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The Social Cocktail


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Spotlight: Michelle Klein and Wayne Arnold

Marketers mix traditional and social media, physical experiences and a layered content plan with a spalsh of Madonna to create global citizenship for their consumers

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The Social Cocktail

  1. 1. SPOTLIGHT MICHELLE KLEIN AND WAYNE ARNOLD The Social Cocktail Marketers mix traditional and social media, physical experiences and a layered content plan with a splash of Madonna to create global citizenship for their consumers I N T E RV I E W BY G O R D O N W Y N E R T hink nothing good happens after 10 p.m.? dramatically from other campaigns in concept, Some global marketing executives would design and execution. have to disagree. 1. It’s a combination of TV and social media The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project that is linked with real physical experiences. is a coalescence of media channels around the 2. It scales social media to a global level—its Smirnoff brand community. The key to this is so- social community is currently made up of about 9 cial media, since the idea doesn’t manifest unless million people. the consumer participates. It starts with Smirnoff 3. It’s a global brand building campaign that putting out a brief message to consumers around is tailored to address vast differences in local the world, telling them what makes nightlife markets, cultures and regulations. Its size and great in their specific cities. And in exchange for complexity pose execution challenges that haven’t participation, consumers then get the chance to been addressed before. experience the nightlife from somewhere else “What we learned during year one was that around the globe. TV and traditional public relations played a Consumers send their ideas to Smirnoff massive role in driving awareness, while social through Facebook, Twitter,, drove the heartbeat of the idea,” Klein explains. YouTube and so forth. “It lives and breathes through social channels, but But, instead of starting with a splashy TV we needed traditional media to fuel and generate investment, the campaign actually began at awareness and excitement. the grassroots level, with a lot of seeding done “My firm belief is that the idea only has value through outreach around the different categories if we create a reward for participation in the of nightlife, from dance and music, to fashion, real world. A lot of brands ask people to submit bands, drinks, clubs and hot spots. a video online or go out and do something on Michelle Klein, the vice president of Smirnoff behalf of a brand idea. global marketing, communications and digital at “But we get the best content contributions leading global premium drinks company Dia- and responses when there’s a credible reward for geo, received AdWeek’s Brand Genius Award for participating, e.g. to come to an extraordinary her innovative work on the Smirnoff Nightlife event, and even to get a chance to earn fame by Exchange Project in the fall of 2011. She oversees performing on a global stage.” the international project in collaboration with The primary event for year two was held on Wayne Arnold, cofounder and global CEO of the Nov. 12, 2011, Klein explains. “There were mul- digital marketing agency Profero. tiple ways consumers could be rewarded for their participation. After submitting their ideas, there’s The Social Heartbeat high-value downloadable content about where the The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project differs best nightlife is around the world. That’s a content4 | M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T | S U M M E R 2 012
  2. 2. reward. Smirnoff partnered with Vice magazine tocreate compelling, original content to share withthe online community.” Vita Klein If a consumer participated in something at ahigher level, e.g., by submitting a video or going Current Vice President, Global Marketing,to a dance audition, the rewards could go much Smirnoff (USA)higher, with a chance to be on the world stage. “You could submit your application to attend an 2006 Global Digital Marketing Director,event in person in your own country or somewhere Smirnoff (USA)else around the world, and there were events across50 countries. 2005 Global Group Account Director, “On Nov. 12, countries swapped their nightlife. (UK)If you were in Argentina you could experience thenightlife of Turkey without having to leave Ar- 2000 Head of New Media, Sea Contain-gentina because we brought it to you through the ers & The Illustrated London NewsExchange. Equally, if you were in Argentina, you Group (UK)could also win tickets to physically go to Turkeyfor the night or to one of the other participating 1999 Travel Writer, The Sydney Morningcountries,” she adds. Herald (Australia) “What happens after that night is a constantcelebration across the world from the content thatcomes out of the original events.” Last year focused a lot on the category ofdance, which is one of the ingredients that makesnightlife great. Smirnoff worked with Madonnafor the dance category—consumers had the chanceto compete to win the chance to be a dancer in Vita ArnoldMadonna’s next tour. Smirnoff invited people tosubmit a 60-second video for Madonna and herchoreographer to review. Ten finalists won the 2001- Opens Profero in Sydney,chance to perform on Nov. 12 in New York City in 2010 Shanghai, Singapore, Japan,front of Madonna, and the world. Beijing, U.S., Seoul “This, of course, created a huge amount ofcontent pre-Nov. 12. You can look on the YouTube 1998 Cofounds Profero with brotherchannel to see all the fantastic submissions from Darryl in UKdance hopefuls around the world. It got the worldengaged and offered an amazing reward – the 1996 Works for Merrill Lynch, Hongchance to be a dancer on Madonna’s next tour,” KongKlein says. “The culmination of the evening had cameras 1995 Graduates Coventry University,pointing at many of the events around the world. Coventry, West Midlands, EnglandHours later, great films celebrating global nightlifewere shared with our entire community via socialchannels,” she says. “If you couldn’t be there S U M M E R 2 012 | M A R K E T I N G P OW E R . CO M | 5
