Old Spice Hands Out The Cash

18 June 2009

Everyone loves cash – plain and simple.  While some promotions have prizes and trips and the like, Old Spice is launching a new campaign that is all about winning cash.  The campaign – Swaggerize Your Wallet – provides actually lots of ways to win cash, depending upon how much work you want to put into it – which I think is fair enough.  The campaign is connected to Old Spice’s deodorant line, Swagger, with body spray, deodorant, body wash and more focused on 18 to 24 year old guys (who obviously love cash like the rest of us).  This effort follows the hilarious “SwaggerizeMe” campaign that made it easy for people to create fake articles to show up all over the Internet to make them look “as awesome as possible.”

The challenges are all a bit out there and right on target for the challenge 18 to 24 year old target who needs the right motivation to do anything – something too hard or too cheesy can backfire.  You can win $500 by making a cake in the shape of the Swagger logo, eating it with friends in a Swagger way, videotaping the whole thing and hoping the judges pick yours as the winner.  You can win $1,500 by throwing a Swagger product by at least 65MPH and capturing the whole thing with a radar gun.  Or you can win $2,500 with the old classic “hold up an Old Spice Swagger sign at a big sporting event and be caught on TV.”

The campaign site will have new challenges posted every week, with 2 weeks normally given for people to send in entries to compete.  You can just imagine the great photos and videos – solid Old Spice Swagger content – that will start showing up on YouTube and Flickr and of course all over people’s Facebook profiles too, showing up their cake or fastball.

This is one of my new favorite campaigns for a bunch of reasons.  The challenges have the right balance of effort and return – making a cake to win $500, a cake you can eat so it’s like someone paying you to eat which you have to do anyway.  And the challenges all sort of feel like some 21 year old just randomly thought them up, none have to be explained twice.  And of course the product is in the center of every challenge, so as far as product/brand integration, it’s hard to miss that.

Only thing that could improve would be some added social media connections.  I was unable to find a Twitter feed for the campaign – which you’d think would be an easy way to remind people of the new challenges happening each week.  And nothing on Facebook or YouTube either, but maybe once the campaign kicks off and has some content these areas will pop up too.  And didn’t see a lot of blogger conversations yet about the campaign, was thinking there would be a bloggers-only competition to get the blogosphere talking about the campaign too.

The campaign kicks off this week so we’ll see how it goes.  The good news is that because the campaign is over multiple weeks with more challenges coming up, there is an easy opportunity for the Old Spice people to get some feedback and keep coming up with new challenges, looking for those that really hit the mark and get people talking, playing and videotaping.  Watch this space.

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Starbucks, Toyota, Dell and Qantas Ask

17 June 2009

Building relationships that last, that’s what brands are focusing on more and more these days as everyone thankfully has realized you can’t just keep selling, selling and selling to people.  Building relationships around value (versus buying) is a totally different way of doing business for a lot of brands.  A few brands are ahead of the game on this front, recently simply asking their customers “what do you think.”  Here are a few examples I’ve been watching lately:

IdeaStorm
.  This is where Dell asks people to join in on some crowd-sourcing of ideas on how Dell’s products or services can be improved.  The site has a great “promote” or “demote” functionality that moves ideas up and down the list on the home page, and a really simple navigation to view, post, vote or see ideas that have been offered by the community.

Why Not.  Toyota asks people to provide any idea, large or small, related to a few specific buckets of discussion (i.e., safety, water, land, air, community and energy).  It’s flash-heavy so takes some time to load but once there it’s a nice site to browse around.  The ability to add ideas is easy, as is the ability to browse other people’s ideas and to share with friends or to add to a personal commitment list.

My Starbucks Idea.  Similar to Dell, Starbucks simply asks fans to share, vote, discuss and see ideas that are all centered on making Starbucks a better place.  The site has great real-time lists of recent ideas and leader boards of people making comments.  The site has a nice explanation of what happens to the ideas once submitted – their team of “Idea Partners” review them and see where they could fit at Starbucks and presents them to decision makers who see how the ideas can be put to work.  Overall, a great “Q&A” for reference too.

All of Aus.  This campaign recently launched from Qantas, asking Australia what they love about Australia and showing all of the comments on a very cool designed site.  The plans are to turn the comments into a newspaper insert and some other yet to be unveiled ideas.  It doesn’t have the same “help us change the world” as the other campaigns but a good example of company trying something new to engage its fans.

Next time you are thinking of “what’s next” take a moment to review these and other similar campaigns, focusing on entertaining, engaging and having a conversation with your target audiences instead of selling, selling, selling.  You’ll have more fun in the process and your fans will start seeing you as a valued part of their world, not just someone who keeps asking for money.

