Brands show us that when it comes to online media, we haven't done it all yet.
Last time, we looked at five innovative media buys of 2011 that hold the potential to provide a wealth of insight and inspiration to other digital brands. This week, it's time to consider some of the most memorable campaigns of the year.
Whether they stuck with us because they dashed records, demonstrated a unique brilliance, or let us have some fun, these buys showed proficiency worthy of the savvy consumers who experienced them. Kudos to these brands for cutting through the clutter and showing us that when it comes to online media, we haven't done it all yet.
"Breaking Dawn" Yahoo Live Stream
The product of a Yahoo partnership, this year's "Twilight" film got a big boost from one of the most comprehensive Yahoo Movies pages we've seen. A page skin, movie premiere countdown clock, link to a Facebook "Wedding Guest Book," and interviews with the cast were complemented by movie stills and related mobile apps.
It was an all-inclusive buy the pinnacle of which was a live stream of the movie's star-studded, black carpet L.A. premiere that pulled more than one million international viewers over two days and generated countless blog mentions among ravenous fans. When dealing with a product that has such a glut of loyalty already, the trick is to find a way to tap it and let it spread to others. The live stream alone might have been enough, but the site page kept fans lingering and deepened their connection to the film.
Tongal's Crowdsourced Campaigns
McDonald's, Benjamin Moore, Pringles, Ace Hardware, and Jack Link's Beef Jerky are among the dozens of big-name brands that turned to Tongal this year for help generating campaign content and ideas. The crowdsourced platform allows companies to solicit help from consumers on everything from videos destined to become product commercials or online content (Pringles asked consumers for a video that embodied one of its many product flavors), to a new brand spokesperson (Benjamin Moore sent this challenge out to consumers this past fall).
For their trouble, Tongal community members who participate stand to win cash and prizes. In giving them a voice in their campaigns, brands stand to gain as well. This is a streamlined approach to producing and executing consumer-generated media campaigns that puts the brands in control of the submitted content and taps the best of what their fans have to offer.
Le Club Perrier Interactive YouTube Page
The summer of 2011 marked the launch of "Le Club Perrier," which differed from traditional YouTube pages in that the videos "evolved" as the number of viewers grew. New, more explicit videos could be unlocked over time, or immediately if consumers shared the site with friends, but the general idea was that by visiting the online club consumers could interact with the process and control the outcome ("The more people who watch, the hotter the party!").
The image of exclusivity and the ongoing promise of mysterious new content worked: ClickZ News reported the brand hit 100,000 viewers on the first day and one million by the end of the first week. The meticulously planned campaign also helped to align the brand with a younger, more hip audience. Videos were directed by a hot Hollywood video director. They featured music from a popular band, and an associated sweepstakes offered the chance to win a stay in a chic New York City hotel. In other words, Perrier thought about every aspect of Le Club to ensure it radiated youth and excitement.
iVillage Mealtime Makeover Community Challenge
We saw some progressive online community campaigns this year, and a good many of them came from iVillage. Through its Community Challenges, iVillage has given brands like Zappos and Splenda a way to connect with consumers while also providing valuable content. In the "Mealtime Makeover Community Challenge" content like recipes and advice was provided by a former "Top Chef" contestant, and community members received daily messages designed to help them cook healthier meals for their families. In addition to having its products incorporated into some of the recipes, sponsor Splenda benefited from display ads on the site and in the related emails, as well as exposure to the over 17,000 women who ultimately participated in the four-week challenge.
Magnum Ice Cream's "Pleasure Hunt"
Consumers and marketers alike were impressed this summer when Magnum Ice Cream launched "Pleasure Hunt," an online game that married product with brand image in a unique way. The Internet adventure had consumers navigating an online world where they moved from web page to web page, collecting ice cream bars while dodging content links and leaping from screen to screen. The common theme of each site page within which the action took place was that it represented the ultimate in luxury, mirroring the brand's image as an "ultimate pleasure" treat. The initiative infused the brand with a sense of quality, luxury, and indulgence while reminding us that Magnum also knows how to have fun.
Old Spice's Fabio YouTube Channel
Though the campaign was first launched in 2010, this year marked the Old Spice Man comeback. To keep this overhyped concept fresh, Old Spice brought on model Fabio to challenge original Old Spice guy Isaiah Mustafa, and even gave him his own YouTube Channel. Within a week of launching the new channel, Old Spice had collected 22 million video views and 100,000 social media brand mentions. Everything old is new again? With the right sequel, it can be even better.
What other campaigns made your top list this year? As always ClickZ loves to hear your thoughts, and wishes you happy buying in the new year.
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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.
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