I am a great fan of gamification and guerrilla advertising. Making it no surprise that I am a fan of Mini Cooper’s advertising campaigns. Here are some amazing examples of their past ads.

The objective of this case study is to shed light on how they have rode the social wave like a boss. Most of Mini’s campaigns have very strong emphasis on word of mouth to spread the campaign message.

In 2002, Mini used unconventional tactics to create a buzz for its retro-looking Mini Cooper. At that time it meant creative billboards with an actual Mini stuck on them, innovative magazine and newspaper inserts that consumers can detach to share and 45 to 60 second cinema spots. The campaigns managed to generate hype but the reach was generally confined nationally.

In 2003, Mini moved their brilliance online. Recognizing the rise of Internet consumption and the shift of more advertising dollars to online, they broke free from standard banners and executed a digital campaign that cut through the cluttered digital space. With the traditional ad pop ups becoming a norm, they created their ad pop up to  spin and flip onto the screen instead. Breaking the monotony and then engaging the consumer with an interactive banner showcasing the Mini’s attributes. The result? A fun and unique experience online. The campaign went viral and was spread globally.

Then came the social networking era. With social media becoming one of the primary channels of communication and with a  user spending an average of 15 hours and 33 minutes per month on social sites. Mini knew they had to engage users where they thrive.

In 2010, Mini embraced social media and took Stockholm by storm, transforming it into a living game board for 7 days. Offering a Mini Countryman as the grand prize.

A great example of gamification and the application of social media. Apart from traditional advertising, the game got around through the use of Youtube. A video was uploaded explaining how the app worked and quickly got over 100,000 views. They also teamed with a radio station and the radio hosts talked about the campaign each day the week before it started, and followed it during the whole game week. But they knew the campaign needed additional social boost. Enter Tejbz, one of the world’s most successful and hyped gamers with more than 129,000 fans on his page. They engaged him to play the game and spread the word.

The result?
– During the game week 11,413 people participated.
– The virtual MINI was transported nearly 1,500 physical kilometers.
– Average gaming time was 5 hours and 6 minutes per person.
– People from 90 countries followed the game on our website minigetawaystockholm.com.
– Sales increased with 108% the first quarter after the campaign (record sales in Sweden).

For their creative use of social media, the Mini campaign won numerous awards. What really set their campaign apart is the simplicity and the revival of a childhood game. They reduced the number of hoops the consumers have to go through so that they can go straight to the fun. In short, Mini placed the consumers’ fun ahead of all else. With such success in Stockholm, they revived the game last year and brought it to Tokyo.

Sure hope that I’ll get a chance to play it soon.

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We live in the era of social media today. Our journey to the social metropolis we have today took (believe it or not) 34 years! It all began in 1978 with the Computerized Bulletin Board System, or CBBS, created by Ward Christensen during the Great Blizzard in Chicago.

Social media is a global and cultural phenomenon. A primary communication channel to most people today. With Internet access readily available with the help of mobile devices, information can be updated in real-time anywhere. With mobile penetration only going up. We see social media penetration increasing as well. In the Philippines, majority of the social media is consumed through mobile phones. In fact based on a study by Susan Huynh,  by 2016, mobile internet users will exceed PC and laptop internet users.

7 out of 10 people using their mobile phones in the subway in Singapore are on a social app. 9 out of 10 people taking out their phones during a street fight are informing the world. That one last person would most probably be calling the authorities and that is just how our lives have changed.

But how has this impacted the corporations and businesses? No, I’m not talking about the drop in productivity in the office. I’m talking about how has it changed the way advertisers and marketers approach the consumers. The entire media landscape has changed. Its no longer a monologue between brands and consumers, it is now a dialogue.

How are brands handling it?

Even before Facebook allowed anyone to join in September 2006, brands already saw the potential and were advertising on Facebook. A whopping $3.08 billion was spent to advertise on social networking sites in 2011. But does advertising work on social networking sites? Should brands blindly buy banners and textlinks to advertise products? No. Social media doesn’t work like websites or newspapers.

Social media is about building a community and creating brand advocacy. Building positive brand advocacy is not easy but if successful, it would be hard for competitors to replicate. Which explains why only a handful of brands have been successful on social media and I will cover some of such campaigns in my future posts.

The beauty of social media is the data. Social media has opened real opportunities for tracking and understanding human behavior in ways never known before. From advanced targeting and retargeting to segmenting customers, there is just so much data. Brands are now paying business intelligence companies big bucks to analyse this sea of data and to find out what the consumers want. As strategist, Brand Amery said, “A good way to approach data is understand what you’re trying to achieve and what you want the consumers to do, and always place it in context of the bigger picture.”

Social media has another function and that is customer service. Many brands have turned their Facebook walls into customer service channels. Be it rants or compliments, brands can access their relationship with consumers and if possible rectify consumers’ problems. This actually blurs the line between advertising and PR.

Investing in social media, is not just investing in a causal relationship with consumers. It is a very powerful tool for gaining insight into the characteristics of a brand’s target market, a great customer relationship tool, and a great way to build personal attributes to a brand.

(Enter Darth Vadar music) The pint sized Darth Vadar uses his force around his humble abode but to no avail. Disheartened and frustrated he cradles his head in his hand. Then came the sound of a car. He rushes out to the front yard, pushing past a civilian to give one last go with the force. He concentrates. Focuses. (Vroom) The car engine growls into action.

Everybody remembers that Superbowl TVC by Volkswagen which spread across the globe to even those clueless of what Superbowl is. All due to the viral sharing of the youtube video uploaded by VW on the very same day as the TVC airing. The youtube video has 54 million views thus far.

There have been countless Superbowl ads that have gained an international audience through Youtube. Budweiser, Coca Cola, Nike and McDonalds are among the regular advertisers at Superbowl and for good reason. An estimated 111 million viewers watches the annual Superbowl and it is only during this time of the year that advertisers get this amount of viewership. It is not cheap though. An average advertisement costs USD$3.5 million.

For the longest time, these commercials are expected to be the game’s entertainment before, during and after the game. They are expected to be unique and humorous and it is the one time in a year that people do not leave their seats or switch channels during a commercial break. People have come to anticipate the ‘great’ ads especially during half-time.

Most of these ads soon turn viral as people start talking about them over social media or at work. Prompting huge search queries for the ad or its product. Thus, making Superbowl ads resonate with the target market and worth every single cent paid by advertisers. Online media also helped increase these expensive ads’ reach beyond America and to countries who don’t even watch Superbowl.

This is one of many examples of an effective use of new media for advertising. I will be covering more case studies and sharing more of my thoughts of new age advertising in my blog. So stay tuned and subscribe to my page!