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…… 🙂

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!

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11.11.11: World Remembers using Twitter


This year saw the launch of the World’s first Twitter remembrance service.

Marking the momentous 11.11.11 date, several countries – including the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, are doing more than ever before to help everyone remember those brave souls who lost their lives and fought for the life and freedom we have now. As Twitter has proved an instrumental tool for the ‘Freedom of Speech’ over the past few years, it seems even more fitting to make it central to the event.

In the UK, a group organised the first ever Twitter remembrance service of its kind via @poppy_tweet, with a feed that featured readings, prayers, hymns and music (linked to YouTube). The main activity took place on the 11th, but also on the following Sunday, and largely took on a religious slant (as it was led by The Methodist Church).

As a non-religious person myself, I am wondering if that is why it had so few followers (around 1600 at the time of writing)? I totally respect everyone’s right to worship, but remembrance day is not about religion in my mind, it is about recognition, thanks and reflection. However, something which raises awareness, recognises the main social tools of today, and helps to encourage donations for charities such as The British Legion, cannot be a bad thing.

Elsewhere on Twitter, the #2minutesilence hashtag encouraged people to silence themselves on Twitter and Facebook during this time in a mark of respect, and was retweeted by thousands. In Canada they launched a @wearethedead Twitter account on the 11th which began listing all those who had lost their lives during battle and will take 13 years in total to complete, posting 1 name per hour. Really makes you think doesn’t it……

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 #15


Some great campaigns from KLM, Perrier and Ballantines this week – all including user participation and interaction in interesting ways…..

1. KLM – Tile & Inspire

This week saw the completion of the latest global digital campaign by Dutch airline KLM. The Tile & Inspire campaign, which has been running since April, ties in with the ‘Journey’s of Inspiration’ brand message launched in 2008, and encourages participants to have a more ‘active’ role in their journey by becoming part of the planes decor!

Using a campaign micro-site and a Facebook app, the user was able to create an image of themselves in the style of a traditional Dutch Delft tile. This could then be shared with their social networks, replace their profile picture on Facebook, and be submitted to KLM to potentially be chosen as one of the 4000 tiles which would eventually decorate a Boeing 777-200.

120,000 tiles were created during the campaign in 154 countries, with 77,000 submitted for a place on the plane.

I am a fan of KLM’s approach to digital marketing, and loved their social ‘surprise’ experiment last year which saw them running after customers at Schipol airport who had tweeted whilst waiting to board one of their flights so they could give them a gift which matched their ‘personality’ (after checking out their twitter history big-brother-style).

Whilst checking out this campaign I was once again reminded of how BRILLIANT their social media team are. Just check out the fantastic responses to customer queries on their Facebook page for a great example of how one should be managed. Afterall, branding isn’t just about how things look, but more about the overall experience a person has when dealing with your company or organisation. More and more people are starting to use social media as a form of customer-service-queries-platform, and you need the right team to deal with this who understand EVERYTHING about your company, its products and its brand values.

2. Perrier – Le Club

Le Club by Perrier, is reportedly the first YouTube video campaign which evolves depending on how many people have viewed it.

Ogilvy and Mather Paris created 7 wonderful videos (or at least, 7 iterations of the same video) for the mineral water brand, depicting the scene in a trendy nightclub, with each version getting steamer and sweatier. The more views the video gets, the closer to unlocking the next ‘hotter’ version, with the final 7th (and hottest!) version being aired live at a ‘melting’ party in New York. Facebook fans can enter a competition to win tickets to this party, as well as encouraging their friends to visit YouTube and help get nearer to the ‘final take’.

The main Perrier website has been completely taken over by Le Club, driving people straight to YouTube from the landing page and virtually hiding the way into the more traditional content. This is great to see – I am always complaining about campaigns not being fully integrated into all digital assets.

This massive fully integrated campaign is also supported by TV, point-of-sale, print and mobile, and has so far notched up a staggering 5 million video views since launch. Obviously people are very keen to see beautiful people ‘de-robe’ a bit more!

