As a big fan of choose-your-own-adventure books as a kid, I’m always a sucker for the technique when used online. So I was happy to play with Old Spice’s new Instagram campaign, which uses charming black-and-white illustration to invite users on a cosmic journey…
The campaign makes clever use of Instagram’s image tagging function to allow Instagrammers to navigate their way through the story. It opens on the image below, which offers the chance for users to ‘go toward light’ or ‘grab old spice’. Depending on the choice made you either meet with a swift demise or are allowed to venture further into the tale.
It’s difficult for advertisers to be charming on social media, but this playful approach by Old Spice (and its agency, Wieden + Kennedy Portland) does a good job of drawing users in. Aside from the ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ style, which is absorbing in itself, the brand delivers its campaign with a knowing wink, presuming its audience is savvy about marketing and online advertising, and happy to be in on the joke. If you grab the bottle of Old Spice at the start, for example, you are greeted with this next chapter:
And further in, there are more comedic moments at the expense of the ad industry. While I think the story would work without such in-jokes – after all, people are generally happy to engage with fun, entertaining advertising – they divert the attention from any overt selling that might be going on, a helpful trick on social media, where in-your-face marketing is usually deemed off-putting. Plus there are plenty of amusing, and occasionally gruesome endings to be discovered alongside the marketing gags, such as these two examples:
On the whole though, it’s all more of a prolonged gag than a real, in-depth adventure. But that’s okay. Join in the fun at Old Spice’s Instagram feed, @oldspice.