Awareness Campaigns Get Sexy

“Sex sells”, or so the adage goes.

It seems to me that shortly after Old Spice launched their “Old Spice Guy” campaign in February of 2010, spots and moreover online advertising has shifted; More hunks, more babes and more views for everyone.

The Old Spice Guy campaign was undoubtably successful.  Product sales doubled and Old Spice’s YouTube channel has accumulated almost 250,000,000 views, not to mention dozens of industry awards. As one blogger put it,

The Old Spice Guy is perfect, obviously. Zero body fat, the supernatural ability to embody masculine ideals, and a baritone deadpan delivery that instantly unleashes awesome into the world.

For Proctor & Gamble, the manufacturer of Old Spice, the campaign was a home run.  It not only got them paid but re-energized a failing brand into one that younger generations could connect with. Not an easy task when competitors like Unilever’s AXE are prevailing.

After a year of review and the financials tallied, more cautious and the commonly less “sexy” sectors are taking notice. Enter the health industry.

Of course it wasn’t going to be health organizations taking the plunge into creating daring content first.  When you’re a non-profit and your funding comes from an established foundation, one doesn’t “rock the boat.” This rings especially true when world markets are in decline, donations begin to slow and your organization’s board of +20 members are best known for their red-tape.

Thankfully however, there are small non-profits that need a distinctly different voice, see the benefit in not banging the same old drum and have decided that they need to engage their audiences differently. And this is where creative gets exciting – it no longer hocks and pushes a product. Advertisers get to sleep well at night for shedding light on an important health issue and the organization’s staff get to feel as though they’re cool, hip and in-touch (more importantly) with their audience.  Especially when their spot goes to that wonderful place we call “viral”.

Here’s two recent sexy viral spots, that have caught my attention.

ReThink Breast Cancer’s Spot:

Male Cancer Awareness’ Spot:

My congratulations to these and other organizations who choose to be risky. Not just because we can all enjoy more bare skin, and a few laughs, but because not every PSA needs to be a gloomy reminder of our mortality.