Old Spice got up in Taco Bell’s face recently on Twitter, only to be taken down by the fast-food company’s saucy reply. At least, that was the initial story in the social media marketing blogosphere and in some mainstream media reporting.
But oh, how quickly we all forget: it was just two years ago that Old Spice wrote a very successful chapter in the viral marketing handbook with its customized video responses to social media questions from consumers and celebrities. And earlier this year, we sang the praises of Taco Bell’s social media strategy.
Both companies are clearly comfortable on Twitter, and their tweet war was simply an effective lesson for all businesses in how to use humor and appear human in their social media – all in 140 characters or less.
The story so far: on July 9th, the people running Old Spice’s Twitter account – known for absurdist humor that plays off the “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” meme – issued this tweet: “Why is it that ‘fire sauce’ isn’t made with any real fire? Seems like false advertising.” Taco Bell’s tweeted response? “@OldSpice Is your deodorant made with really old spices?”
The exchanged was retweeted, blogged about, screencaptured and generally talked about for the rest of the week; mission accomplished for both marketing teams. We think this screen capture/thumbnail tells the full story well: Taco Bell is also exploiting technology in its marketing in other ways. The company’s use of chef Lorena Garcia and her new Cantina Bowl offering is the subject of a QR code where the “pixels” are made up of tiny lemons and avocados. This MediaPost story has the details.
It’s clear that both Old Spice and Taco Bell know their audiences, stayed consistent with their humor strategies and are willing to explore new storytelling tactics. Extra points go to Taco Bell for its tasty response, but we think Old Spice still comes off smelling pretty good with its social media marketing.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in our Comments section about how Old Spice and Taco Bell are using Twitter and what you think the lessons are for small/midsize businesses.
Yes - great example of brands taking advantage of each other's weight to create some fun social media fodder.
This was a great way for both brands to get attention. They aren't competing with one another since they offer completely different products. Since they both have respectable followings it was a good way to cross promote.