It is now the year 2013 and every person involved in marketing should know how important it is to talk about how important digital is. Talk. It’s become a sort of ambiguous buzz word like cool hunting and search engine optimisation. When in doubt it’s advised that you throw it in that a campaign needs a digital framework and heads will nod knowingly in your direction.
Digitally, a campaign’s potential can be transformed from the kind of communication which is easily ignored and forgotten to the kind of communication which is engaging and memorable. I’m now going to do a count down of what I think are the most inspiring and memorable digital campaigns of 2012, the kind of communication which could never exist without digital.
There are six because I originally thought I had five and didn’t want to cut one out just to make the countdown sound catchier and more manageable so now there are six. There are seven.
6. Skittles- Make your own Skittles ad
Skittles are renowned for taking risks when it comes to their ads and have taken a step back from the commercial making process by digitally allowing fans to create their own ads. The agency in charge here, BBDO Toronto, took advantage of the new ‘Gamification’ hype to turn their brand interaction into a game for fans. This allowed fans to really get involved with the brand and create a personal experience for themselves but it also afforded Skittles some control as users could only make the ad based on a number of responses given in a set scenario, a little like the tippex campaign from 2010:
Nevertheless 42,237 people made their own Skittles ad and a further 5,749 shared theirs on social media, securing their image as a fun brand.
5. Coke- Share a Coke
This campaign was aimed at Australian teens. Research showed that 50% of Australian youths had never tried a Coke. The brand is like a beautiful, loud, ‘only child’ at a party in that if it’s not everyone’s favourite then it quickly makes enough noise until it becomes everyone’s favourite. The campaign revolved around mass personalisation of Coke cans in which the message ‘Share a Coke’ was digital and interactive and EVERYWHERE. The campaign caught the media’s attention too which always helps. The idea was that people could have their names printed on Coke cans and see their name in lights. Queues for the kiosks printing these names were hours long which reflects the success of the concept. Also sales went up by 7% amongst the teens and the brand successfully managed to wedge itself into popular culture again.
4. Stride Gum- The worlds longest click
Stride Gum is an American chewing gum brand who wanted to spread the message that the flavor in their chewing gum is long lasting. Yes this is a boring message but Stride managed to deliver it in an intriguing way.They developed an addictive and straightforward game which involved challenging players to last as long as possible on a banner ad game by holding down on a moving target for prolonged periods of time . The winner, who lasted 46 minutes received $500. It was perfect, a simple and addictive game with a monitory end goal. The game also tied in beautifully with their brand message, our chewing gum lasts a long time, you do not.
3. Dollar Shave Club.com- Our blades are fucking great.
It’s a good sign if you fall outside of the campaign target market but yet hear of and love a campaign such as this one. Dollar Shave Club have gone down the Old Spice route ( ‘The man your man could smell like’ campaign). Humour and great copy writing have replaced the need for a big budget as this ad was made in house. The brand have asked men to stop getting carried away with frivolous technology by making a tongue in cheek ad that could never have been aired on television. The offering itself is also great which helps give the ad plenty of relevance but a start up company like this one needs an absorbing ad to get the initial attention it needs. This ad earned Dollar Shave Club 3 million views within the first two weeks.
McDonald’s is similar to attention seeking Coke except it’s more like an overweight, know-it-all at the top of the class, claiming to have all the answers. This campaign however did tick a lot of digital boxes. McDonald’s noticed after much research that they were developing a negative image in Canada, people thought they’re food was unhealthy and poorly prepared which was startling and upsetting for the big fat fast food brand. Unwilling to take this lying down, McDonald’s developed a campaign based on transparency. To achieve this they set up a website in which everyone was invited to publicly ask a question based on McDonald’s and the issues they may have with the food or service. Certain questions were then selected and a video response was designed for each.
Over 6000 questions were asked, increasing transparency and engagement with customers.
1. Red Bull- Felix Jump
As I’ve said before, the sign of a very good ad is that it doesn’t seem like an ad, the sneakiest thing the devil ever did was to convince the world that he didn’t exist and all that. People hate being sold to. That is exactly why the Red Bull sponsorship of the Felix Baumgartner jump was quite unique. The video captured public interest and was spread virally, seen to add something to the online cultural dialogue. The brand logo was present but the product was not mentioned once during the video yet is subtly linked with the viral sensation and this exciting stunt. Instead of trying to be the center of attention, the presence of the brand logo gently lets the viewer know that if it wasn’t for Red bull then this event would not be taking place.
Now this final one doesn’t make it into the top six because it’s not a very serious or strategic campaign nor do I think it was designed to boost sales but it is my personal favourite. It is funny. This video was made in the space of a week in response to a genuine facebook comment made by a man on the Bodyform facebook page. Here the man claimed that many of the old Bodyform adverts had been misleading and created a false image of what a period is like. This was the response:
Bodyform- The truth
Well done internet.