Shocking demonstration of influencer marketing from Volkswagen UK


We’ve all heard of influencer marketing, right? You find out who the key influencers are within your target market and use them as a vehicle to get to the people you are aiming at. Great in theory, but not many companies are really doing it right (if they are attempting it at all!).

To begin with, you need to understand the difference between an influencer and a brand advocate, as was expertly described by Aaron Lee recently in his iStrategy blog post. Whilst I don’t agree with his overall point that the brand advocate is ‘always’ more valuable (I think that really depends on how you interact with them – as per the Volkswagen example I will discuss later), his infographic does illustrate how each could be used, and where the strengths are in building on these relationships:

Influencers versus AdvocatesIn my experience, the real difference lies in how you choose to engage them. Writing a piece on how great your company or your product is and then farming out to the influencer – no matter how relevant their audience is – is not the best way to execute what could be a very valuable ongoing relationship. You need to work with them, understand their motivations and plans for the future. In the case of bloggers, what are their future plans for content and growth? What are they motivated by? Is it about volume of content, or about the quality and relevance? Just how influential are they really – are they interacting with their audience and really helping to steer people towards a solution?

In most cases influencers will be crying out for help with regards creating brilliant and relevant content – it’s not an easy thing to generate on a regular basis – and if you take the time to understand them and find out how you could fit in with their plans in a mutually beneficial way, you will end up with a much more effective influencer marketing strategy.

Having said all that, Volkswagen have just done something completely different with an influencer, but which I also think is great…… ūüôā

In the UK it seems that around 500k¬† people have accidents every year due to applying make-up whilst driving. Yes. It’s true – there are that many people desperate enough to top up their foundation and lipstick that they will do so whilst driving and therefore put themselves and others lives at risk! As part of their social responsibility charter (and no doubt secondary brand message around their own vehicle safety levels!) Volkswagen looked to where people who are most interested in make-up tips go – YouTube.

Working with NikkiTutorials, a young woman who has been offering video make-up tips for several years and has built up quite a following,  they filmed this great video which really brings the message home:

This is going to hit people who would not actively select a ‘warning video’ – arguably, just the people they needed to get the message to. Creating a video for their own YouTube channel just could not have done this.

Now, with my ‘Global Marketing’ hat on – think about how you could roll this type of strategy out internationally? Not an easy task!

Ariel Facebook campaign linked with an offline ‘squirt’


Saatchi & Saatchi came up with a fab idea for Proctor & Gambles latest Ariel Active campaign in Scandinavia recently. Running for a week between 29th August – 3rd September, they created a robot arm which could be powered via users on Facebook to squirt clothing with jam, chocolate, and other things which would usually be tough to wash out.

The whole thing was housed within a large glass container in the middle of the main train station in Stockholm. Anyone living in Norway, Sweden, Denmark or Finland was able to sign up via the dedicated Facebook page, in order to direct the robot arm. If they made a direct hit on any of the clothing, it was washed there and then and sent to them in order to prove that Ariel had removed the ‘stain’.

Although this campaign has obviously received a lot of PR due to its originality, it doesn’t look like it achieved much in the way of user commitment by way of ‘likes’ to their page. They should have perhaps considered including some incentives, such as money-off vouchers, as well as additional interactive content (this easily lends itself to an online game) in order to secure any extra ‘traffic’ it created, if this was their aim. They could certainly have made more of it on their website too. For something which could have had a ton of mileage, they don’t seem to have taken it past the first few hundred yards, which is a real shame.

This weeks digital campaign chatter #20


1. Dr Pepper – How do YOU drink Dr Pepper? (with deviantART)

Those of you familiar with deviantART will know it as a US founded peer-to-peer social network for roughly 18 million members, who upload and share their original artwork. Sift through the 80% of rubbish and you can usually find some real nuggets of artistic talent, ranging from the more traditional stuff, to films, digital, pixel and street art. So, where better for a brand who wants to be associated with being unique, fun and ‘different,’ to host a competition in order to crowdsource a mural design?

