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Old Spice Gives Surprise Super Bowl Trip to Guy Who Dialed Number in Ad

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An online news producer for short-form video creator Buzz:60, who by chance called the phone number that appears in a new Old Spice ad, has won two tickets to the Super Bowl, a room at a four-star hotel in Times Square and $500 cash in a sort of impromptu buzz builder for the Procter & Gamble Co. brand.

Old Spice never promised anything for calling
Old Spice never promised anything for calling
... but Scott Knowlton is now going to the Super Bowl
... but Scott Knowlton is now going to the Super Bowl

It all stems from a new ad for Old Spice hair-care products, released online earlier this week and set to run after, not during, the Big Game on Feb. 2. Buzz:60 producer Scott Knowlton said in a video report and a phone interview with Advertising Age that he called the number as he was looking into a possible story on Super Bowl ads.

The 30-second ad by Wieden & Kennedy shows the power of Old Spice products giving a man's hair a life of its own, including getting the phone number from a female co-worker during a meeting, which appears on a legal pad in the ad. Mr. Knowlton said he tried calling the number, originally thought he'd misdialed and hung up, then called back and was informed he'd won the prize.

The number featured in the ad now has rotating voicemail recordings from women, but no offer for free Super Bowl tickets or trips.

A spokeswoman for Old Spice said in an email that the brand "decided to surprise two guys who called the number in our new hair-care commercial with tickets to the Super Bowl, because when you get a lady's phone number, you call it." She said there were two winners and four tickets given away in all, though she didn't say who the other winner was.

But it all fits with a tradition, going back to the brand's first "Man Your Man Could Smell Like" Isaiah Mustafa ad in 2010, of trying to get buzz for new ads released during Super Bowl weekend without actually ponying up for Super Bowl media prices. Last year, for example, Old Spice did a spot buy in Alaska for an ad during the Super Bowl for a new line of body wash products.

Asked if he plans to go to the game, Mr. Knowlton said: "Absolutely. I live in New York, so that made it easy for them. They didn't have to fly me out."

Even though he lives in Brooklyn, he said he'll be "partaking" in the hotel stay as well. The prize also includes $500 in cash for "traveling around the city," he said. "I'm not complaining at all obviously."

Buzz:60 is owned by Zazoom, which creates video content syndicated through such partners as Yahoo and MSN.

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