle magic. The "how did they do that" factor is gone, not just because they told us how they did it last time ... but because (pair of jeans aside), you can see the joins this time. The new film ticks all the right boxes (and is still way better than most ads out there), but doesn't really have the step-change impact of the original (and could never hope to).

And consolidation might well be the right business decision for Old Spice, when you've gone from zero to hero so swiftly.

I guess the niggling question is what if they had ditched the constraints of campaignability and done something as radically different again? What might that have achieved?

Easier said than done, obviously. And could have crashed and burned. But is the potential upside sometimes worth the risk?

Note: just for honesty's sake, I should point out I would have done exactly the same as Old Spice, and been very pleased with the results ... but you can ask the questions.



As expected, the launch (of True) was fairly manic. We had a pitch the day before and we've been fairly flat out since, but I thought I'd talk about it here briefly because I'm excited about it ...

Yes, it's a start-up. Yes, it's communications. Probably the easiest thing to call it would be an advertising agency, since we'll be producing advertising (just not limited to broadcast media or digital media). And, yes, the focus is on great planning, great creative and genuinely innovative ways to connect with consumers. But we're aiming to create a new model of agency. We're calling it a "hybrid" agency for want of a better word, because there's a few twists that make us different (or "hybrid") ...

Not just because we're fusing digital and advertising. We are, but that's not enough. You've got to do things differently if you want to be genuinely relevant to your audience. Today, consumers know more, share more and listen less. We've built a set of new tools that allow us to get closer to the customer through their digital behaviour.

Finally, we should mention WPP. We're still a start-up, majority owned by the founders, but their support adds resources and scale. That's a massive helping of "best of both worlds". And it gives us access to some very knowledgeable individuals and some very deep data stores.

It's early days - there's a lot to do and a lot to learn. But it's got purpose.



So yes, Cannes is a wonderful experience, and we felt very lucky to be at some of these places. But, while in a rose-tinted stupour, we began to wonder about the whole festival. It's about celebrating creativity. And yet, the events companies sometimes put on aren't that "original". Here are a few suggestions that would make Cannes even better.

1) Bowling alley-style shoe exchange at the beach parties. You could have this at places like the Shots party, where high-heels quickly become redundant in the sand, and are also the cause of many arse-over-tit embarrassments.

2) A company could host a pop-up greasy spoon on The Croisette and offer free big fry-up breakfasts to help people with their hangovers and line their stomachs. A spindly baguette and jam just doesn't quite do the job somehow. Especially not for ten stinky euros.

3) Free branded taxis. Most people get stuck up in villas and end up having to circumnavigate their way down the hills to get home again.

4) Going from a pool party to an evening party can be a bit tricky for the ladies, so the organisers could perhaps have make-up artists at the ready to show off their talents while also helping you get ready for the night. Then maybe you'll think kindly of them next time you're needing a make-up artist.

Lolly and Nat,