Monday, December 31, 2012

5 IMPORTANT THINGS you can learn from 5 exemplary marketing phenomenons of 2012

First of all, this list is not another top 10 ad campaigns or social media: it’s not about fun AD campaign or smart social media use, it is about real  original marketing thin king translated into an integration of various channels & modes of communications: they can each teach us something new & groundbreaking when it comes to approaching  the strategic direction of a brand or a company: the reason I have selected them is that I believe that less & less marketers are actually looking after the deep health of the brand they manage but rather busy chasing the latest impressive cosmetic fix:

  • The rediscovery of vertue & relevance of a mastebrand portoflio: P&G’s “Thank you Mom” for the Olympics:
On Mother's Day 2012, P&G launched a campaign called "Thank You, Mom." Throughout the campaign, P&G featured Olympic athletes training from a young age, and emphasized the impact their mothers had on their lives. The "Thank You, Mom" campaign also included the "Raising an Olympian" video series to highlight specific athletes' experiences;
For a company whose products or services aren't directly related to sporting goods, P&G managed to speak to both mothers, homemakers, sun & daughters that we all are at some point with an overarching , fundamental emotional message /dimension , also generating more coverage for this campaign than many other masterbrands like Nike whose products were more naturally & historically linked to the Olympics. Each "Raising an Olympian" video received close to 1 million views, and the main "Thank You, Mom" video received about 53 million views !
The lesson here is very simple: through an effective use of “newsjacking”, P&G not only leveraged the popularity of a major, worldwide event, but they also stood out with relevance , true to the core values of their brand portfolio & corporate mission and the key consumer groups they cater to across the board…  As a result, they were also able to attract a lot of media coverage and thus, reach a global audience. When you're coming up with your next marketing campaign, think about ways you can expand its reach to more people and in a universal yet focused way  ? 

