Santa Monica, California-based Neuro, a trendy drink maker whose products have been plugged by the likes of Elton John, Lady Gaga, and Adam Sandler, has launched a splashy digital campaign to help it reach an ambitious (and expensive) goal: give away 1 million bottles of its "Sleep" drink by the end of March.
The privately held company produces a line of beverages that it claims help users function better, with names such as Bliss, Sonic, and Sleep.
"We offer support for different moments of your day, whether you need an energy boost, to sleep, or to strengthen your immune system," says Brian Pope, Neuro's chief marketing officer (CMO). Whether the drinks do what they claim is arguable, but Pope says company research has shown that once people try the product, they stay with it, which is one driver of the "Sleep With Neuro" campaign.
In particular, the target of the campaign is women between the ages of 18 and 35. "Studies show women complain more frequently (than men) about sleep problems and are looking for natural solutions," Pope says. Sleep, which comes in flavors including mango and tangerine, contains ingredients such as magnesium and melatonin, which the company claims help users get to sleep more quickly.
Celebrity tie-ins and social media campaigns are nothing new for Neuro, which has also promoted its Bliss and Sonic products with media blitzes. But the Sleep campaign is unusual both in its grand ambition to get 1 million bottles to consumers and the fact that it taps a mobile element for the first time.
Shortly after the campaign kicked off with a plug on Jimmy Kimmel Live on February 4, the company released a YouTube video featuring Neil Patrick Harris. Heavily promoted on Neuro's Facebook page and via social channels, the video shows a sexy Harris in his bedroom crooning "Sleep - I don't want to spend another night without ya!"
Viewers can then click to sign up for a free bottle of Sleep, for which they get a coupon redeemable at participating distributors such as Target and Walgreens. The video has drawn more than 1.2 million views since it was launched on February 11.
The mobile element of the campaign, in which a Neuro-themed game is shown to users on an opt-in basis, was developed in conjunction with game provider PaeDae. The featured game lets users try to pick off bottles of Neuro Sleep, which are cascading over a set of sheets with the tagline "You're Good in Bed!" Those who score high enough are invited to request a free bottle.
The game runs as an integrated part of apps including Ruzzle, TV Quiz Show, and Zynga games such as Words with Friends, Draw Something, and Hanging with Friends.
"We are trying to engage our consumers where they live, and mobile is an important part of that. We wanted something that adds to the entertainment rather than interrupting it," says Pope.
Neuro is not disclosing how many users have played the Neuro Sleep game thus far. But Pope says about 10 percent of those who opted in to see the mobile ad unit have engaged with it, and of those, 44 percent have filled out the email to get the coupon for their bottle.
Rob Emrich, chief executive (CEO) of PaeDae, says that engagement rate far exceeds mobile industry averages of around .001 percent. "Often giveaways look spammy and people ignore them," he says, noting that PaeDae's games are designed to let brands create a game with the look and feel of the application in which it is embedded. PaeDae is also paid based on engagement numbers, rather than for clicks.
The company, which has worked with other brands including Hershey's, 7-Eleven, and Amazon, is seeking to convince more brands to funnel ad spend toward mobile and away from TV and print.
"Previously, mobile was not on their radar," says Emrich, noting 25 percent of media is consumed on mobile, yet it only receives 1 percent of ad spend.
As for Neuro's big goals, the company says that so far, 400,000 people have signed up for a free bottle, putting it well on its way toward reaching its goal of 1 million by the end of next month. It is not yet known how many of those who signed up have actually redeemed their bottles, and some users have complained on Neuro's Facebook page that they could not find a participating distributor.
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Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is a freelance writer based in Jersey City who frequently covers digital marketing, social media, tech startups, and venture capital. She has contributed to a wide range of publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Red Herring, and Real Deals. Find her on Twitter at @mldamico.
March 19, 2014