Posts Tagged ‘Brand Awareness’

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Viral Efforts from Switzerland

November 10, 2009

Having to complete my MSc Marketing dissertation combined with striving for perfection has unfortunately meant I have had no time left for blogging during the past few months. However, my hard work has paid off and I am very pleased with my achievements, the result and all the valuable knowledge I have gained. In my dissertation research I came across a variety of viral marketing cases and I would like to discuss some of them further here and in my next posts.

Mary Woodbridge – Mammut Sports Group AG

The Swiss brand for technical outwear Mammut has had some impressive global headlines back in 2005/2006 with their campaign called “Mary Woodbridge”. The campaign was made by the Swiss marketing agency Spillmann / Felser / Leo Burnett who came up with the story of Mary Woodbridge in December 2005. The campaign featured an 85-year old lady from Greenfield, UK, who planned an expedition to mount Mount Everest with her dachshund after having bought a Mammut winter jacket of such superior quality that unexpectedly, the elderly lady felt empowered to master any challenge. They created an interactive webpage showing her expedition training, introducing her dog and expedition partner “Daisy”, training sessions, a guestbook and movies (see here). As well as her age Mary’s story hits controversy as she planed to use a direct route from the base camp to the top, rather than using the suggested route offering four additional intermediate camps to rest. In addition, she wanted to dispense with the use of Sherpas as well as the use of an oxygen mask, as there are no such masks for her dog Daisy.

Woodbridge's wishful thinking

Woodbridge's wishful thinking

Having created a very insightful webpage, which seems to show that Mary Woodbridge had thought through everything and was more or less ready to go the only missing point seemed to be funding. In order to cover the financial side of her plans, “she” contacted major mountain equipment companies, international media, climbing magazines to request sponsorship for her and Daisy’s trip. A number of ads are placed in mountaineering magazines and internet forums were consulted for useful tips and advice. A great way to create buzz within the climbing and mountaineering scene and the social networking space. Quickly climbers, alpinists and bloggers discovered Mary, her story and webpage and soon after she hit the headlines. Once the story took off, media coverage and online discussions on forums, discussion boards and social networking sites were mounting. Globally, 250 newspapers, magazines and TV broadcasts reported about Mary, wishing her the best of luck for her undertaking. For some examples please see the list below:

Woodbridge Press Coverage

Woodbridge Press Coverage

Once the buzz reached it’s peak the story was revealed  by Mammut stepping out of the dark with the slogan:

“Equipment this good can cause a loss of common sense”.


Initially, clips like the one above were shown without Mammut’s branding at the end. Bringing Mary Woodbridge to life was the start of Mammut’s new marketing communications strategy that intended to promote their core value of mountaineering safety of best Swiss quality. Their intention was to remind sportsmen that the ever improving Mammut gear offering increased safety, does not justify unnecessary risk-taking. Follow up advertisements of Mammut built on the Mary Woodbridge story and the above introduced slogan, please see below.

Overly confident skier in Mammut gear is pissing bikers off...

Overly confident skier in Mammut gear is annoying bikers...

Moreover, point of sale and magazine advertisements were supporting the Woodbridge campain, which helpet to increase the buzz as well as to promote the campaign’s message (if you want to download Mammut’s promotional brochure with Mary’s story please click here). Another case, showing that the combination of online and offline marketing efforts has a positive outcome on a campaign’s objectives.

The publicity campaign was a huge success in terms of awareness creation and international brand disclosure and was also awarded with numerous awards such as the Swiss advertising film award (EDI Award), the Swiss Marketing Trophy, the Crossmedia Award, the Epica Award, the ADC in Switzerland, ADC bronze in Germany and silver at the New York Festival.

Leaves – Zimtstern GmbH

Staying within the area of Swiss technical outwear, I came across a clip by Zimtstern, a Swiss snowboard and street clothing brand. The clip was directed by Marco Lutz,  a Swiss film director, who has been responsible for a variety of memorable cult snowboard movies, which have been a worldwide success and produced by Stefan Bircher. Matching to this winter’s collection by Zimtstern, which is following the theme of “wildlife” the idea around “leaves” came to life. Hence, the viewer is surprised with classy snowboarding on a nice sunny day in fall, on leaves and as fas as the eye can see – no sign of snow!

