23 Aug 2010
What’s the worst that can happen? Well quite a lot really. Dr Pepper’s campaign has marked a split between agency (LMFM) and client (Coca Cola) and highlighted how a campaign can crumble if not monitored closely. On the other side of the social media spectrum a good-looking actor trots on a beach and sends messages from his bathroom. Two social media campaigns executed in different ways with drastic results.
The recent Old Spice campaign on YouTube and Twitter was a big success – it was able to entertain, deliver, and double sales whilst responding to people’s requests at an amazing pace. It evoked 183 video reactions, 11million views, and 22,000plus comments in the space of 3 days and according to Nielsen boosted sales by an impressive 107%. But was this more of a slick, controlled and scripted exchange via social media channels rather than a true social media campaign?
Dr Pepper’s recent move from fun to infringement has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths and leaves LMFM a client down. No one can argue that the Dr Pepper campaign wasn’t on-brand and took risks, but was eventually burnt for them – as no brand, not even a youthful one, can do porn. No stranger to flirting with controversy, the brand also launched activity on Chatroulette for April Fools Day that included a sexy cheerleader with an added twist. Being daring can lead to viral success through WOM and sharing, but infiltrating personal space blurs lines between consumer content and campaign content, invading privacy and making users vulnerable to misrepresentation.
These campaigns couldn’t be more different – one is safe and sound, and the other renegade. But maybe this is the nature of the social media beast and exposes the dangers of playing in this space. Old Spice, although dubbed the ‘future of marketing’ (Mashable), is squeaky clean and gets users to request yet Mustafa always has the last word. Whereas Dr Pepper went full throttle in hijacking personal social space but one misjudged status referencing porn is unfortunately all we’ll remember. A good example of a social media campaign that sits comfortably in the middle is Oasis’ Cactus Kid campaign – set in a virtual world using social channels imbedded in the core idea. It used YouTube (see Cactus Kid on the run), Flickr (see him snapped at various places) and MySpace (his girlfriend’s page) as supporting micro-sites resulting in 70% of Oasis consumers engaging with it, brand awareness went from 27% to 45%, over 200 blog posts were fan-created and 15 Facebook pages were created in the anti-hero’s favour.
It seems that for now social media campaigns get the best results when playing safe, or if they choose to be more daring should keep tabs on what’s being put out into the ether and accept the repercussions. It all hangs on what defines a social media campaign, and we believe that the true social media campaign is confident enough to hand the reigns to the consumer and hold back on control, to co-create content on an open platform.