You can read that post for more detail on what Rocket Ship Marketing is. In this post I want to point out how what Wieden + Kennedy did fits in with the Rocket Ship idea.
1. They made over a hundred videos. Instead of one big Rocket Ship, or one big idea, they did hundreds of mini rockets. These are cheaper, fail faster and uncontrollable; therefore they were able to spread out and find their niches.
2. More videos makes for less risk. Some worked better than others but since none of them individually required a big investment it didn’t matter. All of these niches in the long tail together were enough to be equivalent to being a big budget hit but without the risk of just being one idea by itself.
3. The Old Spice ads are very personalized, made to individual people. Instead of making something that tries to target as many people as possible (one big Rocket Ship), which makes for bland and unremarkable ads, they were hyper-targeted and super relevant (many small Rocket Ships). When the intended recipients received these messages they let everyone know about it. That’s what relevant targeting does. It’s not perfect for everyone but for those who it is perfect for, it delights them and it spreads.
4. They gave up control. According to the article on Read Write Web, “Proctor & Gamble exhibited incredible bravery in allowing his team to write marketing content in real time, with little to no supervision.” Usually the brand wants to own the message and all appendages to it. But in the Old Spice case, they let go and allowed people to comment, re-send and participate with it. This can be scary (what if it backfires and gives the brand a black eye?) but at the same time its the only way to let multiple ideas go out, be discovered and send back what they find.
With cost of production going down thanks to improved technology and the increasing ability to target very specific audiences, I think this model makes a lot of sense: 1. Make a bunch of mini-rockets each with a specific message for a specific group. 2. Fire all the rockets at once. 3. A few rockets are bound to miss but don’t worry, you’ll quickly find out which ones suck and you’ll be happy you didn’t invest everything into that one idea 4. Measure the results and discover which good ideas are spreading. 5. Give more money to the good ones that work and less to the bad ones that don’t. 6. Repeat.