From a viral marketing perspective, a viral video requires certain key characteristics in order to appeal to a wide audience. In my research about “The Strategic Use of Viral Marketing amongst Social Networks” I identified the following key content criteria: entertaining, compelling, creative, relevant to target audience, adding value to viewer, share worthy, engaging, simple, interesting, honest, shocking/surprising, short, unique and new. Watching the leaves spot I am very keen to say: this spot, if seeded successfully, has got all the potential to become a huge viral success within the snow sports industry and reward Zimtstern in terms of an increased brand awareness. It has only been two months and the clip has already received considerable coverage from bloggers, forums, magazines, social networking sites and is placed on several video sharing sites. Additionally, the clip is free to download on www.zimtstern.com, which supports the ease of viral spread.

And because it has been so nice, please see below the making of the spot “leaves” by junior film maker Pierre Castillo Bernad.

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Marketing Strategy: Comparethemeerkat.com

May 14, 2009

Alexander Mikhailovich Orlov was a Soviet espionage administrator, who defected to the U.S. in 1938, warned Leon Trotsky of his impending assassination (read more here). Nevertheless, for the last four months “Aleksandr Orlov” the meerkat with a Russian accent broadcasts on TV in order to reassure people that they should not get confused between the two pages; comparethemarket.com and comparethemeerkat.com. He explains that lately many people have been misspelling the words when looking for price-comparison site Compare The Market in search engines and landing on his page Compare The Meerkat when trying to find a cheap car insurance. If you have not seen the TV ad yet, please see it yourself:

I remember seeing that clip for the first time and wondering a little about its sense. However, despite some doubts the ad caught my attention as well as the attention of many others. Being curious I went to investigate a bit to find out more myself. Compare The Market is a price-comparison website, which aims to provide its customers with the most beneficial and cheapest quotes from various major organisations offering car, travel or home insurances; credit cards; mortgages; loans etc. Some examples of such organisations include The AA, HSBC, Nationwide and the Post Office. Compare The Meerkat is a site founded by the Russian meerkat entrepreneur Alexandr, who claims to be a member of the Russian aristocracy and lives in Moscow. His site provides information about various meerkats, their origins, hobbies and favourite activities. A month later another clip appears, where he claims that there is a big difference between his page, comparethemeerkat.com and the price-comparison site comparethemarket.com, by playing both jingles that sound pretty much identical.

Aleksandr Orlov's Twitter Page

Aleksandr Orlov's Twitter Page

After getting lots of positive response and people liking these adverts, Aleksander did not rest on his laurels. He created an account on social networking site Twitter gaining great response within only a few days and currently has 14,935 followers (see his page here). Hence, Aleksandr took advantage craftily of the numerous branding and social networking opportunities delivered by Twitter.

Matching his character his account provides funny and light-hearted content, which is also adding value through a personal touch to the brand itself as well as and additional level of online customer support. According to Revolutionmagazine Aleksandr even encouraged his Twitter followers to leave statements on how they like the business in order to create a testimonial area on Comparethemeerkat.com with their comments and photographs (read full story here).

Aleksandr also has created a Facebook page (here you can see his profile) with stunning 409,565 “fans” where he similarly to Twitter discusses funny stories and jokes with people who have signed up for him.

Aleksandr Orlov on Facebook

Aleksandr Orlov on Facebook

Both, Twitter and Facebook show high potential for customer interaction and also very high response rate from people involved. In marketing terms that can be seen as brand management and reputation building from a funny and relaxed perspective: people start to like Aleksandr and part of their affection will be transformed to Compare The Market eventually. Moreover, there is also a profile on YouTube (see here) where people have signed up as followers and leave comments on the videos. It seems that people are highly enthusiastic in communicating with Aleksandr. On all pages high interaction between customers and “Aleksandr” is apparent, which represents an essential element for successful social networking.

With reference to George Everett, the creator of the campaign states in Marketing Magazine:

“Facebook and Twitter are fantastic media for us as they allow us to build a conversation with consumers,’ he says. ‘People only insure their cars once a year but we will be at the front of mind.”

Only recently a new character has been introduced “Sergej” the one who is responsible for IT and seems to be an important part within Aleksandr’s company – and also gives the brand another mascot. His appearance gains greater importance and he has even received a role in the newest clip, that came out two weeks ago:

Compare The Market have created a spoof on their own name and perfectly combined online with offline efforts within their marketing concept by combining above-the-line advertisement such as print, TV and radio with below-the-line advertisement such as social networks and web pages. This shows that new media are even stronger if combined with traditional methods, if applied effectively so that one can boost the other in the most efficient way.

With reference to Marketingmagazine the responsible agency VCCP had the clear brief to boost the brand name “Compare The Market” in order to generate brand awareness and to stand out in a very crowded market. Hence, return on investment has been achieved clearly as brand recall is ensured massively – I am sure that people will definitely remember the brand, as VCCP have done a great job.