3. Ballantines – Human api

Taking ‘crowdsourcing’ to a whole new level, Ballantines (whiskey) have created some new live events, accessed via Facebook, which enable you to interact, suggest and feedback as the event happens.

The first of these took place on the 16th June and featured a tattooist (Karl) – taking their ‘Leave an impression’ tagline a little too literally! You were able to see everything he was up to in his Parisian tattoo parlour, as he was seeing it, and talk to him (via messaging) along the way. The next in the series will feature an ice sculptor and take place on 30th June at 3pm (GMT).

This weeks digital campaign chatter #10


1. Kelloggs Rice Krispie Squares – Find the Friend Who Isn’t

There are probably thousands of Facebook apps – some good, MOST bad – but why is it that the simple (and often cheesiest!) ones end up being the ones which draw you back again and again? I like to think of myself as (quite) an intelligent woman, yet I’m not sure that the cash prize was even needed as an incentive for me to play the latest campaign app by Kelloggs! It had me hooked within the first few seconds!

So, what’s it all about then? To play the game you simply have to find the profile picture from 49 which are given to you, which does NOT belong to one of your Facebook mates. You’ll get 3 second penalties for each time you choose wrong, and 3 chances to play each day. The fastest time of the week will get you £500, and the fastest time each day gets you lots of……you guessed it…..free Rice Krispie Squares!

There doesn’t appear to be much brand ‘positioning’ behind this campaign, which Sam Blunt, Kelloggs Consumer Promotions and Digital Controller says is “…a bit of lighthearted fun”, however, the data capture element makes me think that there may be some consumer intelligence and information gathering involved as part of it. Hopefully it will build their ‘likes’ up to something more worthwhile too.

It’s worth saying that they appear to have a very responsive team answering questions and wall posts, which is good to see. All too often brands invest in a campaign and forget to have sufficient resource to deal with the additional questions and engage with their ‘fans’.

2. The National Trust – My Farm

In an attempt to bring people closer with the realities of food production and farm life, The National Trust have launched a digital campaign which very much links in with real life.

Using a 60 second ad (above) to drive traffic to their website, they are hoping to encourage 10,000 participants to help with the running and decision-making of their farm, in Cambridgeshire. The website will be maintained by the farm ‘team’ and updated with video, blog posts etc. so that you can get a real feel for the day-to-day of farm life.

The one downfall – you have to pay £30 in order to join!

Whilst I think it is a great idea, the subscription model will be a real turn-off for most people, especially as you don’t appear to get much back in return. They’ll need to put a lot more work into driving traffic and subscriptions than just the ad alone – perhaps get some key influencers within their target user-groups interested and onboard?

However, as a long-term project it will be interesting to see how the engagement lasts with the people they do manage to get signed up. Maybe ‘crowdsourced farming’ will take off! Who knows!

3. Vodafone LG Optimus – Pixel Hunt

Unfortunately, this campaign website and game are no longer live so I am unable to add a link. However, after picking up on this great idea by Vodafone Germany on the Digital Buzz blog this week, I really wanted to share it!

To generate some buzz around the launch of the latest LG Optimus phone in Germany last November, Vodafone decided to emphasise how great the quality of the camera was, and create a game which involved finding 100 hidden phones within the pixels of a picture. Users could select one of the pixels in the picture on the campaign website in the hope of finding one of the free phones.

The results were fantastic. Over 300,000  people played the game and selected all of the 5 million pixels in under a month. Looks like there were strong links with Facebook to help boost the activity, but even so, those are pretty impressive results!

This weeks digital campaign chatter #6


Here is my round-up of the most talked about digital campaigns in the last 7 days:

1. Sony Ericsson – Xperia Launch

This week saw the start of Sony Ericsson’s biggest campaign for two years – with an overall spend of around £4million, 40% of which will be spent on digital (up from a previous 25% of budget).

