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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Febreze launch Global ‘Breathe Happy’ campaign


The latest integrated campaign by Proctor & Gambles $billion air freshener brand, Febreze, kick started last month in the US and is due to launch in the UK next week.

Following a (resurrected) current trend of using ‘real people’ video evidence to show how great a product is, the brand set up several ‘social experiments’ – such as bringing smelly fish, goats and sweaty bodybuilders into rooms with unsuspecting volunteers, or blindfolding people and leaving them in places which have been set up to resemble the aftermath of a nuclear war. Of course, Febreze was used to mask the pong and the people were asked to describe what they could smell and what it reminded them of.

No surprise that they smell the beautiful floral fragrance of Febreze, and not the smeg that it is masking, and that there are lots of dramatic gasps when they take off their blindfold to find themselves staring into the armpit of a bodybuilder, or face-to-face with a dead fish, and not in the middle of a beautiful meadow.

What is this telling us? That the smell of Febreze is so strong it can cover up anything? Actually, it is telling us that the team behind Febreze are starting to do some real joined-up thinking, and have developed a great campaign which will not only work well globally, but will also work across all of their marketing platforms.

The US have kick started the global campaign well, using a dedicated area of their main brand website, as well as active Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels. There is also a competition encouraging people to share their ‘breathe happy’ stories for the chance to win free product and/or money. It’s a shame they didn’t take this concept just a little further and allow people to recreate the experiments and then share the videos. Opening up the votes would have helped to make the campaign more interactive too.

Lets hope that the UK and other countries involved use the same formula as the US, although they will need to do a little work on the online brand consistency between the main websites in order to share the collateral and microsite design already developed. I always tell my clients to sort out global brand consistency asap – if the online branding is consistent, the cost savings when rolling out campaigns can be significant.

Sony leads with digital to promote Wimbledon 3D


Working with Crayon, Sony have decided to lead with digital for the campaign to promote their 3D coverage of the Wimbledon finals this year – no TV support!  They’ve created a lovely video with viral-aspirations, and an online competition – bounc3d – which gives you the chance to win tons of Sony products, as well as tickets to watch the tennis in person.

bounc3d involves chasing virtual tennis balls across the internet and earning points depending on how many you catch. You get more points for sharing the campaign with your network (nice touch) and including it on your own websites.

The idea isn’t new – reminds me very much of the Magnum Pleasure Hunt which launched earlier on this year – but it’s been put together really nicely, and is actually quite fun to play (I need to get out more!).

The overall campaign includes the video, bounc3d competition microsite, Facebook, eCRM, radio & national press support, as well as field marketing of 10,000 branded tennis balls being handed out across London. Perhaps they should have gone for branded umbrellas instead – Wimbledon + England usually = rain afterall!

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 #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

This weeks digital campaign chatter #8


Some of this weeks most talked about digital campaigns, including work from Orange, Kotex and Desperados.

1. Orange – Do Some Good

Sustainability and Social Responsibility seems to be ‘the thing’ at the moment, with lots of companies investing as much in their ‘green’ brand values as they do in their product and/or service ones.

However, it’s not very often that you come across campaigns which you think might actually DO something (and that don’t include pictures of wind turbines and dying polar bears!). So, it was with a slightly pessimistic mind that I downloaded and tried the new ‘Do Some Good’ mobile app developed by Orange (with a whole bunch of their charitable partner organisations) this week – but I loved it!

The idea of offering people ‘bite-sized’ volunteering opportunities which they can do from their phones and fit in at any time during their day, is great. The app itself is really simple to use, allowing  you to browse through the various tasks or choose from the type of activity you want to do – such as completing surveys which help charities to develop their messages, taking or uploading pictures which can be used royalty free by charitable organisations, locating and helping to ‘map’ outdoor spaces which people can enjoy and where kids can safely play, sharing an ‘urban oasis’ or even offering your language skills to help translate something useful.

The Orange Rockcorps Collective (the division behind this concept), will then reward you with music downloads or tickets to gigs once your ‘bite-sized’ activities add up to a total of 4 hours. Seems that The Collective also have a great website and Facebook page to showcase their mission and entice more people to join and share their volunteering experiences. No mention of the Do some Good app on there just yet, and no link to any other digital platforms from the app itself, but it’s early days and hopefully there will be more tie-ins further down the line.

I’ve already filled in a survey about my (non-existent) cycling habits and taken a few pics of the local beauty spots, so feel quite good about myself! You should give it a go!

2. Kotex – Ban the Bland

Crowdsourcing sanitary pad designs? This is where I lose my male readers……

Kotex have taken the brave step recently in the US to challenge the traditionally white and ‘sterile’ design of feminine hygiene products, and their latest campaign opens up the redesign to their consumers.

Using their online design tool, you can choose from various patterns, colours, brush effects and sizes, as well as various graphics – including the option to upload your own – to create either a pad or a tin design. Once you have completed your ‘masterpiece’ you can add it to the gallery where others can then ‘like’ your design (or not!). There is even the option to create a mood board for those who are really serious about winning the prize of designing the final products with leading fashion visionary, Patricia Field.

I’ve worked on a similar ‘design your own’ tool in the past, but for flooring, and know how difficult they can be to create – especially if they include an ‘upload your own image’ option and a gallery. It seems that Kotex have done a good job with theirs and it is fun to play around with.

It would have been good to see more of a link to social channels so that users could share their designs (and therefore the campaign) with their networks. Perhaps the option to replace your Facebook profile picture with your pad design? mmmm…on second thoughts,maybe not!

However, I did notice whilst looking into this that the Facebook page they run is actually really well managed even with the lack of a direct tie-in to their latest ‘push’. They do share the campaign – even if only via the wall – and respond quickly and intelligently to peoples questions and comments.

The campaign also includes a big investment in offline advertising, including TV, billboards and in-store, which is sure to drive people to the online tool. The brand are (not surprisingly) claiming interest so far has been very high.

3. Desperados – The Desperados Experience

I could not write my weekly round-up this week without including something about the amazing You Tube take-over by Desperados.

The Tequila-based alcohol brand have created an inspired interactive experience which asks the user to reveal their age (for legal reasons I guess), select if they want to party with men or women, and then invites them to ‘join the party’. You can then ‘break through the wall’ by using interactive ‘sliders’ in order to open out the standard video viewing area to a much larger and wilder ‘party’.

The TV ad version is below, but you really need to check out You Tube in order to see what a great job they have done of taking this concept and developing it for digital use. It no doubt involved detailing both offline and online requirements ahead of filming, in order to make use of the set, cast and props for all needs.

Good on them for thinking ahead! So many brands simply stick their TV ad on the web and expect it to work just as well and go viral, without truly thinking about the medium and planning ahead.

Out of interest, the brand also seem to be doing the ‘design by crowd’ thing on their website, where you can design your own bottle and accessories etc. Jumping on the crowdsourcing bandwagon? Why not!