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Salvation Army Free Awareness Campaign

16 June 2009

The ongoing financial drama means times are tough for lots of people and companies, including non-profit organisations who rely on public donations to do their great work.  With this in mind some clever people working at the local Salvation Army in Portland in the state of Maine, USA have launched a creative campaign that gets the word out but doesn’t break the bank.

The campaign leverages the signature imagery of the Salvation Army around the world – the well-known shield symbol of the organisation.  Using that as its creative foundation, the organisation reached out to local businesses to secure free blank spaces (anywhere will do) where they can paint or stamp the Salvation Army shield along with a donation message.  Local businesses responded in masses, with store windows, pizza boxes, rocks and even dirt on a back windshield being used to raise awareness and ultimately donations to the charity.

The campaign highlights the overall message of the Salvation Army – making every dollar donated go further.  The creative use of blank spaces that don’t cost anything or that are donated provide a perfect place for the organisation to reference the fact that “83 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the people who need it most.”  This is a great example of a campaign that rocks, sending a message and telling a story simply by the way the campaign has been put together.  And now I’m doing my part, providing my own free space for the campaign, and if you too feel inspired, click here to donate to the Salvation Army – an organisation that works.

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Indie Sydney Radio Station Asks Richard Branson For $1M

15 June 2009

Before the economy drama independent radio stations were already having a tough time, battling not only the mega broadcast radio networks that own multiple stations but also iPods, MySpace music, digital radio and satellite radio, just to name.   But when you throw in reduced advertising dollars it’s easy to see why indie radio stations are hoping to hear a different economic tune soon.

One great indie radio station in Sydney – Fbi – is tackling their financial challenges head on, recently launching a fundraising campaign with one target in mind:  Richard Branson and $1M dollars (or 450,000 British Pounds).  While Sir Richard may not seem like an obvious choice – he’s not Australian and he doesn’t have any connections to independent radio – but he does like one thing . . . publicity.

The campaign – Ask Richard – launched a little over a month ago and works on a simple premise:  get Richard’s attention through some type of publicity stunt or event or something that motivates him to donate $1M to FBi.  If your action/idea/stunt was the catalyst for Richard to hand over some big bucks you get rewarded too – to the tune of $50,000.  (And don’t worry, if Richard donates less based on your idea you still get 5% of whatever he gives.)  The campaign blog site and Twitter activity captures everyone’s amazing ideas and inspires others to do more.

To get Richard’s attention, the station has given its loyal listeners an open playbook – do whatever you think could work to get Richard to write the big check.  And the listeners have responded with a number of amazing ideas, including:

  • Hosting a flash mob wearing Richard masks in front of Sunrise (Australia’s top morning news show) studios when Sir Richard was in town and being interviewed on the show
  • Having a “We Play Til You Pay” all day concert event, inviting people via Twitter and Facebook to be a part of the event
  • Creating a mini viral video game with a Richard character grabbing money off of a tree and giving it to FBi before the tax man comes
  • Launching a Google Ad Words campaign under the assumption that Richard Google’s his own name and will then see the FBi campaign
  • Making T-shirts and posters and having fans wear them and put them up everywhere
  • Translating “Ask Richard” into as many languages as possible

The campaign works on multiple fronts.  First, selecting a high profile target (that would be Richard) and leveraging a known insight that motivates his daily life (that would be publicity).  Next, giving everyone a “do whatever” call to action, not limiting any idea or thought.  And of course the simple visual for the campaign being used on T-shirts, posters and social media banners ties everything together.  A great example of a campaign that knows its audience, keeps the conversation credible and authentic.

Now the finale – Richard Branson called in this morning (15 June) to FBi for a live radio interview from his Necker Island home.  Turns out, as the story goes, that Richard heard about the “Ask Richard” campaign first from an Australian girl who allegedly swam 2 1/2 miles from an island close to Richard’s island, swimming right up to his beach and telling him about the campaign.  (Sounds fishy but let’s go with it.)  Richard said he has asked his teams at Virgin Mobile and Virgin Atlantic and V- Australia to help out FBi – and on-air promised to give a few flights to the UK and LA via his airlines for some lucky winners of the radio station.  The station is starting a “Save FBi” supporter drive campaign and will definitely use these prizes for some great fundraising efforts later this year.  The on-air host for FBi was able to get some money out of Richard – $70 – to become an annual member of FBi.  Richard stated the obvious – they get asked for money all the time and try to channel their funds to their global efforts around climate change and disease control in Africa.  The $70 is not $1,000,000 but no doubt Richard’s Virgin empire will be jumping in to help as much as possible, and hopefully will help keep the FBi radio station on the air for years to come.

Who knows, maybe Richard will change his mind.  Come on Richard, pay up already.  We’ll call it RFBi – Richard’s FBi – haven’t you always wanted to “own” the FBI?

