Home  › Media › Media Buying

A Fishy Social Networking Campaign

  |  August 9, 2007   |  Comments

A look at Telus' Canadian Facebook campaign.

At their core, all social networks are about one thing: friends. Without them there would be no impetus to join, and no sustainable interest in remaining a member. Depending on the network, users add friends selectively or collect them like hockey cards. Either way, they're vital to every single consumer who ever logged in to an online community.

It was with this in mind that Canadian telecommunications company Telus launched what I consider to be one of the best sponsored applications on Facebook I've seen.

Last month, the company introduced a new cell phone plan called My Faves, which allows customers to pick five friends -- regardless of their own carrier -- with whom they can receive unlimited talk and text services. With a target market of high school and university students, and an objective to raise awareness of the new service, social networks were the ideal venue through which to inform and educate consumers about the plan.

Telus looked to Toronto-based creative agency Teehan & Lax and media strategy firm Media Experts to create a social networking application reflective of My Faves' key characteristics. Facebook was the obvious network of choice. According to comScore data, the site drew 7.5 million unique Canadian visitors under the age of 25 in March.

Facebook has found 27 percent of its Canadian audience is under the age of 18 and 56 percent is between 18 and 24. Earlier this year, the site's traffic surpassed that of MySpace, making it the leading social network in Canada.

Anyone familiar with Telus' advertising won't be surprised to learn the application incorporates animals. The company is known for employing "spokescritters" and nature-based themes in its campaigns, both to differentiate itself from competing wireless carriers and to cleverly highlight different aspects of its services.

In My Faves' case, the critter of choice is fish. The application takes the form of a fishbowl, which Facebook members can add to their Profile page. To occupy the bowl, they select up to five Facebook friends, each of whom is represented by a different variety of fish. Users can also add famous Canadian landmarks to their fishbowls, including the CN Tower and the famed Sudbury Nickel.

The language used throughout the process is consistent with the Telus brand and references the product it's ultimately intended to promote. While customizing the application, Facebook users receive the message: "What crowd do you swim with? Tell the world with your own customized virtual fishbowl for your profile." After creating a fish to represent the user, Telus delivers the message: "You look lonely. You should always swim with a buddy or five. Let's start adding your faves." When friends are added, they receive an e-mail notification that references the Telus My Faves plan:

Check out a custom fishbowl that I built for us to hang out in. Then build your own to show the world who you call a fave! My Faves is a great new plan from TELUS that gives you unlimited local talking and texting to any 5 numbers, on any network, anytime.

Once the customization process is completed, users are provided with access to the code to add to their personal blogs or other social networking sites.

The application, seamless in its execution, isn't unlike the Top Friends widget that's been making the rounds of Facebook of late. Where it differs is in its relevance to Telus' latest offering. There's an intuitive connection between the idea of hosting a virtual gathering for critter friends in a Facebook fishbowl and the five friends calling plan. Whether Facebook users who download it are Telus subscribers or not, they can enjoy the concept behind the tool. But there's clearly branding value in the patently sponsored application as well.

Since launching in late July, the My Faves application has received over 7,500 downloads on Facebook. The company also sponsored a news feed targeting every Facebook user within its student demographic. Most recently, a Telus-sponsored Facebook Group was formed to generate feedback on the application. A My Faves representative is actively involved in monitoring discussions and responding to consumer comments.

It may be too early for us to identify best practices regarding this form of social network marketing, but this fun and fitting application would surely make the cut. From concept to ad buy, it's a prime example of how social sites can be effectively used to go beyond branding to increase awareness of -- and interest in -- a new product.

Nothing fishy about it.

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!*
*Early Bird Rates expire April 17.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tessa Wegert

Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get ClickZ Media newsletters delivered right to your inbox. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...