The contest ran over the summer, with the winner (above) recently being announced, and winning a trip to Brooklyn (USA) to see their mural for real, $3000, an iPad and some deviantART ‘perks’.

Over the three-week period 2105 entries were submitted, and entrants pushed their ideas via Facebook, Twitter etc. to the tune of around 15.9 million total impressions. Pretty good from a branding perspective for a relatively low-cost campaign! Also a great example of how going to where your target customers are already, as opposed to trying to create new online communities, is often the wisest route.

2. KLM – Live reply

I have said on several occasions how much I love how KLM have been using social platforms for marketing, branding, and customer services over the past couple of years. From their recent ‘design a tile’ campaign, to the ‘social experiment’ they did in 2010 which involved tracking down people who were tweeting whilst waiting for a KLM flight, and rewarding them before they boarded the flight with gifts, they just seem to understand the power of engagement and importance of understanding customers.

So, it’s nice to see that they are doing some ‘shouting out’ about their extraordinary knack of using social networks as effective customer service touch-points.¬† They already promise to reply to any message or tweet within an hour, but with their latest campaign, ‘live tweet’, they have taken things a step further!

Over the past couple of days they’ve replaced normal Facebook and Twitter responses with live video of 140 of their employees holding letters up and spelling out the responses! Not an easy task, but relatively cheap to do and a great PR stunt.

If you have not done so already, you should really check out their Facebook page for a perfect example of how brands SHOULD be using that platform as a customer service option. I really do love KLM!

3. Innocent – Tweet and Eat

The UK brand, Innocent, best known for their smoothies (and great marketing campaigns!), have developed a fab product launch idea, which incorporates Twitter and money-saving coupons available from their website.

The concept is simple but really nicely done. No doubt taking the lead from Groupon, and the power of the consumer, Innocent are offering money off their new Veg Pots, which will increase depending on how many people tweet about it using #tweetandeat: the more tweets, the bigger the discount. Simple genius!

You can sign up in order to be notified when the money off voucher is increased, and so stay a part of the campaign right the way through to the ‘free product’ option which they have set as the ultimate goal.

I would be really interested to see the figures on this campaign once it is complete. Is the cost of this approach worth it in respect of the amount of PR and WOM attention it gets, compared to the obvious losses incurred during product sales? Did they set a limit in order to keep control of the situation? Lots of questions around this approach, but at the end of the day, unless you try something like this you will never know the answers!

One thing they might want to consider if they are developing products outside of their usual smoothies however, is a change in their Twitter name: @innocentdrinks

This weeks digital campaign chatter #19


1. Coca Cola Israel – Summer LoveLove it or hate it, it’s interesting to see how the marketing world adapts to Facebook’s latest intrusions on their users private lives as they happen. This campaign by Publicis Israel for Coca Cola is a great example of making the most out of their new additions – although this ones not quite so new anymore!

A few weeks back Coke used a tie in with Face.com in order to help promote their run of concerts during a ‘Summer Love’ promotion. Party goers were able to log in to their Facebook accounts at special ‘pods’ using only their faces as identification. Think about how Facebooks facial recognition feature ‘suggests’¬†which of your friends¬†¬†to tag when you upload pictures these days – that’s basically the inspiration behind the idea.

As people needed to sign up for the event online anyway, they included the registration for this service in the process, making it quicker and easier to sign in once you were actually at the concert.

Why sign in to Facebook when you are at a concert you may ask?  To tell everyone how great the concert is and how fantabulous Coca Cola are of course! Nice.

2. Topshop РScvngr

In a bid to become the most digitally-savvy retailer in the UK, Topshop are at it again!  This time they have partnered with the successful US mobile gaming platform, Scvnger, in order to bring some fun and interaction opportunities to students as they head to/back to University.

Starting on 5th September, participants can download a bespoke Topshop/scvnger app which will allow them to take part in games and challenges in order to accumulate points and therefore win prizes. Tasks will include things like taking pictures of their favourite Topshop outfits, and finding items which match particular trends. Hopefully they will be using this product intelligence to feed future campaigns both online and offline – it would be a real shame if not!