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Levis Drops Pants With Twitter

10 June 2009

I’m of course on Twitter (@ryanpeal) and have had a lot of fun watching to see how brands are using the new fun to engage with people in a number of ways.  I’ve seen brands simply trying to sell stuff (like Dell), those trying to provide customer care (like Telstra BigPond) and some just trying to show the fun side of their brands (like Zappos).  Today I came across a new way to use Twitter – pant dropping!

A few weeks ago Levis in Australia and New Zealand started sending out people wearing new Levis and twittering about it with their iSpy Levis Twitter campaign.  Ok nothing out of the ordinary yet.  The catch, if you follow the campaign by Levis on Twitter you will see that their tweets are clues on where they are, providing photos and narrative of things around them, helping you track them down.  Why would you want to track them down, to get a free pair of jeans!  If you follow the tweets and hunt down your prey and ask “are those levis?” – magic will happen – instantly the people will drop their pants and give them to you right on the spot (putting a smile on your face like the winner above, Jimmy Curtis).  I’m guessing in reality you get a pair that is your size but you never know down under – may be forced to squeeze into some jeans but at least they are free.

A great example to share with clients and colleagues of how Twitter can add some personality and fun to your brand and have you actually engage with real, live people in the process.  Great work Levis!

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MC Hammer Rocks Back On The Scene

09 June 2009

A friend of mine in the US just sent me another flash mob video sensation, this one connected to the return of MC Hammer and his new “Hammertime” TV series which launches next week on the Arts & Entertainment channel.  The video was unveiled a few days ago and showcases the world famous hammer pants (you know you wore a pair and had several different styles, be honest).  A group of dancers flash mobs a trendy clothing store in Los Angeles, entertaining the shoppers and proving a reason to capture the fun on video, aiming for a video viral sensation to raise awareness for the new TV show.

Did it work?  Yes (as evident by this blog post).  The flash mob video is obviously creaetd to fuel a pass-around effect, hoping its funny enough for people to want to be the first to share it with their friends.  The subtle URL reference at the end of the video provides the only direct link to figure out why people are flashing mobbing hammer style (note, they TV series link should also be in the YouTube description box so people can jump right to it).  And finally, the TV series site provides an easy and solid promotion, to win tickets to see MC Hammer perform in Vegas (with the grand prize winner getting a phone call from the Hammer personally).  If only everyone who entered received their very own Hammer pants – now that would get the entries flying in.

What a great way to start the week, Hammer style, with the video (feel free to dance along with it).

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Ikea’s Gigantic Messages In Bottles

05 June 2009

A short one for a Friday that again showcases the power of creative, visuals to tell a story, engage the imagination, entertain people and motivate them to tell a friend about it.  Today’s case in point:  Ikea with their new store opening in Tampa, Florida.

Connecting to everyone’s awareness of stories growing up of messages placed in bottles from people on deserted islands, hoping the bottles would wash ashore and rescue would be coming soon.  With that in mind, Ikea created giant size bottles containing furtniture from Ikea that look as if they washed up at a pier near Tampa, providing a great visual reminder that the company has opened a new location in the city.  The photos tell the story without any needed explanation – a great example to think about for your next campaign.  (Photos:  MediaPost)

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Canon Photo Competition Zooms In On Charities

03 June 2009

We all know a “picture is worth a thousand words,” but thanks to a new campaign from Canon Australia and New Zealand, a picture could be tens of thousands of dollars for your favorite charity. The new “Canon, Creative For A Cause” campaign launched today, grounded in the notion that a single photograph can represent the hopes, dreams or concerns of an entire community or nation or race. (Full disclosure: Canon is a client of H&K)

The campaign is a simple one (the best kind) on multiple fronts. Here’s how it works: visit the site, register (name/email), upload a photo, provide a title and a short description, and now the twist, select a charity you believe is visually represented by your photo and submit. A photo of a homeless person connected to the Hutt Centre working with the homeless definitely grabs your heart strings. And a cute dog reminding us all dogs need a home that Doggie Rescue could provide is another great one. Each definitely showcases the power that one image can have to tell a deeper, broader story.

Once registered you can browse photos and read stories that will make you laugh or cry or anything in between. And the fun part, you can vote for ones that really grab you and stop you in your tracks. The votes go toward awarding the related charity to the winning photo with some big bucks – $60,000 to an Australia one and $25,000 to one in New Zealand. Public votes select the final 24 and a celebrity judging panel picks the winners.

You can share your participation via Facebook, invite friends to vote for your favorite charities/photos and nominate new charities to be included on the site.

What can we learn from this campaign? One thing is certain, simple campaigns work. Everyone has a camera, knows how to take a picture or already has one they probably love – so it’s easy for everyone to enter. Next up, the charity component isn’t just a bolt-on to the effort, it’s grounded in the overall foundation of the campaign – there are lots of photo competitions but Creative For A Cause and the charity connection to each photo definitely sets it apart. Third, it’s easy to share the story of the campaign with your friends, so driving word-of-mouth to increase participation is natural.

