Are you experienced?

Old Spice Experience Lineup
Remember old Spice? You must, surely...? Or maybe you are too young and it is just old codgers like me who recall the commercials with images of crashing waves and manly, jutting chins? Or the one from America that suggests you should wear it because that's what women like?

Well, things have changed for Old Spice. It got, well..., old. So the clever marketing brains at Proctor & Gamble have relaunched and repositioned it for us.

Somewhere in the archive of the ThoughtSpurs blog I posted a video clip of the old Spice introduction to their new site, touting the theme of 'Experience'. The script is:

If you have it, you don’t need it.
If you need it, you don’t have it
If you have it, you need more of it
If you have more of it, you don’t need less of it
You need it to get it
And you certainly need it to get more of it
But if you don’t already have any of it to begin with
You can’t get any of it to get started
Which means you really have no idea how to get it in the first place, do you?
You can share it, sure...
You can even stock pile it if you’d like
But you can’t fake it
Wanting it, needing it, wishing for it
The point is…if you’ve never had any of it…
People just seem to know

The site contains an elaborate three act play on the theme: a test - how experienced are you? The experience 'Cliff's Notes' (which kind of contradicts the idea that you can't fake it) and a blog with contributions by editors in various men's magazine staple categories such as cars, grooming, music etc...

In the music section I found the following which stirred a moment of national pride:

The Black Seeds – Into The Dojo
Next stop, New Zealand and the home of the new Reggae!? Yes, I will be the first to admit that most contemporary reggae really just well… sucks. Sorry Mr. Yahoo. It took some Kiwis to bring back a dynamic, roots-rock-reggae sound. Finally you have something else to put on the record player during those lazy Sundays besides Bob Marley and Sublime. The Black Seeds have really found their groove on Into the Dojo, their third album. Just the right mix of jamming and restraint make this entire album truly wicked.

I don't know why I find that stirring. I am not a great fan of reggae. It is just part of the curious kiwi neurosis, we like to imaging the world is watching - when, in fact, more of the world is likely to be watching Spongebob Sqaurepants at any given moment in time. Maybe the most ardent expression of this phenomenon is the Edge website which meticulously keeps cuttings of world media sightings of New Zealanders.

The concept of experience in marketing is probably the most powerful emerging idea of the moment. It has replaced the notion of integration which, if I recall correctly was big in the nineties. The interesting thing in the Old Spice take on experience is that it still relies on the 'smartest guy in the room' philosophy. The editors, curators and copywriters assume the mantle of 'most experienced' and arbiter, rather than embracing an open source community model. I am sure the collective experience of the mob would be infinitely more interesting and authentic than the wry, ironic musings of the site. In fact, having only achieved 90 percent in their test and earning the red badge of nearly experienced I experienced a feeling of having been gipped.


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