Skip to content

Viral Video Campaign Case Study


Viral Video Pioneers Transforming Digital Advertising

Category: Made in Britain

Gone are the days of 'must-see TV' when everyone watched the same show on the same network, at the same time.

Now, with media, device, and platform proliferation, it is harder than ever for advertisers to locate their targets and capture attention amid the avalanche of content bombarding people throughout the day.

The 'Age of Interruption' is over and social video ­not anti­-social video ­is our mantra

This is a truly 'Unruly' digital environment and our technology helps brands navigate and succeed in a fast­-evolving media landscape. Unruly is the ad tech company that gets videos watched, tracked and shared. Our mission is to deliver the most awesome social video ads on the planet.

Our vision is to transform digital advertising. How do we do this? Our predictive evaluation software helps brands make videos that people actually want to watch and share. Our paid-media platform distributes videos using user­friendly formats that don’t interrupt people’s experience.

The 'Age of Interruption' is over and social video not anti-­social video is our mantra. Our formats are built to increase engagement between ads and viewers. With a unique data set of 2tn views, Unruly has found viewers who experience an intense emotional response to an ad are much more likely to buy the product.

This is the insight behind our launch of the ad industry’s first emotional targeting capability, which identifies and programmatically targets the people most likely to have an emotional reaction to an ad. This is a new frontier in digital advertising and Unruly is blazing the trail. Consumers have more choice than ever when it comes to consuming video content.

If advertisers cannot serve ads to viewers on their own terms, viewers will skip or opt­ out of watching their ad. Unruly has the world’s largest dataset on video-sharing behaviour and we apply this data (as well as learnings from our 14,000-plus campaign ­history) to help brands launch video ad campaigns on sites and in players that create a good user experience.

We have analysed contagious content and are able to help advertisers make ads that viewers actually want to watch, and not skip. Unruly’s mission is to deliver the most awesome social video campaigns on the planet. To encourage sharing and engagement for our customers, we make it as seamless as possible for people to share and interact with brand content in user-­initiated social players.

Our dataset provides the framework for top advertisers around the world to make 'contagious' videos that make people stop what they’re doing and share ads with their friends. Over the years, we’ve built the world’s first end-to-end video marketing platform giving advertisers and their agencies a fully ­formed, data­driven tool to optimise video performance at every step of the campaign process.

Michael Roberts at Carat noted that Unruly helped drive sales and was "...delighted to work with Unruly…converting viewers to customers with a 16.24% on the ‘Buy Now’ button". In recent months we’ve been focusing on emotional advertising to help advertisers build relationships with their target audiences.

Research shows that emotional campaigns are 88% more profitable than rational ones (Peter Field, 2011) and our own research has shown that 70% of viewers who experienced an intense emotional response to an ad were very likely to buy the product.

This year, we’ve taken it up a level by developing emotional targeting capabilities to launch videos to the audiences that have the most significant emotional response to a unique piece of video creative. The results have shown a 15% increase in video-completion rates, as well as double- to triple­-digit uplifts in brand favorability and purchase intent.

Global demand for these products continues to grow and Unruly now makes our technology available on a global scale, via our 15 offices in APAC, North America and EMEA.

The various markets have different online advertising concerns, and Unruly partners third parties to track audience, viewability and brand safety verification across the globe (including Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings, Moat and Integral Ad Science), as different territories require.

We’ve even built product extensions around this, offering 100% validated audience pricing options, for example, so advertisers are able to pay for campaigns based on what is most valuable to them.

Unruly works with 84% of Ad Age’s top 100 and have strong relationships with key accounts such as Unilever, P&G, BP and Reebok.

Our growth has been publicly noted and Unruly has been listed as as one of the fastest-growing digital companies by the Debrett’s 500 list, as one of Business Insider’s hottest pre­-IPO companies this May and was recently named the second-fastest­-growing UK tech company (Deloitte Tech Fast 50).

We’ve built our brand with fixed "Social Video Lab" installations in London, New York and Hamburg, and mobile labs to take on the road, featuring interactive touchscreens, representing data for success at every stage of a video campaign. The Lab was the first in the world when it launched in London in 2012 and now has a global presence.

We’ve also built a strong presence with local press in England, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Dubai and the US and have appeared on event stages throughout Europe, North America, Australia and Southeast Asia.

Over the past 18 months, Unruly has helped set a Guinness World Record for Dove’s 'Real Beauty Sketches', which won the Grand Prix Titanium Award at Cannes Lions 2014, and is the most-viewed ad of all time and the fourth-most-shared ad of all time.

