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!

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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!!!)