With the proliferation of social media, more and more organizations are realizing its value as a marketing and public relations tool. As such, we now have a multitude of examples that provide lessons on what to do and not to do when it comes to social media campaign planning and execution. We’ve recently seen two great examples of both.
Old Spice launched a campaign in Februrary around the Old Spice Guy with a television ad themed, “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” This initial ad campaign recently climaxed this month with a flurry of 180 YouTube videos personalized for fans and celebrities alike. The original ad attracted 19 million views, with this latest “Old Spice Responses” campaign resulting in 5.9 million views and 22,500 comments, all since the middle of July.
What’s great about the campaign is how Old Spice and marketing agency Wieden + Kennedy used viewers to go viral, noting that brands don’t make viral videos, users do. To achieve viral success, they not only sent customized video responses to random individuals, but also to celebrities like Alyssa Milano and Ellen DeGeneres. The campaign also took a positive approach, offering valuable, but funny advice, as opposed to a shocking or over-the-top attitude to help the content go viral. This approach made people want to be a part of the experience.
On the other hand, in an effort to be seen as edgy and youthful, Dr. Pepper launched a Facebook campaign in the U.K. with ad agency Lean Mean Fighting Machine (LMFM) that used Chat Roulette as part of April Fool’s jokes by “punking” users, showing them a cheerleader to get their attention then switching her out for someone less desirable. Later, LMFM led a campaign that gave consumers a chance to win £1,000 if they allowed the brand to take control of their status updates on Facebook. This campaign eventually offended a 14-year-old girl (and her parents) with an inappropriate message.
Dr. Pepper later apologized and no longer works with LMFM. This shock value-based campaign backfired. Lesson: when you’re testing the boundaries of good taste, the chances that something could go wrong are extremely high.
The best defense against such risks is a clearly thought out plan of action that spans the life of a campaign. For example, take a look at the tag lines for each campaign.
Old Spice – We make anti-perspirant and laughter.
Dr. Pepper – What’s the worst that could happen?
The difference is obvious. Using new media in interesting ways is just one aspect of successful branding. Consider the following tips before launching a social media campaign:
- Listen: Before you or your company can be a part of the conversation, you need to know what people are already talking about so you can determine how best to contribute.
- Know who you are: Successful companies are the ones that have gotten us interested in their story to the point where we want to share it with others.
- Set rules of engagement: Make sure your company has a social media policy in place that offers guidelines to your employees on the appropriate way to engage in online conversations.
- Determine objectives: Decide what your objectives are before diving into tactics – “we want a viral video” is not an objective.
- Set your metrics: Don’t enter social media until you know what you want to get out of it. Success can include building buzz, more website traffic, increased blog subscribers/leads, etc.
- Consider costs: It’s free to set up a Facebook page or send tweets, but think about staff costs, external fees, supplementary advertising and monitoring software.
- Engage genuinely: Once you decide on what platform you want to engage, do so with sincerity, responsiveness and positivity.
- Access success: Since you already have decided on what success looks like, examine what went right and what could be improved.
Old Spice has set the bar high. Can your next campaign measure up?