New York --The performance of Acuvue's e-mail database has been lagging in recent years for teen-oriented marketing, so it's turning more attention to Facebook.
"Our open rates were falling into the sewer," said Royce Carvalho, associate product director for the Johnson & Johnson brand, during an Advertising Week event on Friday. "And our click-through rates were not great as well."
Since January, Carvalho said his contact lenses brand's Facebook "likers" have jumped from about 10,000 to 41,000. He added that converting e-mail subscribers to its page on the social site has been a big part of that lift.
"We have the Facebook [button] at the bottom of every e-mail," he said. "Nobody has to click to open a newsfeed. It's a lot easier to engage with [the consumers]."
Due to the medical nature of the product, Carvalho said he's confident the new "likers" have come on board in earnest. It's worth noting other brands might be attracting a watered-down audience since Facebook lowered the threshold from "fans" to "likers" with the open graph being unveiled in April.
"You won't click on a 'Like' [button] unless you really like us," Carvalho told ClickZ after his presentation. "We are not exactly a fashion brand."
He said that Acuvue increased interaction among "likers' by 31 percent during Q3 compared to Q2, while overall views have jumped 220 percent on its Facebook page now compared to Jan. 1, 2010.
The Jacksonville, FL-based brand has created several interactive features in a "Just for Teens" tab to foster that engagement.
For instance, it has allowed "likers" to send their Facebook friends virtual winks that end up in their newsfeed. Here's the copy that wink recipients and their Facebook friends see: "Want to send a flirty wink to someone special on your friend list? Go to the 'Just for Teens' tab on the ACUVUE Brand Facebook page. And don't forget to 'Like' us if you like this!"
Other interactive elements include being able to post responses to comments parents might make in regards to why their child should not have contact lenses. An example: "You are not responsible enough." They can then type up a response, which gets posted in their newsfeed.
The teens are also encouraged to select from 15 options in a drop-down menu in terms of what they'd be willing to do to get contacts. The selection - examples include "Boost my grades!" and "Stay under my cell phone minutes!" - is then posted in their newsfeed. Additionally, "likers" can click a "Dealmaker" tab and access an app that allows them to make a JibJab-styled animation. They can then employ the personalized JibJab (see image on the left) to sell their parents on the idea of ditching glasses for contacts.
On a different engagement level, Carvalho pointed to a Sept. 13th post by his brand about sports and contact lenses, where his moderator responded to a handful of "liker" comments. The digital director said, "Continuing that conversation is really where the power lies."
Additionally, the brand has created a "For Parents" tab. It explains the possible benefits of a child wearing contact lenses instead of glasses, while providing instructions on where to find a nearby Target Optical Center to purchase Acuvue products. It also shows them how to print off a certificate for five days of free one-day contacts and suggests questions to ask when visiting a physician.
Lastly, unlike most brands, Acuvue has been faced with the task of closely monitoring Facebook users' comments and reacting to concerns as mandated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). "We have lawyers, lots of them," Carvalho quipped.
Buddy Media CEO Mike Lazerow introduced Carvalho at the Social Ads Summit event, as his firm with agency R/GA aided Acuvue with its Facebook efforts. Lazerow suggested that when brands with Acuvue's potential legal hazards are willing to commit to social media, it's a sign that the space is coming of age.
"There's millions and millions at stake for them in terms of liability, and that's why I am so stoked," Lazerow said. "With this, there are so many bombs that could go off."
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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