Mary Homer, Topshop MD said:

Following the popularity of SCVNGR in the US we wanted to offer our student customers the ability to interact with our brand, on and off-line in a more fun and engaging way.

They’ve already planned for updated challenges to be launched in October with a view to keeping things fresh and interesting. Lets hope it works out for them. Certainly sounds like a great idea and a fun way to interact with customers. However, if you’ve got the posts left on Scvnger’s Facebook wall from irate business partners to go off,¬†Topshop are going to have to be careful how they manage that relationship!

For more info on scvngr, check out this interesting interview with 21yr old founder Seth Prebatsch:

3. Volkswagen – Bluemotion Roulette

This fantastic integrated campaign by Volkswagen Norway shows how cross-platform done well can drive engagement and value. In this case¬†Volkswagen wanted to emphasise the low fuel consumption of their new Golf Bluemotion car by making it less ‘abstract’ to consumers,¬†and creating a memorable campaign which would not only drill home their key message, but would do it in an interactive and engaging way.

They used a TV ad to let people know about a game of roulette whereby you could go online and guess where the car would run out of fuel whilst driving a specific route. The E6 road in Norway was split into car-length chunks using google maps that people could select from on the website, and the event could then be viewed live online as it happened. Of course, the person who guessed right got the car.

It turns out that people really did their research on the car in order to gain best advantage from their one and only guess, which is great! I love this campaign! I’m guessing that it could have worked really well without the costly TV slots also, although probably not have driven as many people to the game as quickly. It would be great to see them follow things up with some online only games or competitions perhaps? I also wonder if this will be taken up by other countries? (i.e. I want a go!!!)

Webby Website Winners 2011 Review


The 15th Annual International Webby Awards took place last Monday (13th) in New York. Here is a full (stupidly-long!) list of all the winners in the ‘website’ section, with some of my favourites pulled out. Warning – you may need to get yourself a cuppa before starting to read this! It’s always good to see examples of best practice though, even if you don’t always agree that they should have been in the list in the first place, so it’s worth taking some time to browse through.

Websites

  • Activism Redu – Creative Artists Agency

Subject matter aside – I prefered the Conservation International – Save a Mile website to Redu. Although, the International Rescue Committee (also nominated) seems to be doing the best job at using their homepage for strong calls-to-action which do not get lost in too much ‘noise’ (as is the case on most of the others!).

The idea of a digital museum which people can ‘visit’ and is kept alive and fresh with changing exhibitions, is a great one. Not sure that there is enough opportunity for ‘exploring’ available in this to help enhance the experience, but great nonetheless.

I really LOVE this campaign website by Subaru, so great to see that they have beaten Mercedes in this category! They built an entire, fun and engaging website around a ‘boring’ car, complete with lots of beige and brown, a build your own (boring) car tool, great videos, games and even a fake mission statement. Each page subtly offers you the opportunity to click to something ‘more interesting’ which leads you to the all-singing all-dancing Subaru website. A stark contrast to what you have just come from, making the Subaru brand offering seem all the more exciting.

The rapidly changing background of the Lego homepage gives the user a great introduction to the various products and characters, whilst keeping true to the brand values.

  • Best Navigation/Structure Hidden Heroes – Grimm Gallun Holtappels Werbeagentur GmbH & Co. KG
  • Best Practices Dropbox – Dropbox
  • Best use of animation or motion graphics Monet 2010 – Lets 84 and faberNovel

I touched on this whilst looking at the nominations when they were announced – Monet 2010 is a great website which is beautifully put together and gives a unique and innovative view of the work of the artist.

Another strong contender for this category was The Room by Armani, which features interactive video of either Christiano Ronaldo or Megan Fox (wearing not very much!). You can share snapshots from the video at any point with your social networks, and at the end you have the chance to click around the hotel room to discover more images, featured product info and competitions.