This impressive investment is in honour of the launch of 3 new phones on 1st April – the Xperia Arc, Xperia Neo and the Xperia Play (the long awaited Playstation phone).

The company have worked with their commercial partners, including The Carphone Warehouse, Vodafone and Tesco, to develop a 10-day Facebook campaign in the run up to launch, with an Xperia Play being given away each day.

Nice idea. However, when I clicked through on Day 6 after hearing about the campaign, to find out more about how it worked, all that happened was that I was directed through to an unofficial Sun Twitter account with no idea what I actually had to do!

Seems unless you are already a fan of the page, there is no obvious way of finding out what you need to do. The instructions for each days competition (they are all different) are posted on their wall (and therefore in your homefeed if you have ‘liked’ the page) every morning, but are not added to the main competition area of the Facebook page. So a latecomer like me will have no idea whatsoever as to what they need to do and what it’s all about unless they do some serious digging. Hopefully their homepage ‘takeover’ of Facebook, YouTube and Gamespot on 31st March with make more sense!

Worth noting also that their Facebook wall does not seem to be that well-managed, with several complaints and questions going unanswered by the company. With over 96k fans to the UK page, they are missing a real opportunity if they don’t start to manage this relationship with their ‘fans’ better soon.

2. G.E – L.O.S.S (Laundered and Orphaned Sock Society)

I am totally loving this US campaign by GE! The concept is genius, and has been pulled together by their agency LBi US really well.

Rather than launch their new line of washing machines and dryers in the usual way (cross-section diagrams explaining how fantastic the spin cycle is, and that type of thing), they decided to take a more light-hearted and round-about approach and instead created a fake advocacy campaign – L.O.S.S (Laundered and Orphaned Sock Society) – complete with dedicated website and presence on both Facebook and Twitter.

The main video is funny and well made and can be seen on the main campaign site as well as on their Facebook page.

The content for the overall campaign has been put together with a really nice mixture of comedy and links through to ‘real’ product information.  Nice transitions which keep true to the overall concept.

They have also created an app on the website which allows you to create a missing poster for your sock:

This poster then acts as a viral tool to spread the campaign message. Interestingly they have taken the decision to host this app on the website as opposed to their Facebook page, even though they do link to it from there. A lot of companies seem to be opting for Facebook apps instead at the moment.

Apparently, they seeded lots of ‘mum bloggers’ with the campaign video initially as well as a fake press release from L.O.S.S. This is a really nice approach and one which paid off for them, giving their campaign a fantastic (and much deserved!) launch.

3. Ikea – Bedroom makeover

In an attempt to tap into the crowdsourcing trend, Ikea Hong Kong have just launched a ‘Bedroom makeover’ competition as an extension to their existing  ‘Happy Inside’ message – highlighting the merits of living an organised life (could do with a bit of that myself!).

To take part in the competition you simply upload a picture of your (untidy and disorganised) bedroom to their Facebook page. Ikea will select 3 from the top 10 most voted for entries who will be invited to a 90 second shopping spree at their store, and ultimately a $10k makeover prize.

Nice to see that the Happy Inside message is threaded through all their digital presence – especially their main website. Overall I think the idea behind the campaign is simple but effective. Shame that they only have around 18k fans to their page. Perhaps they should be working harder on integrating with offline?

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Top 100 Social Brands revealed


The list of the top 100 social brands was released this morning. A couple of surprises in the Top 10 – including GiffGaff (who I have never heard of!), Best Buy UK & Blendtec

The top 20:

  1. Dell
  2. Nike Plus
  3. Starbucks
  4. giffgaff
  5. Best Buy UK
  6. Zappos
  7. Innocent
  8. Groupon UK
  9. Blendtec
  10. Converse
  11. Pampers
  12. BBC Radio 1
  13. BBC
  14. ASOS
  15. AVG
  16. Child’s i Foundation
  17. Nokia
  18. Moo
  19. Old Spice
  20. Sony Playstation

For a full list of the 100, and a great review of the survey, check out this article on The Wall.