SanDisk Pre-Empts Cyber Monday with Social Campaign

Without data storage capacity, media-related gifts such as digital cameras, MP3 players, or cell phones have limited appeal. Data storage firm SanDisk is planning a three-day sale culminating on Cyber Monday, which it will promote through social media channels.

On Saturday at 12:01 a.m. SanDisk will kick-off a three-day online Cyber Monday sale at sandisk.com/cybermonday. On sale will be discounts on MP3 players, Flash memory cards, and USB drives — the items consumers will put under trees and in stockings. To support the holiday effort, SanDisk worked with its public relations firm Cohn & Wolfe on to develop a social media strategy.

SanDisk’s goal is to reach consumers in an engaging way. “This is a critical shopping season for our type of product. We’re trying to drive sales, drive awareness, drive understanding for why SanDisk is a preferred brand above our competitors,” said Ryan Donovan, spokesman for SanDisk.

“This campaign is really a seeding campaign,” said Tony Obregon, VP of digital media at Cohn & Wolfe. “It’s about being able to leverage a lot of the social channels that are out there, about reaching folks that are passionate about movies, music, and photography.”

Components of the campaign include videos on sites including YouTube, Vimeo, Veo, Blip, MetaCafe, and others. SanDisk established around 12 branded channels on those sites, each called “Take More Video.” Videos talking up the sale in those branded sections were shot by tech personality Gadget Grrl. The firm also created a Twitter feed, is promoting the sale in its brand pages on social sites like Facebook, and is sending news out to bloggers.

A Facebook ad buy grabbed additional consumers who weren’t previously enthusiasts or fans of the brand. “We posted a link to the Cyber Monday URL [on the SanDisk Facebook page], and we also have generated a Facebook ad that targeted people who are passionate for the different media.” said Obregon.

Currently, the Cyber Monday site is no more than a welcome page until Saturday morning arrives. Until then, the site will collect e-mail addresses. To gauge success, the firm will measure e-mail addresses, video interaction, Facebook ad results, and traffic to the Cyber Monday Web site.

“We’re collecting e-mail addresses to alert customers now and for future promotions,” said Obregon. “Being able to listen to customers and make future adjustments to marketing is also valuable.”

Working with a PR agency rather than an ad agency is not unusual for consumer electronics companies. Cohn & Wolfe also worked with HP on a recent campaign.

“There is a blurring of responsibility and capabilities between PR versus interactive. Intelligence, creativity, proactivity that leverages creative — that’s what makes them a hugely valuable partner for us,” said Donovan of Cohn & Wolfe.

Social media and other elements of the campaign also cost less than a typical ad campaign for SanDisk. “It’s been very efficient, very cost effective campaign,” Donovan said.

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