Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What Can Palliative Medicine Learn from the Old Spice man?

And now for a little talk about six-pack abs...(not mine)

I am sure most of you have heard of if not seen the Old Spice Man (aka Isaiah Mustafa) and the sarcastic send up of all things macho.  The first one aired during the Super Bowl and was considered a marketing success with a strong post-Super Bowl viral spread. [For email subscribers, click here to go to the post on the web to see all the videos in this post]



Well the even larger success in this marketing campaign occurred this past week, when for 24 hours the Old Spice man (along with a team of writers) answered questions posted to him on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.  This 24 hour campaign netted nearly 6 million views, 22,000 comments and that was in the first 48 hours.  Countless stories have been written and shared about this success.  And thanks to Earl Quijada (@Equijada) on Twitter I found out he even answered an age old question: "Can You Die?"

So what can a serious discipline like ours learn from this? I guess one initial thing is that it doesn't hurt to have an attractive, fit, shirtless man talking about your product/service. But I don't think any of us will be volunteering for that duty soon.

What is important about this type of marketing is that it engaged people by daring them to ask questions and then giving personal responses back, which those people were likely to share. We have a ton of experts in our field, couldn't we spend a weekend together with 5 or 6 on-air personalities and a team of 5-10 writers, a video/audio crew and post a ton of content about hospice and palliative medicine? It wouldn't have to be full of the campy faux-machismo, snarky grin attitude which Old Spice is using to sway the younger market, but we could have some fun with it. Look what a BYU library did as a parody of the Old Spice ad:


How does this commercial or other commercials/marketing inspire you to promote palliative care? Maybe take a look at the original text from the first Old Spice ad:

“Hello, ladies, look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me, but if he stopped using ladies scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me. Look down, back up, where are you? You’re on a boat with the man your man could smell like. What’s in your hand, back at me. I have it, it’s an oyster with two tickets to that thing you love. Look again, the tickets are now diamonds. Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady. I’m on a horse.” [Smell like a man, man. Old Spice]
How could you change this to reflect palliative medicine?

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