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Old Spice muscles in on personal care with interactive game

Old Spice, known for its offbeat mobile video, is leveraging an interactive game on both the mobile Web and YouTube with the appeal of pitchman Terry Crews ? and his muscles, in particular ? to support its body washes and body sprays. 

Old Spice Muscle Surprise, viewable at and as part of a YouTube spot, allows users to explore different parts of the former National Football League player?s chiseled body via bizarre storylines playing out in Mr. Crews? biceps, abdominals and pectorals. The campaign shows how personal care brands, initially slow to board the mobile bandwagon, have stepped up their tapping of mobile to engage consumers, particularly the younger demographic.

"The brand has been known to be unique and push the limits with its advertising," said Dirk Rients, founder and CEO of Mobile Ventures. "I'm just not sure how much engagement they will see on mobile."
Starting countdown
When the user clicks on Mr. Crews? muscles, a 20-second countdown visible on the screen begins. Clicking on each defined section of Mr. Crews? torso triggers a parade of characters, tableaux and other items that in the narrative are threatening Mr. Crews? body. 

The characters are based on Mr. Crews, including Doctor Terry and Mama Terry, Villain Terry and Body Building Terry.  Other activity in Mr. Crews? muscles includes lasers, robots and even a tiger.

Adding muscle via mobile to a personal care brand.

?There?s a villain on the loose,? Mr. Crews tells the game player. ?Find him before he destroys my body because I?m still using it.?

For instance, clicking on a section of Mr. Crews? bicep takes the viewer to an image of a staid living room sofa, grandfather clock and staircase. There is an explosion. A headline says: ?You found a dangerous item ? Shake to restart.?

Shaking the phone shows a close-up of Mr. Crews? side body. Clicking on a section of his abdominals shows a police car propelled upward by an explosion.

At another moment, pressing on a section of Mr. Crews? midriff shows a wiggling Old Spice can. 

Old Spice Muscle Surprise is the latest in a line of digital activations created by parent Procter & Gamble, which has been trying to shake Old Spice?s image as an ?old man?s brand.?

Videos have included Old Spice Muscle Music with Terry Crews, Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks to Save the World and Old Spice Nature Adventure.

The game is the payoff for watching a 30-second Old Spice Muscle Surprise video on YouTube that ends with a call to the viewer to go to the Web to see the activation.

The video begins with Mr. Crews crashing into a bathroom wall in an Old Spice rocket. 

In the video, a shirtless, buff Mr. Crews looks directly at the viewer and bellows that his body is so powerful he needs to use Old Spice products to cover his powerful body, powerfully.

Displaying each product for the viewer?s edification, he says he uses Old Spice body spray on his chest and Old Spice body wash on the rest of his body.

He then flexes his arm muscles. Animated doors on parts of his upper body open. 

The video ends by calling to viewers to click through to the interactive Muscle Surprise experience on the mobile Web.

Old Spice campaigns aim at the brand?s video game loving audience.

In February, Old Spice unveiled a campaign for its nature-themed body spray and deodorant, Fresher Collection. A video described how using Old Spice Fresher Collection brings one closer to nature. It included the placing of a vending machine in New York?s Grand Central Station that dispensed prizes in exchange for nature items.

Missing opportunity
While consumers are increasingly engaging with personal care brands via their mobile devices, many marketers have not fully taken advantage of the opportunity in mobile.

?Old Spice would be better off promoting the benefits of their new, innovative and first-in-category Re-fresh Technology,? Mr. Rients said.  

?In a very crowded category I'm not sure how this interactive experience will increase sales.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York