I wanted to highlight a social media campaign that had been successful first of all to provide contrast with the failures that are about to come later. But even success is a matter of opinion The Old Spice social media videos have divided marketing opinions as they accompanied a sales drop of 7 per cent for Old Spice Red Zone After Hours bodywash (though maybe it was the complicated branding). And there was similarly negative sales data around other campaigns like the Cadbury Gorilla video. You could argue that many of these campaigns are not about sales but brand repositioning or changing brand perception. Before the gorilla Cadbury’s salmonella-infected factory scare was top of mind with a chocolate buying public. And Old Spice is the scent of your grandfather and the shower gel of choice for less sophisticated American NASCAR loving consumers (which is a PC way of saying red necks). So I reached back into time to find an unambiguous success.
When we think about social media and effective word-of-mouth campaigns we tend to think of meerkats and marmite. However back in 1996 a campaign was started by Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith for an email account which freed you from your ISP. You could invite a friend and the signature of every mail invited the email recipient to sign up. In 18 month, with the help of 300,000 dollars VC money, Hotmail had gone from zero to 8 million plus users and been purchased by Microsoft for about 400million dollars.
In 2006, two American’s Jim and Laura set off across America in a Winnebago bus. They took advantage of the free parking for campers provided by Walmart locations and blogged about their experience. Funnily enough every Wal-Mart employee that Laura and Jim run into, from store clerks to photogenic executives, absolutely loves to work at the store. All of this seemed to be at odds with with Wal-Mart’s reputation for paying poor wages, screwing staff on health insurance and providing little benefits. Unfortunately it wasn’t disclosed that Jim was professional photographer and Laura was a copywriter was the sister of an Edelman executive (Walmarts PR agency at the time) – both were paid ultimately on behalf of Walmart. The story blazed its way across the blogosphere, made BusinessWeek and is now featured as a case study in marketing textbooks. 2006 was a good year for fake blogs with All I want for Xmas is a PSP and McDonald’s McDillionaire blogs competing with Walmarting Across America for the limelight
Tom Coates was a pioneer of blogging in the UK and influential amongst web technologists so when he wrote a personal blog post about the father he hasn’t seen in 30 years, you might think that the context meant that the blog post wouldn’t be a suitable for a brand interaction from Cillit Bang. Over a 100 blog commenters and journalists at the Guardian would have agreed with you.
One of the key campaign groups Wal-Mart launched at the end of 2005 was Working Families for Walmart, Edelman worked with Wal-Mart to create a site around the group and developed content for the site. So Walmartwatch registered workingfamiliesforwalmart.com domain and directed to their own site instead
This next one was a tricky slide for me to create, but local government never fails to disappoint in providing content which isn’t that engaging. At 300 views over a year, the traffic is more likely to be from accidental viewers via Google than an active audience. And this video by Leicestershire County Council is one of their better ones, though I didn’t watch all 9 minutes and 25 seconds of it. Two further points to note: They aren’t interested in a dialogue with their audience as the comments have been turned offI wonder if they got approval to use The Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter as the background music?
Coca-Cola worked with London’s Lean Green Fighting Machine to develop a Facebook application which tweeted a status on behalf of the user. These were changed on a regular basis and designed to reflect Dr Pepper as a hip young brand. One of the status tweeted was “Just watched 2 Girls, 1 Cup; feeling hungry” in reference to a particularly nasty video that went viral. I can’t show you that video but I can show you Stan from Family Guy’s reaction to it. Coca-Cola has since withdrawn the application following the error being brought to its attention by the mother of a 14-year old girl.
This is a still taken from thepunchline of an advert for Motrin. Motrin as a US brand of ibuprofen. The video was an irreverent look at the life of a mother and was supposed to propose Motrin as a source of relief from back pain that the mother received from carrying around their child in a baby carrier. Mothers took to blogger and to Twitter and whilst their number was relatively small in the grand scheme of things their vigorous reaction quickly attracted the attention of the mainstream media. Let me show you
Three seconds after this still was taken, this puppy is thrown down a ravine in Afghanistan. The puppy was thrown down the ravine by US marine David Motari. The video came to light after it was posted online in March 2008. The US Marine Corp had to act quickly after Motari’s online life was dug up by cyber vigilantes. His home address was posted online, his car and its licence plate were put online. His parents, wife and children were threatened. And Gawker revealed that he had been playing the field on a Hawaiian dating site. Approval ratings for the Marine Corp in Afghanistan. They took him into custody, put him and his family into the witness protection programme and dishonorably discharged him from the service
At the end of July Adam Singer was approached by Warner Brothers as part of their outreach to bloggers regarding entertainment. Hello,I am a part of the Warner Brothers word of mouth marketing team and recently came across your blog! Your blog uniquely stood out as dynamic, informative and highly creative. We are seeking bloggers that are passionate about entertainment to help us engage your readers with content that would be interesting to them.We would like to have you join our WB Word marketing team to let fans know about our latest releases and relevant content/products. As a member of the team, you will be asked to display photos, clips, and stories on your Blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The best part is you will get paid! Additionally, we may even debut event previews and new content so that fans like you get to enjoy it first.
P&G pushed out these nappies sometime at the end of last year and had been receiving negative reviews from parents in North America with allegations of skin rashes and blisters developing. P&G was perceived to have sneaked out these nappies as changelings as they didn’t have the new packaging ready – a mix up between production and marketing. A series of facebook groups have formed and parents started to rally around it. By May there was mainstream media pick up and a government investigation launched by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. The communications programme threw petrol on the fire claiming that P&G has been the subject of “completely false rumors fuelled by social media”. Further that “These rumors are being perpetuated by a small number of parents, some of whom are unhappy that we replaced our older Cruisers and Swaddlers products while others support competitive products and the use of cloth diapers” and that the complaints received were within the range normally receivedA fortnight later the tone moderated a bit: "We're walking the fine line of communicating that the diaper is not causing the rash and still being sympathetic to the fact that they're really having a rash, and our heart goes out to them. First and foremost, we care about babies' health."P&G has now put in place emergency marketing dollars behind the product and facing down four class lawsuits. Contrition & closure
Do unto others as you would have done to yourself. In fact David Ogilvy in his book Ogilvy on Advertising addressed this very issue. Yet these mistakes are made over and over again
To mitigate risk: T&CsASA advertising guidelinesNICE | ABPIConsumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
CIPRSM: social media no-nos Ged Carroll: director, digital strategies Ruder Finn | RFI Studios
Being (un)authentic “Hi Tom, Always remember one thing. Life is very, very short and nothing is worth limiting yourself from seeing the ones you love. I hadn't seen my father in 15 years until 2 years ago. I was apprehensive but I kept telling myself that no matter how estranged we'd become there was no river to wide to cross. Drop me a line if I can be of any more help. Cheers, Barry” (Scott)
(Don’t) fight your customers and expect to win
All of these break the golden rule Never Write an Advertisement Which You Wouldn't Want Your Own Family To Read. You wouldn't tell lies to your own wife. Don't tell them to mine. Do as you would be done by – David Ogilvy
"All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgarize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level.” – Bill Bernbach Clients
D Sharon Pruitt What’s your relationship like?