  • Best Visual Design – Function TED.com – TED
  • Blog – Business TechCrunch – AOL
  • Blog – Cultural The 99% – Behance
  • Blog – Political Truthdig – Truthdig
  • Celebrity/Fan Team Coco – Team Coco Digital
  • Charitable Organisations/Non-Profit Historypin – We Are What We Do

This is such a fantastic idea, and nicely executed too.

Strange to see OpenIDEO and Twitter in the same category, when they seem like totally different propositions to me?

The content on Nowness is wonderful, but I’m still a big fan of The Cool Hunter or Fubiz¬† (which is perhaps a bit more ‘art’) when it comes to keeping up with the latest trends. They were not even nominated!

The battle for bricks just got bigger…

A well deserved win, although to be fair they were already on to a winner having both Lego AND Star Wars to work with!

The brief for this website was to create something which would get the message across to French youth about their manipulation by tobacco companies. Recognising that France is the second largest market for Manga after Japan, they used a legend from this industry to create an amazing interactive experience. This has to be the most unusual anti-smoking message/campaign I have ever seen, but also the most beautiful and inspiring.

My favourite in this category, like the eventual winner, does not seem like a promo for an international film which would show in cinema and then eventually move onto DVD, but rather something which was made specifically for the digital medium – 127 Defining Moments enables you to watch and explore some spectacular and inspiring stories which have been submitted by others and put together in a beautiful interactive website.

I much preferred the Sounds of Pertussis website, which focuses on a fatal illness otherwise known as Whooping Cough in a bid to get more children vaccinated in the US. Great use of video and real life stories in order to create an impact, as well as being informative and easy to navigate.

It has to be said that I am not the biggest fan of Vimeo in the World, but I was genuinely quite sad that 1000memories didn’t win this category rather than one of the ‘bigger boys’, purely because I think it is such a lovely concept. Sharing memories, photographs, stories and video of a lost loved one in an online community space is something which people have been doing for years via Facebook anyway, but this tool makes it easier and much, much better!

LG Optimus have used an innovative way to share the best points of their phones, and show how they can help you with your day-to-day life.

Mobile Movement was the clear winner for me in this category, with their fresh approach to helping communities in less-developed parts of the World using mobile phones and community advice/feedback/donations/encouragement.

Phew! (takes a big breath). Right – got through that lot, now for a look at the other sections in the Webby Awards, including interactive advertising and mobile…….but not now! I think I’ll save those for another post!

Please share your thoughts on the various winners and losers – anyone not nominated who you think should have been included?

This weeks digital campaign chatter #14


Campaigns from Pedigree and Listerine this week, as well as the launch of the Orange Glastonbury 2011 app. Fun, fun, fun!

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1. Pedigree (New Zealand) – Doggelganger

Mars owned pet food brand, Pedigree, have launched a fantastic digital app and microsite this week for New Zealand as part of their Adoption Drive – a global initiative aimed at getting more people to adopt dogs from shelters. I say ‘app’ as opposed to campaign, as I am not sure if there is anything else around it. I’ve seen no evidence of it anywhere else online in the form of Facebook pages or advertising, but that’s not to say that it isn’t (hopefully) part of a bigger drive.

Working with the idea that people and their pets often look alike (allegedly!), the nicely designed application allows you to either use your webcam, or upload an image of yourself, which will then be matched with your doggy-double taken from a database of pooch-pics of dogs in shelters across New Zealand.

It seems I look like a Staffordshire bull terrier (not sure I’m happy about that!).

The idea itself is fantastic, but not new – The Shelter Pet Project in the US used the same ‘matching’ idea just a few months ago.

Truth is, this is such a fun thing to do! The 80’s sci-fi computer interface design (complete with computer voiceover effect) is quirky but relatively easy to use, and links you nicely into contact forms if you are genuinely interested in adopting as well as more information about the overall Adoption Drive.

What it doesn’t do, however, is allow you to share your results, and therefore the campaign, with any social tools? Very strange that they should omit such a fantastic opportunity to spread the message even more. There is also no sign of it on their main site homepage or even the Adoption Drive website for NZ too, which is a real shame – lots of opportunities to integrate it more with what they are doing elsewhere.