It’s also important to note that the campaign directly connects to Canon – a company grounded in photos and making/sharing memories/emotions. Some campaigns can come across as a bit disconnected to the brand or a bit too “try hard.” And of course, my favorite part of this effort, there’s no sales job, no “buy this” no “check out the latest Canon product.” We all know brands need to “sell” products. With that said, the smart and confident brands know they also need to entertain and engage too. Thankfully Canon knows how to balance both needed areas, and thus, brought to life one of my favorite campaigns this year (again, I’m biased, but I think its true).

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Dell Swarm – Group Buying Saves Big Bucks

02 June 2009

All of my Singapore readers are going to love this, and the rest of us can only hope this program comes our way.  A friend of mine (thanks Janice) in Singapore just told me about an exciting new program from Dell that encourages a group of people to all buy a Dell computer at the same time, on the same day, and save big bucks in the process. It’s called Dell Swarm and I think it rocks.

Here’s how it works:  Pick a Dell PC you’d like, join a swarm (with a guarantee the price will be lower than the price found at dell.com), watch as more people join the price of your PC goes down, when 15 people have joined (or 72 hours has been reached) the price is final and you’ve scored with swarm.  It looks like swarms can save $400 off an already discounted started point if the swarm reaches its limit.

Dell makes it easy to invite friends/family to join the swarm for a cheap price by providing a ton of social media examples to get the word out via Twitter, Facebook, Digg or good ol’ fashioned email.   And you can follow Dell Swarm on Twitter and be told when a swarm is about to happen so you can jump in for the fun and the savings.

Bulk buying is nothing new, sites like eSwarm and others have been grouping people together online for a few years now.  And I’ve heard stories from way back in the day when moms would  go into a story to buy all of the baby clothes in one shop for big deals because of the mass buying power.  What’s different about the Dell one is that it’s easy, intuitive and a bit of fun in the process.  You can imagine other companies are watching this Singapore test to see how well it works.  Think of companies that manufacturer mobile phones, TVs, refrigerators, video games and more, all offering a similar digital experience and consumer savings.  Love it!

What can we learn from this campaign?  Easy one is the need to create a site that is easy to use, is packaged appropriately with good content and ensures the process is transparent to all.  I also give the effort big props on making it easy to share swarms with friends/family with a great pop-up box that puts it all in one place.  And of course the overall idea scores on the creative front, providing solid inspiration for others to follow in their swarm steps.

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Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers and Disney Give Away $1M

01 June 2009

When I heard about this new campaign from Disney I was surprised that an idea like this hadn’t happened before as it makes sense on so many fronts.  But, better late than never as Disney and a star power line-up announces “Friends For Change: Project Green.”

The campaign is grounded on creating a community of Disney fans that all want to do their part in helping to change the world by focusing on four specific areas:  climate, water, waste and habitat.  The campaign tackles each area for three months at a time, culminating on one day when everyone involved will simultaneously do something together like reducing water or changing their home thermostat.  Ongoing the campaign will encourage youth to turn off lights, reusable water bottles and more – great things that hopefully will become habits for the next generation.

Disney is getting the word out by leveraging all of the big stars in its world like Miley, Jonas Brothers 1, 2 and 3, Selena Gomez and all of the other teen rock stars connected to the company.  YouTube has lots of videos from the stars, Radio Disney will air special messages, public service announcements on the Disney Channel and I’m guessing some storylines may drop in the Friends for Change campaign in some capacity.  And with the ability for participants to vote on their favorite charity that receives part of a $1M donation from Disney, this campaign is sure to be a winner.

This had to be an easy decision for Disney, creating a campaign that leverages its star power talent, helps the environment, has an education message parents will love, drives online buzz and polishes the Disney halo of all things good to shine brighter than ever.  And it’s easy to see how this campaign can become an ongoing, community driven effort for years to come, helping new charities, teaching more environment tips and providing a “feel good” element to up-and-coming stars of Disney.

With this in mind, some things to think about for your next campaign.  An obvious ones, the power of celebrities to motivate the masses is alive and well.  Can your campaign include a way for people to connect online to help and change things, feel like part of a community?  Line up some solid media partners that can naturally be used to raise awareness and drive traffic to the campaign site.  Don’t forget a “show me the money” element by shifting dollars away from non-effective TV ads and into a conversation-driving, let-people-decide charity giveaway – some real big bucks that get people excited.

Hoping in the future Disney motivates participants (and their parents) to work in the offline world, like inviting people to clean up a identified park in specific cities or donating toys around Christmas and more.  Until then, welcome Disney to the world of giving and sharing and community, glad to see you using your power for good.

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