In SEO terms, which is the concept of optimising the ability of others to find your brand’s online appearance best possible when using a web search engine such as Google or Yahoo, Compare The Market have also succeeded. Having an account on the most popular social networks boosts a brand in extremely high positions on web search engines. By building brand awareness via social media, this also allows them to have a direct influence towards increasing online traffic and finally their sales.

This entire campaign is a brilliant piece achieving a viral effect that does not seem to stop spreading. Definitely an outbreak in promotion by combining online and offline efforts. It shows how successful a clear marketing strategy can be, when created properly by applying currently popular tools. They took advantage of the popularity of social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in order to build a platform for interaction with their “fans”. I am sure some people may argue whether having lots of followers supports their business, but once more I believe that awareness creation, which is achieved perfectly in this case, has a long-lasting effect that will stay in mind. And if you ever should require cheap car insurance… I am sure you will remember Aleksandr and give their page a go – if this is not successful marketing, then please tell me why!

And because its so nice…here some more of Aleksandr!

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CWS – say no to dirt!

April 18, 2009

cws-logoViral marketing, as already discussed in previous blog entries enjoys increased popularity and respect amongst marketers. Various campaigns have emerged out of nowhere and pleased online users with creative, funny and somehow unique content. One of them came from the German organisation “Complete Washroom Soulutions” CWS two years ago in 2007 and is, in my opinion, well worthy to be mentioned.

CWS chose the way of celebrity endorsement. They enlisted supermodel and actress Milla Jovovich for their video promotion to add a little bit of style, coolness and sex appeal. The scene shows her in a posh nightclub in a toilet stall, kneeing on the floor and preparing to snort a line of the drug cocaine from a toilet seat. Unfortunately for her, the toilet seat’s automated sanitary mechanism gets activated and the seat starts to rotate in order to clean itself. Milla keeps trying to get her nose full, but she is too slow and her initial shocked face reveals a massive scream that makes the other ladies who are in the bathroom wonder… the viewer is left a few seconds and then the message “say no to dirt” appears. But see it yourself, if you have not seen it yet.

Not only a very appropriate slogan for a toilet solutions maker, but also a great way to highlight a situation that is a well known problem for many bars and clubs. They advertise their product by offering a solution to a common “problem” (a clean seat for everyone at any time) and also make a statement about drug abuse. In my view they can be given some credit for a small contribution of corporate social responsibility. With 1,091,485 views on social networking site Youtube there must have been certain success through awareness creation and increased web traffic for CWS. “Online you are what you publish” (says David Meerman Scott). In that context, CWS achieved to create a fresh and modern image for themselves with that particular clip. Moreover, raised public awareness of a B2B brand can influence some kind of a pull effect, which generates demand from the end-user up the supply chain. Whilst some may argue its actual value to the company, I think that having your brand name out there is certainly a positive aspect that can have a variety of effects. Brand awareness creation, which involves brand recall and brand recognition, supports strategic brand management when building name recognition for your organisation, service or product.

There may be a connection between an earlier anti-drug campaign that is shown on video sharing site Dailymotion. Unfortunately, I struggle to find any closer information about that one, but here is the video. (I’ll have to warn you, it is certainly not a nice scene to watch and blood is involved… so children under 16 should probably not watch it)

The CWS video promotion is considered as excellent by various experts such as David Meerman-Scott or Marketingprofs, because it shows that really every brand can go viral, no matter whether B2B or B2C as well as no matter what product type. Even a product that may be rather considered as “boring” and “unexciting” such as a toilet can create buzz and become memorable through its marketing. It does not always need to be a highly fancy consumer product, but the way it is presented must be somehow special. Granfield from Marketingmag reports that brand advertisement can become remarkable by telling a story (if you have a few spare minutes, read his article: “How to get the world’s attention without being remarkable” here, I think it is brilliant!) This matches with what I referred to in one of my previous blog entries: create content that engages and excites your target audience. Nevertheless, the product or service must be of a certain value and quality – marketing can do lots, but it’s certainly no magician that turns “rubbish” into profit. Well… it actually did work with some brands, but that is my personal opinion and I do not want to cause any offence by mentioning names. 😉

In the end viral marketing could be referred to as “online gossip”. As long as you create something that makes people pass it on, remember and discuss it you have definitely secured “your foot in the door”. People love stories, otherwise things like books, TV and cinemas would not really work. I am sure nearly every one of us is guilty of having been involved in some form of “gossip”. Now, just apply the gossip to marketing, think how you can make the people you want to get interested in your story and get started!