  • Best Sponsorship/branded content : the Red Bull Stratos project: talk about integrated, core to the heart & values of a brand & standing out:
When one thinks of Red Bull, one might remember their creative tagline, "Red Bull gives you wings." Well this year, Red Bull decided to put that tagline into the hearts and minds of their audience by hiring Austrian extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner to break the world record of the longest freefall jump of 128,000 feet above the Earth, reaching the high speed of 833.9 miles per hour. Talk about intense!
Over 8 million people watched the jump live, and over 30 million people have relived the jump on YouTube since then. Furthermore, the live jump was shown by over 40 TV stations and 130 digital outlets. Red Bull's Facebook photo of the jump generated 216,000 likes, 10,000 comments, and over 29,000 shares. The jump was also a trending topic on Twitter worldwide.
Breaking world records is always an exciting way to garner some attention. Red Bull's jump also aligned with its tagline, "Red Bull gives you wings." As a marketer, you always want to make sure your marketing campaigns are aligning with your company's mission and the interests of your audience. You may not always have the opportunity to break a world record, but an important lesson from Red Bull is to remember that your company's culture and mission should also be taken into consideration when executing any campaign.Plus this event was totally consistent with the line of events that Red Bull sponsors around the world such as FlugTag, Air race etc… 
  • Guerilla tactics & social buzz marathon: the 2012 Obama presidential campaign: and it’s not here because of the content of the political platform or quality of his record but how it was played;
Of course, there was the magnitude of the biggest brand war ever waged (with budgets expected to top $4.2 Bn by Nov. 2, amounting to what is essentially the biggest product launch /Ad campaign even conducted  Even global advertisers like Procter & Gamble (4.18Bn) or the Coca-Cola Companies (2.5Bn) spend less across their entire portfolio of brands (over 300 for Procter, more than 500 for Coca-Cola)…
Of course, Republicans had a huge Women’s sympathy deficit, an Hispanic problem…Of course, the GOP failed by focusing too exclusively on white men : as Marketers crafting campaigns would be wise to remember, GOP strategist Chuck Warren who mused that “To be frank, we’re a Mad Men party in a ‘Modern Family world.”
And in the last round, hurricane Sandy totally eclipsed the Romney campaign narrative and naturally reinforced the sitting Commander In chief position & credentials for the job in a very emotional yet powerful way.
But more importantly, there was a consistent set of smartly designed & crafted guerilla tactics, largely driven by digital research & channels: a large portion of the cash raised online came through an intricate, metric-driven e-mail campaign in which dozens of fundraising appeals went out each day. Here again, data collection and analysis were paramount. Many of the e-mails sent to supporters were just tests, with different subject lines, senders and messages. Inside the campaign, there were office pools on which combination would raise the most money, and often the pools got it wrong.
Another astute insight uncovered by the campaign strategists was the importance of the ‘understands problems of people like me’ question” as into the summer, Romney was in the teens in this category, the choice was made: the onetime campaign of hope and change soon began a sustained advertising assault that cast Romney as a heartless executive, a man who willingly fires people and is disconnected from how average Americans live their lives — an approach reinforced by Romney’s mistakes along the way.
There was also the smart Facebook leverage: the O campaign used Facebook to "replicate the door-knocking efforts of field organizers" on a mass scale. During the final weeks of the campaign, Obama's supporters received pictures of their friends in swing states. They were then urged to click a button asking the swing state voters to register to vote, vote early or get to the polls. The campaign found that the tactic worked 20% of the time "in large part because the message came from someone they knew."
In the Chicago H.Q, the campaign recruited a team of behavioral scientists to build an extraordinarily sophisticated database packed with names of millions of undecided voters and potential supporters. The ever-expanding list let the campaign find and register new voters who fit the demographic pattern of Obama backers and methodically track their views through thousands of telephone calls every night.
That allowed the Obama campaign not only to alter the very nature of the electorate, making it younger and less white, but also to create a portrait of shifting voter allegiances. The power of this operation stunned Mr. Romney’s aides on election night, as they saw voters they never even knew existed turn out in places like Osceola County, Fla. “It’s one thing to say you are going to do it; it’s another thing to actually get out there and do it,” said Brian Jones, a senior adviser. In the end, the result was an electorate that was far less white, and far younger, than Republicans had ever anticipated.
Without the clear financial advantage it had in the 2008 battle, the Obama campaign relied more on the tools of micro-marketing than on the oratorical gifts of the nation’s first black president. Above & beyond the gravitas of the well written inspirational speeches, the president focused on Romney. Meanwhile, his campaign spoke early and often with “persuadable” voters, selected for targeted e-mails and doorstep visits through demographic data unavailable last time.

  • Best Retail revival: TacoBell Doritos & new menu roll out are building the chain's customer base. To start, the popular Doritos Locos Tacos introduced earlier this year are improving perceptions about the brand among its core customers of young men.Meanwhile, the introduction of higher-quality "Cantina Bowls," positioned as an alternative to more expensive competitor Chipotle, are bringing in more women.
Who would have ever thought that fast-food Mexican chain Taco Bell, faced with sagging sales in 2011, would find life again in a taco with a Doritos-flavored shell The Doritos Locos Taco was launched in March of 2012, and with more than 200 million units sold, it has become the chain’s best-selling new product ever, even helping to lift profits for Yum! Brands, Taco Bell’s parent company, by 23 percent. To put some perspective on that number, McDonald’s sold its first 100 million burgers in 1958 – 18 years after the first McDonald’s burger stand opened, and three years after Ray Kroc started his first McDonald’s franchise… The company credits much of the DLT’s success to marketing campaigns using Instagram and Twitter.Their CMO stated that the way they thought about launching was, What’s the story? “We wouldn’t have sold 100 million Doritos Locos Tacos in the first ten weeks if all we did was say, It’s a new product and you’re going to love it because it’s now made with Doritos. We really listened in a different way for this program, to what people were tweeting and saying on Facebook. And that’s how we got our launch execution. We found out this kid drove 900 miles to Ohio get a hold of a DLT during the market testing, and it became inspiration for the commercial. It’s been a real breakthrough for us, in terms of turning our brand into an experience around stories shared. Most recently, we’ve got an ad on TV that is told through all the Instagram pictures that everybody is taking of the DLT, and we’ve done Twitter campaigns where we post people’s tweets about the DLT on billboards in Times Square and Sunset Blvd…”
Not only this innovation became a powerful commercial success story but it also turned an entire marketing approach around the customers…Talk about full bloom customer centric marketing transformation !

