- Old Spice and Netflix have partnered on a line of deodorants and an ad campaign promoting the second season of the streamer's dark fantasy series "The Witcher," which premieres Dec. 17, according to news emailed to Marketing Dive. A new spot, titled "Ode to Smell," was co-funded and co-produced by the two companies.
- The ad features the councilman character from the show's first season leading a tavern full of peasants in a shanty-like song about how bad everything smells in the medieval-themed universe before they receive a grim prophecy from a mage. Old Spice is supporting the creative across cinema, online video and social channels, as well as through an integration with the Dungeons & Dragons livestreaming show "Critical Role."
- Old Spice is the first consumer packaged goods brand to create a custom promoted chatbot on Reddit: a R/SmellyBardBot emulating "The Witcher" comic-relief character Jaskier, a traveling bard. An AI Randomizer helps the bot deliver quips to users who interact with it, a tactic that might resonate on a platform known for fostering tight-knit fan communities.
Procter & Gamble's Old Spice and Netflix are applying a tongue-in-cheek approach to hyping up the return of the "The Witcher," which follows a mutant monster hunter named Geralt of Rivia, who tries to protect the gifted Princess Cirilla as the world slides further into turmoil.
The show, based on a popular series of Polish epic fantasy novels that, in turn, became a massive video game franchise, is violent and gritty in a manner akin to "Game of Thrones." It doesn't shy away from depicting the squalor of medieval life, a factor both brands are playing up with the "Ode to Smell" ad that depicts peasants puking at their own stench and an accompanying line of deodorants tied to "The Witcher."
"B.O., B.O., nothing we do will make it go," goes the song in the spot. "Old Spice does not yet exist, so everyone smells quite awful."
The collaboration offers six scents in total: three pleasant ones (Smell of Surprise, Yennefer's Underarm and Blaviken) and three that are less enjoyable on the olfactory front (Roach, Geralt's Bathwater and Kikimora Corpse). Fans interested in securing the products can visit a website page to complete trivia while supplies last. Those who miss out on the deodorants can still receive one of 1,000 "rub & sniff" trading cards, adding a collectibles aspect to the push.
To further stoke engagement, Old Spice is deploying a custom Reddit chatbot that tries to capture the quippy qualities of fan-favorite character Jaskier. As discussions around the series' second season start to pick up on the platform — an /r/witcher subreddit has more than 830,000 members — the Procter & Gamble line has the chance to insert itself into the conversation in a relevant way. The activation demonstrates one way brands can tap into Reddit's community as the site tries to build out marketing services beyond traditional ad placements. Reddit confidentially filed to go public Wednesday.
Netflix, which does not run ads, continues to seek out brand partnerships that can spread the word about its original properties and cater to their devotees. In October, the streamer teamed with Walmart to open an online shopping hub selling merchandise based on new and popular programming. The Netflix Hub has a dedicated page for gear related to "The Witcher."