It was also a privilege to deliver multi­-award-­winning campaigns, such as Three #Singitkitty, Castrol’s 'Footkhana', one of the most-shared ads of the 2014 World Cup, Mercedes 'Chicken', the most-shared ad in Germany of 2013, and Reebok’s 'Be More Human' Super Bowl campaign.

Our executive team has members in each of our key territories and we will continue to evolve to meet local and global market needs.

About Old Spice

OLD SPICE – is a leading American brand of grooming products for males. Procter & Gamble acquired the brand in 1990 from Shulton, Inc., which was the original producer of Old Spice. After its acquisition, Proctor & Gamble constantly made efforts to change the brand’s earlier image of ‘a product your grandfather would use’ to ‘a product for the youth’ by targeting men with the age group of 17-35.

Business Objectives:

Brands like AXE & DOVE were quite popular as compared to the relatively outdated Old Spice. In order to increase their market share and sales in this highly competitive environment, they needed to create a buzz.

When it comes to advertising, Old Spice seems to have done everything right when they brought in the ad agency Wieden+Kennedy. They revamped the entire brand image to appeal more audience. Also, despite the product’s target market being male, as a part of their marketing strategy they wanted to target females, as according to them its women who often make purchasing decisions in respect of hygiene products even for male household members.

Strategy Adopted 

In February 2010 they came out with their campaign commercial ‘the man your man could smell like’ that featured former NLF star Isaiah Mustafa as the “Old Spice Guy” who can be seen addressing the viewers in prompt monologues which promoted the advantages of using the brand’s products. While reciting the monologues the Old Spice Guy does various extraordinary activities and yet maintains an eye contact with the camera. This commercial was funny, unique and grabbed the attention of the viewers.

Another campaign “Questions,” was launched in early June 2010, which again got good reviews from consumers and industry experts.  By this time the Old Spice Guy had become very popular among the masses.

To further build buzz, they launched a Response campaign where Old Spice invited consumers to submit questions via social media channels like Twitter and Facebook that were to be answered personally by the Old Spice Guy.

Questions were sent by more than 2,000 people and within the short span of 48-hour about 200 personalized video responses were created and posted to YouTube. The “response” videos have been viewed more than 46 million times making it one of the fastest growing and most popular campaigns in history.

Result Achieved:

Below is the result of the continuous marketing campaign:

The Response Campaign generated nearly 5.9 million YouTube views in the first day alone which is more than what Obama’s victory speech had achieved in its first 24 hours. This number grew to over 40 million by the end of the week. During this same period their Facebook fans rose 800 percent—from 500,000 to 800,000 while Twitter followers increased by 2,700. Meanwhile Subscribers to the brand’s YouTube channel increased from 65,000 to 150,000 which is more than double.

The launch of “Smell Like a Man, Man” ad led to an incredible rise in sale. And the Response Campaign grew the brand even further. Sales were up 125 percent year on year by the end of July 2010. Old Spice had become the top-selling brand of body wash for men in the United States by the end of 2010. Also, brand’s website traffic increased by 300 percent .Today, Old Spice remains the number one brand channel on YouTube.

The company has also done an amazing job creating social media buzz through Facebook by frequent online promotions and status updates for keeping the audience engaged, resulting in average 1,000-2,000 “Likes” on every new update.

Today, when it comes to online marketing, Old Spice is at the top of the ladder by using web analytics to collect data and to increase their customer experience.


Lessons learned from their marketing campaign:

Generally internet users ditch lengthy online videos. If you have to post a video on Youtube make sure that it is not too long. Old Spice ensured that their videos were snappy and not more than one minute long.

  • Let your presence be felt everywhere

Marketing on varied multi-media channels using social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube ensures high number of target audience is reached and distribution is widespread. By creating and sharing ads on online channels such as Youtube you get to reach out to a larger number of crowds unlike the traditional offline videos.

  • Build connection by getting personalized

Interact with the audience to keep them engaged and build a relationship. The marketing team of Old Spice responded to tweets with 116 Youtube videos and the audience was amazed with the real time responses. Further those who were lucky to get response from the Old Spice Guy, wrote about it on other social media networks. Hence again brand got promoted online by the user.

Marketing strategy used by Old Spice was absolutely creative and genius. Who could have thought that a male grooming brand would successfully create a large fan base amongst the female viewers? This is simple yet unconventional approach towards creating a wider audience. 

Image Credits: Old Spice