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!

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.

This weeks digital campaign chatter #17


As always, an interesting bunch of digital campaigns this week that you can learn from and feel inspired by. Personalised video cheers, chip-throwing Facebook games, and an Indian James Bond campaign. What more could you ask for?!

Enjoy! – and don’t forget to subscribe (bottom of page) if you want to receive this weekly round-up via email.

1. Aviva – Healthy Cheer

European insurance group Aviva have recently launched a digital campaign and Facebook app to tie in with their overall brand and marketing strategy, which is to encourage people to live a healthier lifestyle (and therefore them pay out less I guess!).

By ‘liking’ their Facebook page, you can send a friend a personalised video message featuring Aviva’s yellow-clad cheerleaders, to encourage them in their efforts to get fitter and healthier. It’s a nice and simple tried-and-tested viral video campaign concept – nothing complicated, but the idea of the virtual ‘cheer’ and the link with the brand messaging is good.

You send your friend an email with a link to their personalised video, they watch the video, they share the video (or in this case, the campaign – for some reason you cannot share you own personal video within your social networks, which is a shame), friend decides to create their own message for someone else, and so on and so forth.

It’s a shame they didn’t put more effort into their email notification to the nominated friends (see below) – looks very shabby and there are a couple of silly mistakes in the copy/layout.

It would also have been good to hear more about their chosen charity partner, Railway Children, to whom they will be donating £1 for each of the first 1000 video messages sent. Seems like a missed opportunity to both give the charity some awareness, as well as bump up their perceived CSR credentials!

No mention of the campaign on the homepage (or even main ‘Health’ page) of their website – tut tut! It could have been on there for launch I guess and I’ve missed it? It would also have been great to promote the additional health related content and tips they have available on the website via the campaign. Such an investment in quality content should be promoted and re-used wherever relevant in order to get maximum ROI from creating it in the first place. It would also have added a valuable extra layer to the social media campaign.

I’m also wondering what they are going to do with the cheerleader introduction videos and behind-the-scenes stuff which you can view on the dedicated YouTube channel? It would have been great to have this within their Facebook space, a little like Heineken did with The Entrance earlier on in the year.

So, overall verdict – a nice idea, fun, quirky, easy to use, but missing out on lots of possible added value opportunities which would have made the campaign even better.

2. Doritos – Dip Desperado

Doritos have launched an integrated campaign in the UK this week which centers around a new character – Esteban Ortega – and involves TV, Facebook, mobile and packaging promotion.

The TV ad (which aired last night) introduces Esteban as the ‘Dip Desperado’ and encourages viewers to play the Facebook or mobile game in order to win prizes, such as holidays and free products.

I didn’t quite get the hang of the game (nothing new there though!), but it seems to be about making your Doritos chip fly past lots of obstacles and collect bonus points on its way to the dip. You can register if you want to keep an eye on your scores etc., as well as input special codes from product packaging which will give you added advantage in the competition.

This is a nicely integrated campaign, where all aspects of online and offline tie-in and promote the competition – including their main website which has been completely taken over by it.

Always great to see organisations getting past the internal structures and politics to enable campaign promotion on product packaging too – never an easy thing to achieve. Well done guys!

3. Star Movies India – Forever Bond

To promote their Bond Film Festival throughout July, the Indian film channel Star Movies has launched an online digital campaign, which allows you to ‘play at being Bond’ (or so they say!)

If you access the campaign via their website, you get a nifty introduction to it by inputting your mobile phone number and getting a call from ‘M’ – which you obviously have to destroy once listened to! Unfortunately, I couldn’t try this step out as it appears to only accept numbers from India……

The game itself can be accessed via their Facebook page. Drag the ‘007’ button to your browser bookmark bar, and you can activate the game no matter which website you are on. Once activated the game menu appears and you get to drive an Aston Martin around the page, firing lasers and destroying all the copy and images along the way.

It’s a really nice idea, but is lacking any real incentive to play. It would have been much better if associated with a competition of some sort, giving people a reason to activate the game more often and more importantly, share it with their friends. At the moment, even with the Bond theme tune making you feel vaguely Bond-like, it still feels a little flat and pointless.

How cool would it have been to have the Bond ‘baddies’ appear every so often when you are browsing the web, giving you the opportunity to kill them and get points? Would have been a  nice reminder of the main characters from the films too.

Nice idea, but feels a little ‘stirred rather than shaken’ to me (sorry, couldn’t help myself!).

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