2. Listerine – Mouth vs Life

Listerine claim that they are the first to launch an ‘interactive’ You Tube video campaign with their latest Mouth vs Life promotion. Whilst I’m not so sure about that (I can think of a couple of others who have done a similar thing – Desperados for one), what they have created is quite good fun to watch and certainly gets their message across!

It’s nothing complicated – they have simply created a bunch of different small videos which display what the mouth goes through in different situations, such as when you chew, lick or eat things. The only difference is that the user can personalise it by selecting the scenarios which they want to see, and can view it in one video.

Not sure how ‘politically correct’ their choice of actors is……

It’s really nice to see a company thinking about how they could possibly do things a little differently with regards video and YouTube. HOWEVER, as with the Pedigree Doggelganger campaign, they have totally missed an opportunity by lack of integration into their other digital channels. No mention of it on their main website. No mention of it on Facebook. I’m guessing that online-offline campaign integration was also far from on their minds! What this shows is a lack of strategic thinking – another bolt-on campaign, which whilst it may help with their general messaging (use mouthwash – it kills germs and is good for your mouth!) does little to take into account a longer term digital strategy.

One other small point – it cuts off half the video if you’re using Firefox. Some basic browser testing needed perhaps?

3. Orange (UK) – Glastonbury 2011 App

For those of you brave enough to face the festival toilets this year and head to the biggest summer music event in the UK (and arguably, Europe), the free Glastonbury 2011 App by Orange is a MUST.

You can see that Orange have really thought things through, with options to plan which bands you are going to see, find out who is on ‘now and next’ at all the stages, keep up with the latest festival news, as well as generally just find out how to get to places you want to go to with a simple map!

There is a competition attached to the app also, offering you the chance to watch bands from backstage during the event. Nice touch. It seems that they will also have 3 all-important charging stations (‘chill and charge’) available at the event, otherwise they may as well have only covered the first day!

This all fits really nicely with their ‘Rockcorps’ CSR and ‘down with the kids’ brand messaging, and is available to download for all phone types from their own website as well as the usual suspects.

Oh, and good job on the launch video too!

Nike prioritise Facebook for their latest global campaign


Hats off to Nike for their latest global campaign – Chosen, which recently premiered on Facebook 3 days before TV (says a lot about the shift in priority). Not only do they demonstrate what you can really do with big video budgets – the result is GREAT! – they’ve also shown how to plan ahead effectively in order to get the best out of the content.

Their decision to target certain hard-core ‘extreme’ sports fans, who obviously live and breathe skateboarding/surfing/BMX/snowboarding and couldn’t care less about whats going on with any other sport, meant that they really had to target the content. Although the main ad (below) is a teaser for all sports combined, each area has its own dedicated video and behind-the-scenes video.¬† A great example of forward thinking and getting the most out of film crews, sets and stars (in this case, people who are awesome at each sport).

The long running competition takes in two seasons – summer and winter – to accommodate the various sports (not gonna get much ski action in the summer!), and calls for ‘crews’ to upload a video of themselves showing ‘their stuff’, in order to win a chance to ‘live like a pro’. Using the platform for what it does best, people can then share and vote for their favourite submissions.

Each prize is targeted to ensure that the take-up will be strong – and I’m sure it will! To be honest, watching some of the example video’s kinda makes me wish I had a crew of my own and the ability to stay on a surfboard for more that a nanosecond!

It’s interesting that the applicants need to select music from a pre-determined list of tracks rather than choose their own? Whether this has anything to do with pre-arranged ‘deals’ or strong brand guidelines, I’m not sure. Still, there are some quite good tunes to select from (in my opinion obviously).

So, to sum up, what’s great about this campaign?:

  • Amazing targeting of content
  • Forward thinking during production stage to get the most out of every content opportunity
  • Separate Facebook pages for each sport area, and in some case country specific ones too
  • Really strong and consistent branding throughout
  • Strong viral element – using Facebook simply (no fancy gadgetry), but for what it does best