redpepper Reacts: Jeep vs. Old Spice

Our two cents on repurposed content campaigns

Repurposing content is a great way to navigate remote production. Recently, Jeep and Old Spice have both launched digital campaigns by recycling past video spots in order to encourage social distancing. Jeep added new messaging to clips from their popular Groundhog Day Super Bowl Ad featuring Bill Murray, while Old Spice went farther back in the archives, redubbing Terry Crews commercials from years back. Here’s what our experts have to say about these two campaigns:

Jeep—so close! Obviously, it’s a smart extension of their Bowl spot, and the execution with Bill Murray just staying in bed was dead on. Where it lost me was the end shot of the Jeep cresting a ridge. Suddenly we’re back to business as usual. If they would have simply used a shot of the Jeep parked it would have underscored rather than undermined their message. And don’t get me started on their spot equating not being able to drive your Jeep with being incarcerated.

Old Spice—okay, it’s a nice safety, not selling, message. Repurposed creative, so no birds were put at risk. And while some may say we don’t need Old Spice to weigh in, others will say their audience may not be closely following the news. But it’s a little too close to real. Where’s the full-on kung fu movie dubbing where his mouth keeps moving for 5 seconds after the VO ends? Pushing the execution a little could have made it pop more—and would have gotten rid of all those comments about how it’s just a bad edit.

Karla Jackson, Associate Creative Director 

The Jeep post was clever, but the transition from the movie reference to driving on the trail in a Jeep didn’t feel seamless to me. The Old Spice post made me laugh, which sets it apart from most of the ads I’ve seen lately. It also seemed very on-brand, while not really saying anything about the brand and encouraging people to listen to healthcare professionals to stay safe. I thought both were clever and tap into the sentiment of the current times, but I watched the Jeep post once while I watched the Old Spice post three times.

Cat Garnett, Sr. Insights Strategist

In these times of uncertainty, repurposing existing footage is one of the best ways to generate new content. It keeps your message fresh and relevant while also managing production costs and the safety of our production teams. That said, I think Jeep’s approach was hands down the better of the two. The series is a joy to watch, conveys the simple message of the importance of staying home all while inviting the viewer in to be part of something bigger. 

Old Spice’s approach just didn’t land for me. You can tell they tried to bring the humor, but the intensity and “yelling” were just off-putting to me. I know this was Old Spice’s thing several years ago, but there is little connection to their recent work and just feels like a missed opportunity when the message of washing your hands and staying inside is so important right now. 

Matt Weber, Producer/Production Manager     

Both of these gave me that nice little nose puff laugh. Personally, I think both campaigns are a great way to continue to stay top of mind for folks. They acknowledge the moment, take something we’re already familiar with and then add a nice spin to it. Jeep looks to inspire and provide hope, Old Spice provides a funny spin on the things that everyone else is telling us. Overall, both look to increase brand awareness and public perception, all while building an audience that they can later retarget with their products when the time is right.

Taylor McFerran, Marketing Strategist

I’m sure Bill Murray wasn’t cheap so use what you’ve got! Even if you didn’t see the Super Bowl ad, this still plays very well. It recognizes the endless uncertainty we’re all feeling with a nostalgic movie many of us recognize. Some brands are in a difficult spot right now, asking their customers to use less of their product or don’t use it all, as is the case with Jeep. This ad is really speaking to current customers, not asking potential customers to buy a Jeep at a safe social distance (and actually it’s kind of nice). Jeep realizes their brand loyalty, heck their drivers have their own special wave. So it’s not surprising they’re creating ads aimed at current drivers, even if the message is please don’t drive a Jeep right now.

I’ll be honest, I had no idea Terry Crews did Old Spice commercials, but I’m also not their target demographic. Just because you can make a COVID-19 social distancing ad doesn’t mean you should…or at least find a better way to do it.

Katie Delaune, Copy & Content Writer

The power in the Jeep campaign pivot is in its subversion of the previous messaging. They encourage the exact opposite of the Super Bowl campaign’s individualistic call to go out and seek adventure by directing viewers to stay inside. Sharp editing and punchy, insightful copy make executions that feel like a new campaign. That feeling is underlined with the brilliant #StayOffTheRoad hashtag—meant to be taken both ways. It’s always powerful and memorable when a company markets against its business interests for a greater good. But the layers of meaning, brand authenticity, nostalgia, and hope baked into these new executions puts this work somewhere near perfection—really into some uncharted territory. Which, I suppose, is also very on-brand for Jeep.

The Old Spice executions are good enough—they certainly continue to build the brand’s standing as equal parts confident and irreverent. And their comedic value does provide a real service in these dark times. But for me, that’s where the power of this campaign pivot begins and ends. There’s no direct connection between the cultural moment and the product. (Although maybe that makes sense for Old Spice, which hasn’t been about their product in a very, very long time.) I mean, are people taking the same care with their personal hygiene right now as they did before? (Er, don’t answer that.) Out of any personal care brand, it really could’ve said something powerful and funny in its iconic voice, but instead, it chose silence.

Jen Williams, Group Account Director

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