Sunday, October 14, 2012

Heineken Taps Research to Score a Goal with Football Fans

Big Data - The Matrix Behind Our World
Let's face it - there's nothing more painful than staring into a spreadsheet of big data, trying to coax some revolutionary new knowledge or understanding out of what looks more like the matrix than the real world as we know it.

In some cases, however, brands have succeeded in uncovering key insights that lead to effective and award winning executions.  

Such was the case with AKQA - a digital agency working with Heineken.  Charged with leveraging the brand's sponsorship of the UEFA's Champions League and EURO Cup, AKQA conducted consumer research that uncovered a key trend in UEFA viewership and inspired a groundbreaking execution.

Insight - Something Less Than Football Hooliganism

In the mid 1960's the popular press and academics in Europe coined the phrase "football hooliganism" to refer to the violent rioting, and otherwise poor behavior by supposed football fans in and around stadiums, pubs, and the matches generally.

Switzerland may be neutral but not when it
comes to football battles - violence after
Basel FC lost to FC Zurich in 2006.

For better or for worse, these images have shaped our expectations of the nature and experience of, "enjoying" a football match with your mates.  At the very least, we (those of the "North American football" persuasion) imagine rowdy groups in pubs and in stadiums locking arms and raising their mugs as they sing team anthems as unrivaled displays of love for their team.

The research performed by AKQA, however, found more choir boys than hooligans.  According to Floris Gobelens, Global Head of Digital at Heineken,
"Three out of four of our target audience, those watching the match, were doing so at home on their sofa and texting or tweeting their mates at the same time."
The question became clear to AKQA - how do we get these passive multiscreeners active with the matches, and engaging with the brand?

Idea - Star Player, Real-Time, Dual-Screen Gaming App 

Star Player is a gaming app available for use via computer or mobile device.  Players download the app, can build leagues with their friends, and essentially compete to see who's football instincts are best.  The idea is that YOU predict what will happen next in the game - whether it be a goal, a save, or a miss.  Facebook connectivity allows players to maximize their bragging reach, by broadcasting scores, badges, and other results to one's own and other Heineken Star Player related social networks.

Outcomes - A big win for brand Heineken.

Regardless of which teams win the match, Star Player users have scored a win with the application.  87% have given it positive feedback as a social gaming experience, and 63% of users return to play the game again, after their initial experience.  In its first year in existence the app was downloaded over 1 million times, which bodes well for the 2013 Champions League, which is already in early season play.    On the whole, players of Star Player receive a full 90 minutes of Heineken brand engagement, integrated into their lives in a fun and meaningful way.

Two things strike me as most impressive with this case study.  First, the role of research in leading to effective marketing strategy, and second, that the success of the program in terms of publicity and downloads occurred primarily on the wave of strong social buzz.  While Heineken supported Star Player through "owned" media platforms such as and the brands Facebook page and YouTube channel, it did not engage "paid" media.  Still Star Player generated 400 news articles and blog mentions.  In total, Heineken achieved 77.6 million impressions worldwide through the Star Player campaign. 

Not bad for a day's work.  AKQA & Heineken deserve a beer...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Media Mumbo Jumbo... Paid? Owned? Earned?

There's something about the new media landscape that reminds me of a word jumble - can you find the Paid, Owned, and Earned media within this massive mess of media?  

Or, maybe, I am really thinking about the Magic 8 Ball, and wondering if Paid, Owned, and Earned could be made answers so that media planners would have a source to look to for guidance.  

At the very least, my students in Principles of Marketing and I could use the Magic 8 Ball.  We’ve been doing Social Media audits in class this week, and the distinction between Paid, Owned, and Earned media has been pretty tricky. 

I’ll start with my take on the three “types” of media and then present some visuals from other sources that might clear up the distinction (or at least give us something to think about).

Paid media is the clearest and easiest of the three, I think, because it refers to traditional forms of advertising media.  Back in the day before the internet and specific social media existed, brands could only use paid media.  They would produce an ad and then buy time or space in a media through which to deliver it to audiences. 

With the onset of the interent age, the potential for brands to own their own media platforms emerged.  Brands could create websites as part of their marketing communications efforts.  The website became a vehicle through which to reach audiences – and it was 100% controlled by the brand.  This is the key benefit of owned media.

The key to distinguishing earned media from the above is to consider who is able to produce the messages through the medium.  That is, on TV (a PAID medium), only the networks get to produce messages.  In terms of advertising, Networks agree to air the ad on behalf of brands (for a very lucrative fee of course!!).  Similarly, on the brand's website (an OWNED medium), only the brand gets to produce content.  In earned media people – like you and me – get to produce content and, in essence, say anything we want through the medium.  So, while a brand may “own” its Facebook page because it sets it up and maintains it, it cannot own what we say.  What we say on Facebook is earned, and thus, Facebook and other social media platforms are EARNED media.

Seeing is Believing…
Geoff Livingston provides two great visuals that illustrate the differences between (visual 1) and the convergences among (visual 2) the three forms of media.

