Polar Vortex and Old Spice Nightmares | This Week in Social Media

Happy New Year from Your Favorite Brands

The New Year and its associated resolutions is finally reached critical mass. A number of brands have launched New Year’s resolution-related campaigns to serve the ever-growing percentage of people looking to turn a new leaf in 2014. Subway added JanuANY to its line-up of $5 footlong months (which have previously included FebruANY and ANYtober) in an effort to help people choose healthier. Applebee’s released new meals geared towards healthy eating with corresponding TV ads and Fluency launched its own New Year promotion with THINaddictives to help fans snack smart in the New Year.

The #PolarVortex

The Polar Vortex which stretched from the Dakotas to the deep South caused dangerous temperatures, innumerable travel delays and a flurry of social media activity. For the week running Jan. 1-8, our social media tools found that more than 500,000 tweets included the hashtag #PolarVortex or mentioned the Polar Vortex phenomenon, while 35,000 photos were added to Instagram with some version of the #PolarVortex hashtag. The storm shut down schools, businesses and airports for days and was a major topic of conversation on social. Here’s to warmer, and safer, weather.

Old Spice Nightmare

Social media darlings, Old Spice previewed a new commercial during the first round of the NFL playoffs called Momsong. It’s a kaleidoscopic nightmare that plays on themes of helicopter parenting, and mommy issues with a dash of Oedipus. Mark Lisanti of Grantland.com sums it up thusly:

“Moms behind doors. Moms clinging to bumpers, kneeling in the basket of still-warm laundry they just did for you. Moms rising up beneath cafeteria tables to interrupt a tender moment … And worst of all, the thing you’ll never forget, the thing that will haunt you for the remainder of your now-wretched days; moms emerging prone from beneath the sofa cushions mid-makeout and carried across the room by an invisible phalanx of devil-ants, where she resumes knitting your death shroud.”

Disturbing? You bet. Effective? So far. More than three million YouTube views in the first five days with the word “Old Spice” tweeted over 50,000 times within 24 hours of the commercial airing. This isn’t Old Spice’s first foray into bizarre marketing. Their series of NFL ads have featured coaches diagramming alien abductions to their teams, while their Wolfdog series when Old Spice named a Wolfdog Director of Marketing) burned hot and bright just last year.

The ads only show the product for four seconds, but Old Spice’s strategy is clear: create interest, create buzz and give me nightmares. Mission accomplished.