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!

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!

Heineken: Making a BIG digital entrance

Whilst it is not their first digital campaign, ‘The Entrance’ recently launched by Heineken really shows how their approach to the medium has evolved. For a start, they have launched this campaign online first, following it up later with spots on TV, which is still not the norm (even though in some cases it should be!). They have also used their online channels to offer people a deeper understanding of the campaign and their brand, with fantastic use of both Facebook and YouTube.

The video itself is great – guy walks into a party and everyone loves him. He effortlessly greets individuals in a way which shows that he understands them, and in return he is the ‘king of the party’ (This is obviously before he has drunk copious amounts of the brand in question and embarrassed himself by falling over or insulting someones dress!).

Although you can view all the campaign videos via You Tube if you really want to, if you are on the Heineken Facebook page you are asked to ‘like’ the page in order to see more of the campaign content. Once you have done so you can not only view the main campaign ad, but you are also offered the choice to find out more about all the characters the  main guy greets in the ad. These are really nice little additional videos which give a great depth to the campaign and added intrigue.

I love the fact that you can ‘play’ and interact with the campaign, in a way that only digital will allow you to do. It is also obvious that the marketing teams and agencies involved with this really thought about an integrated approach which would translate well across different mediums.

It seems that they are also pushing for more global brand consistency, having this campaign work globally for them with the same format and messaging in an effort to tighten things up. They have brought their multiple Facebook pages together to make just one and have also done the same with their You Tube channels. They have changed their logo, are standardising bottle and can designs, and are also working on their Global Website. This is something I wish more brands would do. By offering a more consistent brand with global campaigns you can still have the regional marketing teams support these with smaller localised campaigns, but will have a much stronger overall brand at the end of the day, and probably save a fortune on campaign and agency costs too!

All this work is ahead of the launch of their Facebook store, making them the first alcohol beverage to sell via this channel. The company hope to encourage their users to suggest the types of produce they should be making and selling, but will start with branded clothes and merchandise.

Top 10 viral ads of 2010

There has been so much talk about the Old Spice video ad campaign this year, that it is no surprise to see it in the top slot of the Ad Age Top 10 Viral Ads of 2010. The interactive campaign, which posted cheesy but amusing video responses from their brand ‘hunk’ to consumer questions, gained over 68 million views in total from its launch in July, which is truly spectacular! In fact, the overall figures from this list are amazing in comparison to last year, with a combined figure of over 320 million views in comparison to 196 million for the top 10 in 2009. Is this a sign of the times (how consumers are living their lives more online), or an indication that companies are finally beginning to think more strategically when looking at their Digital Marketing and Online Branding?

1. Old Spice – Responses, launched 12th July 2010, over 68 million views

2. Old Spice – Odor Blocker, launched 31st March 2010, almost 42 million views

3. Doritos – Crash the Super Bowl 2010, launched 5th January 2010, over 36.5 million views

4. Old Spice (again!) – The man your man could smell like, launched 4th Feb 2010, over 36 million views

5. Nike – Write the Future, launched 15th May 2010, over 35 million views

6. DC Shoes – Gymkhana Three, launched 24th August 2010, over 22.5 million views

7. Old Spice – Return of the man your man could smell like, launched 29th June, almost 22.5 million views

8. Pepsi – Oh Africa, launched 27th Feb 2010, over 20 million views

9. Gillette – Perfect length, launched 19th June 2010, over 18.5 million views

10. E-Trade Superbowl 2010, launched 1st Feb 2010, almost 18.5 million views

If you were to ask me which was my favourite out of this list, my honest answer would be that I am not too keen on any of the video’s! There are far more creative video’s out there which in my opinion should have made the top 10. That’s just my personal taste though…..from a campaign point of view, Old Spice are undoubtedly the best. They have taken online video away from simply putting your TV ads on You Tube, and developed something much more interactive and fit for purpose. A well deserved win I reckon!

A win for the small guy – YouTube ad of the year

This just proves that you don’t need to spend millions on a campaign in order to have an impact. A beautifully created video by Alexander Commercials for a campaign by Sussex Safer Roads called ‘Embrace Life’ has just beaten off big brand competition to win the You Tube ad of the year top prize.

Within weeks of the video being launched on You Tube it went viral and received millions of views, and you can see why.