  • Just spreading fun Gangnam style: well, this one is not really a marketing strategy but simply an organic phenomenon: like the Macarena or other Lambada in the 90’s, it took the world by storm:
We all know by now that it became the first video in the history of the Internet to be viewed more than a billion times and it is the most watched video on YouTube, after surpassing Justin Bieber's single "Baby”…it’s not highly sophisticated, this Hip Hop Korean guy dancing like a cow-girl is just so much fun to watch, you just want to get along: it’s a tribal thing, a universal totemic symbol of being light & silly despite any gloom of reality, worth seeing for its caricature of contemporary Asian and American urban lifestyles-it turns out that the video is rich with subtle references that, along with the song itself, suggest a subtext with a surprisingly subversive message about class and wealth in contemporary South Korean society…
The label behind Gangnam, YG Entertainment, had a plan long before the video went live. They knew they wanted to break into new markets and started building a platform they would be able to push content out on. Looking at their various YouTube channels they had 2.5 million subscribers pre-Gangnam and had achieved in the region of 1.6 billion views of musicians’ videos across those channels. Having these subscribers is key and meant they could get a high number of views in a short space of time helping them quickly gain shares and get featured in YouTube’s daily chart.
After debuting  at number one in the Korean Pop Chart and gain 500k views on its launch day mid July,
 the video started to build global momentum the next month, but the volume of tweets and searches rose at a far slower rate than later on in the campaign, and predominantly featured traffic and search emerging from South Korea.
In mid-July there were then a few further tweets from @AllKPop, relating to the video's general profile, sales of the song as a ringtone doing well etc, but nothing out of the ordinary. Although much has been made of the impact of various celebrity supportive tweets, my interpretation is that mainstream media coverage initially brought it to many people's, including celebrities attention.
On 30th July Gawker wrote it up leading to 19k in Facebook likes/shares. I believe this lead to Billboard writing it up and the barrage of well followed celebrity tweets that followed, all pushing lots of traffic to YouTube.
There was no stopping Psy after this, with coverage in Time Magazine and Mashable followed. The next big announcement came on September 3rd when a YouTube video showing Psy drinking a shot with Scooter Braun, who is best known for managing Justin Bieber. This shot wasn’t just some friends catching up over a drink it was the start of them working together and marked Gangnam for big things in the states.
Activity over the next two weeks triggered the biggest spike in the entire campaign, as Scooter Braun made some inspired media bookings. Alongside these bookings, Scooter also has a contact book to die for and his own artists have some of the largest marketing databases in the world, all of whom Psy now had access to.
Thanks to Scooter Braun, Psy appeared at the MTV Awards as a last minute guest and alongside another of Scooter's clients, before going on to make his first appearance on the TV Show Ellen alongside Britney Spears. Britney (of course) tweeted this, creating a huge 1.3m tweets containing the term "Gangnam Style" over those few days alone. Just as growth started to slow again, Scooter got Psy a spot on NBC Today show, and a second appearance on Ellen, that triggered a final but forceful spike in searches, tweets and video likes.
Imagine if you are a marketer wise enough to get associated with this type of thing, how much groove & exposure you can just gain…But be reminded that like any tribal thing, it will be forgotten in a global glimpse, moving on to the next gimmick of the moment. So not much long term , multidimensional brand building on this one…but still a good trick not to forget, especially if you are a brand in need of instant global recognition.

CONCLUSION: What these 5 stories show is a set of very different modes of communicating in a 21st century global environment of the most competitive & crowded marketplace: from catching attention to surprising with a real innovation  or capturing imagination, from convincing to inspiring , making news or just feeding or entertaining, these 5 cases give new pointers for modern marketers to score big. It proves that not one channel or marketing vehicle is prevalent or serves a a magic bullet  but rather that a daring, passionate & integrated  big idea executed with the right strategy & grassroots tactics can make a global success.

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