Here are three totally different approaches to generating hype that utilize everything from cutting-edge technology to your Facebook friends list. Each one can teach us about online consumer habits, from click-through ratings to brand perception, no matter how sophisticated or no frills they may be. Take notes and brainstorm what you can learn from the masters that can be applied to your current marketing strategy.
Coca-Cola’s Ahh.com Microsite
This incredibly detailed microsite takes the popular phrase “content is king” to a whole new level. Cheeky games, each with an artistic flair, allow you to interact with the Coca-Cola brand. One tells your fortune, not by reading your palm but by enabling (after asking permission) your computer’s camera to take a picture of your tongue. Say ahh!
Coke advertisements are banking on our tendency to play games online. The numbers are staggering. According to VentureBeat.com, 1.2 billion of 1.3 billion smartphone users use their phone for some form of gaming, with 46 percent of smartphone owners playing every day, and Forbes.com said it best: gaming advertisments are not just for companies stereotypically related to the gaming industry like Mountain Dew or Doritos anymore.
Programming costs for a well-made game aren’t cheap. Cutting corners in the design department could cost you in precious user reviews down the line. But it must be said that sometimes quick and dirty works just as well. Just take the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood App/Game that raked in a reported $200 million last year alone. Glu Mobile, the San Francisco-based publisher of the app took an existing app with proven success and just rebranded it with one of the biggest names in the world. Sometimes the quickest, easiest and most simple apps are the most effective. Many can be built on website and app builders like WebsiteBuilder.com and TheAppBuilder.com.
Chipotle’s New Kind of Rewards Program
Chipotle struck a nerve with health-conscious consumers in an ad so simple it makes Carl’s Jr. look like the girl with too much makeup on at the party. The pared-down old-school animation is reminiscent of Wallace and Gromit or even a muted tone Gumby and depicts a farmer flipping a switch to get rid of his huge farm equipment and return to a healthier and more compassionate way of treating his pigs and cows.
To add even more heart to the ad, marketing geniuses set the video to Willie Nelson’s cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist,” ran it during the Grammy’s, and donated iTunes sales of the cover going to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation.
This was all to launch Chipotle’s new loyalty program that actually rewards customers not for buying food but for being knowledgeable about sustainability!
Now watching this video might not make you very hungry. (The pigs are really cute.) But they do establish Chipotle’s identity as a wholesome and honest fast-food company, through a cartoon that even a 2-year-old could understand, set to a killer song and was named one of Ad Age’s 15 Top Ad Campaigns of the 21st Century.
Working so closely with your brand identity, you’re always focused on the next campaign. Take a look at how the market is perceiving your brand right now. Is it time to remind consumers of your roots? How can you take your current advertising strategies and include complementary non-competitive brands to extend your reach?
ALS Association’s Ice Bucket Challenge
Anyone and everyone with a social media account either did this challenge or loathed seeing it invade their newsfeeds for months on end. Some of us are glad it’s over, some of us have no idea why it started and many are asking how much money actually got donated to ALS for crying out loud?!
But you can’t argue that the campaign accomplished something we all want: to get people talking, sharing and tagging. And it didn’t cost a thing. Everyone from Kate Moss to Justin Timberlake to Stephen Hawking participated in this cleverly devised campaign. The nomination concept was brilliant and unheard of before. Participating required you to involve your friends, both to help you make the video and to nominate for a similarly icy fate.
The concept is simple, sound and for a good cause. It’s the perfect recipe for an organic, viral sensation that money just can’t buy.