Josh Bourne ⬥ 26 September
Most observers probably consider Old Spice’s “Believe in Your Smellf” ad campaign to be a success. In the patented Old Spice tradition kicked off by the “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ads, these spots have driven buzz on social media and clocked millions of YouTube views. But if you consider the ad campaign from a domain policy perspective, there have been a number of missed opportunities to further capitalize on this buzz to drive consumer engagement.
The primary faux pas came on the part of Wieden+Kennedy, the ad agency behind the campaign. The agency owns the domains Smellf.com and BelieveInYourSmellf.com, but isn’t doing anything with them. Wieden+Kennedy clearly took the time to acquire the domains, but neither one resolves to a working website.
On the most popular social media sites, the agency doesn’t appear to own any handles related to “Believe in Your Smellf” or “Smellf.” The “Smellf” username across Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter is owned, closed, and suspended, respectively. “BelieveInYourSmellf” is too many characters to be a Twitter username, but is still available on both Facebook and YouTube.
Considering its pedigree and size, Old Spice’s parent company Proctor & Gamble should have a formal domain policy in place. The bottom line is that Proctor & Gamble should own the domains associated with its product’s ad campaign, and in this situation, they do not. A formal domain policy would help the company avoid situations like this, increase efficiency, and help Proctor & Gamble take all of the opportunities that this campaign presents. Should the company stop working with Wieden+Kennedy, it should make sure that it has the domain names in its own name.
Another issue is the non-use of the aforementioned domain names. Ideally, the sites would host content related to the “Believe in Your Smellf” campaign, but they should, at the very least, redirect to OldSpice.com. Social media pages should follow the same guidelines. YouTube.com/OldSpice is a popular, active channel, and if Proctor & Gamble doesn’t want to divert traffic from that page, it should simply redirect YouTube.com/Smellf, which comes up as a “closed” page.
All companies should have an established, formal domain policy to prevent situations like this one. In order to protect their trademarks and brand reputations, companies must ensure that they own all relevant domains. Otherwise, they are susceptible to both cybersquatting and missed opportunities for both consumer engagement and customer conversion.