Visual 1

Visual 2
This second visual is most awesome because it includes the concept of convergence.  All three forms of media are starting to blend together in ways unimaginable just a few years ago.  Marketers – specifically those charged with communication duties – need to not only be in the moment in terms of media trends, but actually one step ahead of the trends so that they can engage consumers in the places and in the ways they feel most comfortable with.

Lauren Drell illustrates the “new next” of paid, owned and earned media in her post for Social Media Today.  Notice how it is not as clear cut as I implied in my initial definitions of each form.  For instance, I wouldn’t put social media in the owned category at all. 

So, Who’s Right?
It’s not really a question of “right,” but rather one of perspective.  It seems as if Ms. Drell is using “control” as an important definitional factor for the media.  Paid and Owned provide the most control of message for the marketer.  Owned and Earned provide far less control, with earned perhaps allowing for no control at all. 

The key point is that Owned becomes a sort of middle ground which exhibits characteristics of both paid (controlled) and earned (uncontrolled) media. Different “forms” of media deliver on different objectives.  
  • Paid media will operate traditionally – primarily working towards brand awareness and brand preference.  
  • Owned media provides information and may stimulate preference and purchase, along with providing after sale servicing.
  • Earned media is about relationship building and hardcore branding.  
The key takeaway is that brands must use each media form to be successful.  With social media specifically though,  the brands with the best strategy will be those who let the paid and owned media “sell” their products, and leave the social space for relationships, which naturally feed the customer back into the purchase cycle again, and again, and again...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Oreo's 100 Days of "TWIST"ory

When it comes to Oreos, a little twist usually reveals a delicious white filling.  Today, it reveals the secret to social media marketing:  relevance.  

Your Cookie Said What?
For the last 100 days – in celebration of Oreo's 100 yummy years in existence – the brand has been serving up wit with current events inspired “ads” via its Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.  Known as The Daily Twist, the campaign has brought Oreo brand into our lives in different and exciting ways.

Brands constantly struggle to keep themselves relevant to consumers, who are bombarded almost every minute with messages that vie for their attention. 

A Slice of Humble Pie
For years advertisers have opted for “slice of life” executions that try to connect with audiences by creating commercials that look and sound like clips right out of their lives.  But, these “slices” are contrived and exaggerated because advertising must advocate for a brand, and focus on persuading us to want to buy that brand. Thus, the brand creates the “life” based on its own objectives. 

What is different about Oreo’s execution is that it flips the funnel.  It accepts the “life” that is happening out there – outside the specifics of consumption of the brand – and places itself into the life that consumers are actually living.

What’s Black and White and Sweet all over?
What makes the end of the NFL referee lock out even sweeter than better officiating and “fair” games?  Envisioning your friendly ref as an Oreo cookie, that’s what!
Football fans everywhere liked this posting because it spoke to something important that was happening in their lives, right now.  I’m guessing a few non-football fans also appreciated Oreo’s timely, lighthearted take on a current events issue that had dominated the news over the last week or so. 

As of today (Monday, October 1, 2012) 31,599 people “liked” the photo; 4,290 “shared” it; and it garnered 507 “comments.”  Not bad for a cookie.

Over, the Rainbow?
The campaign has not been without its controversies.  LGBT consumers and advocates applauded this “twist” while others vowed to never eat an Oreo, ever, again.
Posted on June 25th in celebration of Gay Pride Month, as of October 1, 2012 this photo garnered 298,022 “likes;” 90,824 “shares;” and 60,521 “comments.”  The brand stood behind its post, stating that the ad was a "fun reflection of our values."

Touchdown? Or, Foul?
It is debatable whether Oreo's call - to step into a hotly debated social issue - was more controversial than say, replacement refs ruling Green Bay's game ending interception a touchdown for Seattle.  Either way, the brand not only proves that controversy breeds engagement, but also that brands may build stronger bonds with consumers by living with them in their worlds, rather than existing solely in the imaginary worlds brands build for themselves, in ads.

Controversial, or not, the "twist" campaign has been deemed a sweet success by the folks at Oreo, with Marketing Director Cindy Chen confirming that "since the first Daily Twist appeared on June 25, through August 20, “‘likes,’ comments and ‘shares’” have increased an average of 110%, rising from 7,000 to 14,500."  In a marketing world where metrics rule - these numbers are sweet indeed. 

The Last Twist
Sadly, the 100 day celebration of 100 sweet years of Oreo is coming to an end - tomorrow, Wednesday, October 2nd.  If you have some time, saunter over to Times Square in NYC.  The brand will be operating out of a 'temporary ad agency' located at 46th and Broadway, near American Eagle Outfitters where it will take crowdsourced ideas from Facebook and Twitter to create - live and on the spot - the last "twist" of the campaign.  According to Brandchannel:
At 12:15 p.m., three finalists will be posted on the American Eagle Outfitters sign and on Facebook and opened for public voting on Facebook and Twitter through 1:45 p.m. with a winner announced by about 2 p.m. 
It will be interesting to see if the "onsite" event can garner as much engagement as the "online" campaign.  We'll have to wait til tomorrow for that "twist."
You can read more about controversy over brands addressing the LGBT community as a target market HERE.

You can catch up on some of the "twists" you missed these past 100 days HERE