From Nike’s Olympic efforts to Coca-Cola’s Facebook makeover, TB&I looks at some of 2012’s most creative online marketing campaigns.
In 2012, the average number of tweets sent per day rose to 175 million. Facebook users reached one billion and virtual pinboard site Pinterest became the world’s fastest growing social network.
From sports fans expressing their Olympic excitement to the millions who watched and shared campaigning video Kony 2012, Internet users spent more time on the social media than ever before, trading views, sharing jokes and pledging allegiance to their favourite bands, brands and products.
The money and resources brands invested in social campaigns last year also increased: according to Worldwide Business Research, 78 percent of luxury brands increased their social media marketing spend in 2012, and market analysts have predicted that the annual amount spent on social campaigns in the US will rise to more than $9 billion by 2016.
To mark this record-breaking year, TB&I has trawled the web and rounded up some of 2012’s finest online branding campaigns.
Heineken: ‘One like, one balloon’
In January 2012, Dutch lager brand Heineken launched a one-day campaign pledging to blow up one green balloon in its Sao Paulo office for every like its Brazilian Facebook page received.
Staff posted regular videos from inside the office, and sent personalised messages thanking users for their support. In just a few hours, the office was filled from floor to ceiling.
Thought up by advertising agency Wieden + Kennedy, ‘one like, one balloon’ was simple but effective, generating more than 12,600 likes and more than 200,000 video views on the day.
It also increased awareness of Heineken’s trademark green packaging, helping the brand stand out from its competitors in the world’s fourth largest beer market.
Andre Gustavo, managing director at Wieden + Kennedy in Sao Paulo, said it also reinforced the brand’s “cool” image and attracted new customers.
“One like, one balloon was developed to celebrate reaching one million Facebook fans. One year later, we’ve increased the fan base to 1.65 million,” he said. “There was an increase in both sales and brand awareness for Heineken across the whole of 2012, and while we can’t tell for sure how much of it came from one like, one balloon, it was a good kick start,” he added.
Grey Poupon: ‘The society of good taste’
Most brands’ online marketing campaigns are designed to attract as many new followers as possible. But in September, French Dijon mustard maker Grey Poupon took a different approach.
The brand set up a Facebook page named ‘The society of good taste’. Instead of asking Facebook users to like the page, Grey Poupon asked them to apply for ‘membership’.
The company then used an application to scan users’ likes and interests and assigned them a score which determined if they had enough taste to join. Users who failed the test were denied membership.
Refusing potential customers access to promotional web pages is a risky tactic, but it paid off for Grey Poupon and attracted media attention from around the world, as well as thousands of new fans. And by curating its following, the brand was able to reinforce its luxury image and stand out from cheaper competitors.
Domino’s crowdsourcing ‘Think Oven’
Capitalising on the growing popularity of crowdsourcing, pizza maker Domino’s attempted to improve customer relations in February 2012 by launching a Facebook platform named ‘The Think Oven’.
The Think Oven allowed fans to post suggestions on how the Domino’s customer experience could be improved. Users were also invited to contribute ideas to live business development projects such as the introduction of new staff uniforms. Those who submitted the best suggestions were rewarded with cash prizes.
The campaign was part of an initiative to increase customer loyalty and change negative perceptions of the chain. It followed the launch of a new Domino’s product, Parmesan Bread Bites, at the suggestion of a franchise owner in Ohio.
The Think Oven received a positive response from consumers around the world. It attracted thousands of likes and more than 650 suggestions were put forward for the new staff uniform project alone. It also helped strengthen Domino’s relationship with consumers by allowing them to air their grievances and have a say in the company’s future.
Coca-Cola & The New York Times’ timeline tactics
When Facebook replaced its profile layout with a more customisable timeline design in April last year, brand owners had to rethink their marketing strategies.
The new look is designed to allow users to tell their life story in a single page. It gives companies more room to display logos, products and promotional images, but it has also meant that to stand out, brands must create inventive ‘life stories’, too—which is exactly what Coca-Cola and The New York Times did.
“REFUSING POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS ACCESS TO PROMOTIONAL WEB PAGES IS A RISKY TACTIC, BUT IT PAID OFF FOR GREY POUPON AND ATTRACTED MEDIA ATTENTION FROM AROUND THE WORLD.”
