Online Lead Gen for Foster’s Lager

Last week, Australian brewer Foster’s announced it’s moving all its TV ad dollars online. This needs repeating: Foster’s is putting no money into TV and all its money online. Apparently, the global premium-branded beverage company isn’t reaching enough of its target audience (males 21-25) on TV, but believes it can do so by running videos on Web sites such as Heavy.com.

A major concern online is the risk of marketing to consumers who are under the legal drinking age. One component of the Foster’s campaign will be viral. Now, Ogilvy & Mather’s approach is solid. However, if there ever were a perfect offer built and in need of a lead-generation campaign, this is it.

I planned to write a how-to column this week on co-registration, so the Foster’s situation is tailor-made. If I were working on this campaign, here’s what I’d do.

My Foster’s Campaign

First, I’d segment some media dollars for lead generation (yes, that’s my bread and butter, so I’m biased, but bear with me). I’d source out lead-generation suppliers that can target by gender, age, and country. It must be confirmed the supplier can target the offer before the consumer sees it, meaning only males 21-25. This accomplishes two goals: maintaining the branding element to the exact target market, and receiving leads only from that targeted market.

Confirmation from lead-generation providers should go through a specific review process to ensure they can do this. Call me a skeptic, but a lot of companies aren’t totally forthcoming and honest. We verify a few things: Are we comfortable with the offer in this process? Are there incentives? Opt-outs? Is the consumer caught in such an endless maze of offers he’ll inevitably leave the process ticked off? You get the picture.

Now we create the offer, which in this case is ridiculously easy. The Heavy.com promo is to win a date in Las Vegas with an Australian model. Entrants can choose from 10 women. What 21-25 year old male wouldn’t want to select this offer? We must also determine what data points we want the sites to collect (if they’re really needed) in addition to name, e-mail, gender, and age. We may want Zip Code, but only if we’ll really use it. Don’t ever collect data for the sake of collecting data. That will most likely limit distribution points, suppress response, or both.

Now for the best part: pricing the offer. I’d ask for pricing around the same time as I checked the targeting capabilities, but you should have an idea of what you’re willing to test some sources out with. Don’t get sticker shock if prices vary greatly. Remember, you get what you pay for. Keep the big picture in focus. Don’t commit a bunch of units to any source until that source has been tested. This offer should have a very high response rate, so we may get away with pricing below what’s normally considered acceptable. If the take rate is high, the site will make a lot of money even if pricing is “low.”

Be sure each source can send an auto-responder e-mail. That’s critical for identifying any bad e-mail addresses. It’s also an amazing marketing touch point (we see opens exceed 60 percent and up to 90 percent on auto-responders). Make sure the e-mail copy is very simple, something like: “Click here to complete your entry to date an Australian model.” Also, ensure the unsubscribe is clear: “You’re receiving this e-mail because you were on X site at Y time and selected the Foster’s offer. If you did this by mistake…” Don’t pay for unsubscribes or bounces.

There’s a whole next step on remarketing the consumer, which I’ll cover in another column.

Conclusion

I think it’s awesome Ogilvy pitched Foster’s an all-online budget and the client had the chutzpa to agree. I love the approach, and I agree with Aaron O. Patrick of “The Wall Street Journal” that more big marketers will follow suit.

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