  3. 3. SPOTLIGHT MICHELLE KLEIN AND WAYNE ARNOLD Interview title John Doe is deciding whether, when and how to conduct produce segmentation depends on the business context. BY J O H N F R A N K physically, you still got to see the amazing experi- PA R T Y O N T H E G O : The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project is a combi- ences unfold through video content both on the nation of TV and social media linked with global physical experiences that allow consumers to enjoy the nightlife of another city—a veritable swap night and the following day.” meet for nightlife aficionados. Arnold adds, “Content creation for this multi- channel world needs to be viewed differently. Think of it like a pyramid with different layers. just one big page. It’s very locally driven, so each Big, high-production content around the live market has its own Facebook community to keep events capturing the excitement of the occasion, the conversation local and relevant. married with content being generated every sec- “People express a lot of pride for their local ond of every day by our online community. town or country. The Nightlife Exchange is about “Content in its most basic, yet important, raising the question of, ‘Where is the best night- form is the lexicon of simple words and ideas that life in the world?’ It generates rich conversation people use to describe what their nightlife means at a local level where people are saying things like, to them. These words are often used by the com- ‘the best nightlife in New York is the dive bars in munity, discussed and built on every day, to keep the Lower East Side,’ for example. the conversation alive. “People talk about their likes and dislikes, not “What’s important is planning for these lay- in a negative way, but in a positively competitive ers of content, as it is too expensive to always way. The role for Smirnoff is to join the conver- have high-production content, yet it is needed to sation and give our perspective on what are the stimulate the conversation in the communities we best ideas, as determined by likes and votes, and are creating. then just let the conversation happen, enabling “What tends to happen is there are peaks of people to celebrate what they like. Engagement content which are followed by periods of sus- is extremely high across the world. For example, tained community dialogue. All the way through, almost 200,000 ideas were submitted in the three- we need to reward participation—for example: month period leading up to Nov. 12.” submit your idea, and get some content or chance of tickets as a reward for becoming part of the Community Conversions conversation.” The evaluation of the performance of the A considerable amount of work was needed campaign has been a combination of traditional to create and sustain the Local Communities in and digital measurement approaches, with special the various countries. Klein explains how that emphasis on the high-level metrics on brand worked: “Smirnoff has the biggest Facebook com- equity, as well as actual product sales. The evalua- munity for a spirits brand in the world. It’s not tion included brand-tracking surveys and6 | M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T | S U M M E R 2 012
  4. 4. consumer response. “The power of a big idea like this Naturally, as a digitally led is when you can repeat it aroundcampaign, there were ample perfor- several occasions, themes and mar-mance measures like click-through kets. Having the previous year as arates and open rates. While this benchmark we can gauge improve-provided great technical data and ment against last year. We learneddetailed behavioral responses, it from the 14 countries in the firstdoesn’t, by itself, convey much about year that it was a good idea. In 2011what the campaign accomplished for we enabled the world to embrace it.”the brand in terms of equity. How Learning from year one sup-engaged were consumers? What was ported changes in the project in yearthe sentiment around the conversa- two. “We looked at the whole mediation? What insights were generated? mix and determined what chan-Where do people’s interests lie? nels worked best,” Klein says, “toWhat’s popular? Who are perceived see where we needed to make someas the top talents? changes. We were able to simplify The social nature of the Night- some of the ways of working in thelife Exchange presents a measure- second year, even though we actuallyment challenge and opportunity to increased the number of countries tocapture the depth of engagement 50. For example, do we really needof consumers. “We look at overall banner ads in XYZ country? Maybeparticipation,” Klein says. “We want we just need them in countries wherepeople to be excited and to know we can’t use TV. Is e-mail a power-what’s happening, whether they find ful channel for every market? Maybeit through a TV commercial or on a not. We enabled the markets to makeFacebook page through one of their their channel selection based onfriends. We want to see the conver- what was right for them and theirsion of that awareness into participa- consumers. And now we’re takingtion. Ultimately, we want to see some the time to evaluate results to deter-action as result of hearing about this, mine how we should activate as weregardless of the channel you heard move into the next year.”it in.” Vita Iwata Arnold describes how this works Mold-Breakers and Risk-Takersin practice: “Consumer interactions Execution of this campaign required 2008 Becomes IBM’s SVP, marketing some new capabilities. In Klein’shappen after the events too. So if wecan get the and communications with community to talk view, “We don’t start with a lineartheir friends about the brand without activity plan … we start with, ‘when 2002 Named SVP, communicationsus necessarily having to incentivize, are we going to get the brief out toit creates a huge awareness multi- consumers through social channels? 1995 Named VP, corporate communicationsplier. “After all, positive peer-to-peer When are we going to start sharingconsumer advocacy is the best form 1989 Moves to IBM corporateof brand halo. Our next challenge isthen to understand the value of at a research I S I N G T H E B A R : Fourteen countries participated 1984 Begins his IBM career the RA in the first year of the Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange‘share-ability factor’ Silicon Valley all facility in and how that Project, and that number grew to 50 in the campaign’stranslates. second year. S U M M E R 2 012 | M A R K E T I N G P OW E R . CO M | 7
