Old Spice’s Muscle Music takes interactive Web advertising to a new level

By now you might be familiar with Old Spice’s advertising model: attractive muscle men prancing around your television screen winning at life, all because they don the scent of Old Spice products. Things are about to get much weirder now that former NFL and actor Terry Crews makes an appearance.

In Old Spice’s latest ad, users watch as Crews sit amongst musical instruments with wire sensors taped to various groups of muscles. Each twitch and flex he makes causes an instrument to strum, bang, toot, you name it, they will make noise. Eventually Crews begins a muscle dance, which results in a mind-blowing two-minute of wild music while he yells random string of words at the viewer. I didn’t even notice the paper mache resembling Crews’ head until it began blinking and screaming halfway through the “song.” Just see below to get an sense of the ridiculousness. Warning: Intense screaming ahead.


After you’ve been thoroughly confused, the video ends and starts up with a record button, promptly users to use their keyboards and make their own “muscle music.” If you don’t do anything for a prolonged bit of time, Crews starts to get impatient, and yells at you to “play the music or get out.” Hasty! How exactly this relates to Old Spice’s products, we don’t know, but aren’t you intrigued?

The crazy but oddly interesting interactive ad is a product of advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy Portland‘s collaboration with resident Old Spice commercial director Tom Kuntz. In an exclusive partnership with Vimeo, the team was able to design something never-before-seen in an online ad space that invites viewers to not only interact but participate on a curious level. The idea of sound and touch are often very innate; viewers can’t help but want to experiment with what keyboard buttons prompts the instruments to sound.

The complex ad is also no simple feat: to get the experience functioning, at least “150 moving parts” had to be programmed so users can play and record their own muscle music. This includes the Flash player required to play the advertisement in the first place, as well as the interactive player to register a user’s keyboard inputs.

“Our custom experience lives within the Vimeo player, allowing viewers to ‘play’ Terry Crews anywhere the experience is embedded — Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, etc. — without ever having to leave that site,” Mike Davidson, Senior Interactive Producer at W+K Portland tells Fast Co.Create. “The ‘Terry Player’ functionality is then attached to the end of each user-created video, making this a truly unique, customizable shared experience.”

The Old Spice Muscle Music commercial is certainly one-of-a-kind and unique to the online advertising space, so if other brands begin to follow suit, we can only imagine how this will next us to the next phrase of Web marketing. Who knows, maybe we’ll even come to want advertisements before content.

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