What began as a clever marketing campaign has morphed into a viral web phenomenon, and the Old Spice Guy, Isaiah Mustafa, is milking it for all it’s worth. Mustafa’s clips on the Old Spice YouTube channel have racked up almost 55 million views, making it YouTube’s most viewed sponsored channel of all time. The Old Spice Guy, as he is known, is now taking viral web marketing to uncharted territory by uploading personal video responses to the bloggers, Twitter users and YouTubers who have commented on his clips. The shirtless towel-clad hunk with the baritone voice has even responded to random questions posed to him by Yahoo Answers users and created a thread on the Reddit link sharing site, answering queries there as well. Simon van Wyk, managing director of digital marketing agency Hothouse, said this was the first time he had seen this level of social media engagement in a marketing campaign. Mustafa has posted personalised video responses to everyone from Ellen Degeneres to Alyssa Milano to celebrity blogger Perez Hilton to even anonymous people on the internet. Dozens have been published so far with new clips going up every few minutes.
Tighter controls on the how Twitter accounts and Facebook profiles are used in company promotions are set to be introduced under new digital advertising restrictions partly designed to protect children. The Advertising Association, the industry body which represents the UK advertising and media industry, has agreed a set of proposals to tighten some digital advertising practices so that they are policed by the Advertising Standards Authority in the same way as TV, press, poster and radio ads. The ASA regulates all paid-for digital advertising, such as banners and display ads on websites, but so far does not police advertising activity on a company’s own website, a campaign microsite or the via profiles on sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. The recommendations still have to be accepted by the Committee for Advertising Practice, which is overhauling the non-broadcasting advertising code and will launch a consultation on the proposals. But with such broad industry consensus, it is thought that the new rules will come into force in the third quarter this year. The extension to the ad code will ensure that all online marketing will have to be responsible, legal, honest and truthful under the same regulations as, say, press and poster ads. The process to develop the new codes stalled last year when it emerged that Google was balking at being involved in the necessary extension of the funding and industry levy collection mechanism of the ASA. A deal was reached with Google and the search engine industry in November.
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