  5. 5. SPOTLIGHT MICHELLE KLEIN AND WAYNE ARNOLD Interview title the idea with the nightlife bloggers. When are we going to start working with the talent? What role will the talent play?’ It’s not a traditional approach. “Second we need some mavericks. We don’t have a big team. We have a few core people on the global team working full time on this. Then we have brilliant brand managers around the world who are dedicated to the local activation on the ground, bringing local magic and flair to the program. “We need people who are willing to take risks and willing to try new things,” she adds. “Nothing is impossible. People working on this program need a ‘we can do it’ attitude. For example we got the dancers to come to New York City two weeks earlier and film their entire S O C I A L B U T T E R F L I E S : The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project boasts a social community of 9 million consumers interacting with the brand and journey. We got them out to clubs in New York with one another through Facebook, YouTube,, Twitter, etc. City so they could practice their routine with the cool, hip New York club crowd. “We need that type of entrepreneurial at- “It’s new, exciting and a different way to titude to get things going. We couldn’t do this do marketing. We learn new things every day without people who share this same attitude and through this program. Our team’s days are filled vision. Diageo enables this creativity amongst with highs and lows (and a lot of singing and brand managers. The organization embraces this dancing). But everybody is passionate about this flair and entrepreneurial attitude in every area of and committed to making it brilliant. the business.” “Right now the team across the globe is able Arnold elaborates, “To make the agency hot- to look back and say, ‘I was a part of making that house model work you have to leave the egos at happen.’ It creates emotion and passion inter- the door, it is one team made up of different and nally.” unique skills sets. The client and agency teams Also, Smirnoff believes in careful consump- have to sit together to work out what is right for tion and responsible nightlife behavior, and the program. This won’t be pulled off unless all Klein’s team uses their social media channels to the agencies work together, e.g. Profero, JWT, constantly remind fans and consumers to enjoy Saatchi X, Virtue, Splendid, Carat, DEI, etc.” their nightlife responsibly. Klein adds, “On top of everything else what “The global citizenship that is created around really makes this powerful is the magic! The best something like the Nightlife Exchange is very example I have of that is the dance videos that rare,” Arnold explains. “You really want to make were submitted as auditions. this work, really build an idea that the whole “Some were brilliant, and choosing the world can belong to, and you want to under- shortlist was pretty difficult for the judges. It’s stand what will make it work brilliantly in every so refreshing to see so much wonderful creativ- market. This encourages the international team ity out there … people who are passionate about to come from different cultures and different nightlife and about dance. environments/backgrounds to collaborate.8 | M A R K E T I N G M A N AG E M E N T | S U M M E R 2 012
  6. 6. “In my view, campaigns like this fail not Would anything like this have even beenbecause the idea was bad but, because you don’t possible 10 years ago? Klein’s reaction was thathave the team with the global DNA, the desire 10 years ago, the analogy would be sending anto learn and the attitude to roll up their sleeves e-mail out, then going to a website and perhapsand get things done. You have to believe what then meeting up in a physical space. “What’scan be achieved even when sometimes it can feel changed is social media, which is the heartbeatlike the impossible.” of the idea,” she says. “Social creates the conver- sation, the competition, the community of like-minded individuals with a common passion. “I’m not sure it would be possible to get millions of people in 50 countries talking and experiencing the best of nightlife physically and digi- tally 10 years ago … certainly without the borderless world that social media has enabled.” Arnold points out that, “Only in the last 18-24 months have the global media properties such as Facebook and YouTube gotten to a point where they reach a truly global audience. Eighteen months ago it would have been a completely different experience. “This year is probably the Vita Iwata first in which you could do a truly global social platform 2008 Becomes IBM’s SVP, marketing across so many markets. and communications “Who knows what we all will be doing in three years 2002 Named SVP, communications time? We’re not quite sure what’s next because these plat- 1995 Named VP, corporate communications forms are moving so quickly. 1989 Moves to IBM corporate “Some things we know, e.g., the rise of mobile. But 1984 Begins his IBM career at a research who will be the next Facebook?G O L D E N T I C K E T: One of the “rewards” for participants in the 2011 Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange facilitybe chosen as aValley in Madonna’s next tour. Here, Madonna poses with theProject was the chance to in Silicon dancer It’s probably being invented aswinner of the dance contest, Lil Buck from Memphis, Tenn. we speak.” MM S U M M E R 2 012 | M A R K E T I N G P OW E R . CO M | 9