The newspaper posted photographs, headlines and journalistic exclusives from the 1800s to the present day on its timeline, recounting investigative milestones for an audience that may be too young to remember them, and that reads most of its news on the web.
Coca-Cola used its timeline to remind an increasingly health-conscious audience that it has been a much loved brand in the US and beyond since 1886, posting aged letters from satisfied consumers and recommendations from World War I soldiers.
This use of archived content coupled with brand trivia promoted a sense of nostalgia and loyalty among consumers, and is a perfect example of how to build a successful and spam-free Facebook profile.
Nike’s Olympic greatness
Adidas paid $60 million to be the official sponsor of last year’s London Olympics but through its ‘Find Your Greatness’ campaign, Nike generated a bigger following than its rival during the event.
Exploiting the excitement surrounding the Games, Nike encouraged people to take part in a sport of their choice and share their own physical achievements through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by posting photographs and recording details of their workouts.
The company also posted adverts featuring amateur athletes competing and exercising in places called London around the world, from a 12-year-old boy jogging in London, Ohio, to a female boxer throwing punches in Little London, Jamaica.
According to social media analytics platform Socialbakers, there were more than 16,000 tweets associating Nike with the word ‘Olympic’ between July 27 and August 2, compared to just 9,295 for Adidas. Nike also attracted 166,718 new Facebook fans during the Games, while Adidas garnered 80,761.
Nike avoided ambush marketing penalties by making no specific reference to the London 2012 Olympics, but the statistics suggest that thousands will have associated the brand with the event.
BMI’s Pinterest lottery
UK airline British Midlands International (BMI) was sold to British Airways in February last year. Keen to promote its summer sale and divert attention away from the buyout, BMI launched a Pinterest campaign named ‘the BMI Pinterest lottery’.
BMI uploaded a series of numbered photographs featuring the company’s logo. It invited Pinterest users to ‘repin’ six of these photos on their own virtual pinboards before selecting six of the photos at random. Users who had repinned the same six were awarded with free flights.
The campaign was a simple, cheap and fun way to attract a large number of followers on a rapidly growing platform. At the same time, BMI promoted its seasonal offers and by encouraging users to share photographs it owned the rights to, the airline avoided causing or encouraging users to commit copyright infringement.
BCBG’s ‘I Do’ contest
Since its invention in 2010, Pinterest has been used by followers around the world to curate virtual wishlists, pinning glossy images of dream destinations, designer wedding dresses and luxury goods with price tags to match. Thousands of brides-to-be use the site to plan their big day and to search for some wedding ‘Pinspiration’.
Tapping into this trend, women’s fashion brand BCBG launched a campaign with wedding blog Ruffled, encouraging readers to create a Pinterest board planning a wedding on a budget of $5,000 and including at least three items from the BCBG store. Completed boards were then entered into a competition, and the winner received $5,000 and a free BCBG bridal dress.
BCBG’s campaign worked because it combined product promotion with free giveaways and also tested users’ creativity. For Pinterest users, planning a budget wedding was more fun than simply entering a competition and for BCBG, the amount of time consumers spent interacting with the brand increased significantly.
Twitter American Express: Twitter Sync
In June 2011, credit card provider American Express linked with Foursquare to reward users with loyalty cards when checking in to particular destinations. In July, it teamed up with Facebook to deliver deals based on customer’s Facebook likes. In 2012, AmEx took to Twitter.
Launched in March, Twitter Sync allowed users to sync their AmEx cards with their Twitter accounts by registering at sync.americanexpress.com/ twitter. AmEx then tweeted special offer hashtags such as #amexcoffee and when users retweeted, couponless discounts were loaded on to their cards. Participating retailers included Whole Foods Market and McDonald’s.
As well as encouraging people to use their AmEx cards, the Twitter Sync campaign stimulated Twitter users to actively promote AmEx’s products and promotions and rewarded people with substantial savings for doing so.
In 2013, AmEx has taken this relationship with Twitter one step further and customers can now buy some items simply by hashtagging tweets. Customers who use the hashtag #BuyAmexGiftCard25 will automatically purchase a $25 gift card, and physical items from Xboxes to Kindle Fires can also be purchased just by tweeting.
For AmEx customers, Twitter Sync offers a flexible, portable one-click shopping method and exclusive discounts. For AmEx, it ensures users continue to share, like, follow and promote the brand online.
This article was first published on 01 March 2013 in World IP Review
Social media, brands, marketing, Twitter, Facebook