Social media case study: Cadbury spots v stripes campaign

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Cadburys chocolate

Image courtesy of sudeep1106

You may have seen Cadbury’s new spots and stripes underwater advert. It’s the one that starts off a little like a high-resolution marine screen saver but then develops into something that resembles a mini film.

If you have watched it, did you know what it was advertising? Or did you have to follow the call-to-action at the end of the ad and visit the website URL to find out what the hell was going on?

This new campaign by Cadbury really seems to recognise something that we’ve said before -  social media doesn’t just take place online. Their advert is incomplete without referring you to their social media site (www.spotsvstripes.com). And this site would not stand alone and be as successful without the advert driving people to it.

As an official sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the thinking behind the current Cadbury campaign is to  split the nation into two teams, the spots and stripes, to compete in game play in the lead up to London 2012. All people need to do is join one of the teams by signing up on the website to begin scoring points for their chosen team.

Cadbury will encourage people to engage with the Spots v Stripes site through dedicated social media channels, like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, in combination with more traditional marketing methods  like TV and outdoor advertising in keeping with their online/offline theme. And while the site definitely plays on social gaming interaction, you can score points for offline games like running or crazy golf and can also download games from the site to play offline.

Perhaps the key sales driver for Cadbury from this whole campaign will be the introduction of a brand new product - the Challenge Bar. The Challenge Bar is a milk and white chocolate bar divided into three sections; one spotty, one stripy and one chunk in the middle which the Spot and the Stripe must play for.

The launch of this new chocolate bar will be supported by traditional offline marketing, but each Challenge Bar has one of 20 different games printed on the inside of the wrapper to get consumers playing for the “winners” chunk and driving people online to claim the points for their chosen team. The campaign will also see Cadbury touring the country in order to get the whole of the UK involved with both the Cadbury and olympic games, and, more than likely, promote the Challenge Bar.

Given that the campaign only launched last week, it remains to be seen whether this fully integrated offline and online  campaign will really take off. What is interesting to see though is that Cadbury has recognised that offline is converging with online - something that all digital marketers need to be aware of.

Read more of our Social Media Case Studies

Is a specialist social media agency the key to social media success?

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pile_of_capsWith digital marketing becoming an increasingly important part of  brand strategy, more and more “traditional” agencies are employing experienced digital marketers to ensure they win online briefs by providing clients with services that span across all marketing mediums.

However, when it comes to social media, still a relatively new part of digital marketing, is it best to employ a specialist social media agency to focus on developing and implementing an in-depth social media strategy, or is it better to look for  a one-cap-fits-all agency to provide all your marketing, advertising and digital needs?

According to Marketing magazine, brands  need to reconsider how they organise their digital activity given its increasing importance as a marketing channel.

Paul Troy, the global head of advertising and content at Barclaycard, has suggested that he will be looking for one agency to work across  all marketing activity. Perhaps he feels marketing and advertising efforts will be more joined up if he pursues just one agency. It’s likely this approach will also save him money and potentially give him more control over the agency, as the financial loss to the agency if they loose a large, cross-channel account is much greater then just a single project or campaign.

On the other hand, lots of brands, like Honda and Toyota, are sceptical about big, “jack of all trades” agencies because of their inability to keep up with digital developments, especially when it comes to social media. Toyota, for example, use specialist agencies for each marketing discipline as they feel that above-the-line agencies often focus on TV ideas first and foremost and digital doesn’t fit naturally into their strategic thinking.

So when it comes to employing agencies, in particular specialist agencies like a social media agency,  what’s the best way forward? Getting specialist agencies to work together across marketing briefs could be one way of addressing gaps in experience and knowledge while still ensuring joined up thinking across the board. Agency partnerships of this kind would also allow clients to consolidate their marketing supplier base, potentially saving costs and reducing time trying to source the correct agency for each task.

At the moment though it seems there is no definitive answer about the approach that brands and businesses should take to employing agencies.  The decision really depends on the key strategic aims of the business.

The landscape for both multi-channel and specialist agencies (particularly social media agencies) is changing fast and the best advice for brands looking for agency help is to identify the expertise that can develop and implement a strategy that will achieve key targets rather than think about the type of agency you are hiring.

Read another post about the benefits of a specialist social media agency.

You teach what you accept: As true in parenting as it is in online community management

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fairview blackboard
Image by Audra B via Flickr

As Mumsnet celebrates it’s 10th anniversary an article in yesterday’s Sunday Times titled: The bullies hiding behind Mumsnet’s skirts discussed how some members of the Mumsnet community have become “spiteful and cliquey” along with obscene language that now “peppers the website”.

As any parent knows (I certainly do to my cost) that if a parent allows one perhaps questionable aspect of their child’s behaviour to be acceptable that particular behaviour is soon learnt by that child’s sibling(s). This could not be truer when translated to online communities.

An established support community whether run as a not-for-profit or as in Mumsnet case on a commercial basis play a vital role in bringing together isolated people seeking answers to questions. With the wisdom of crowds phenomenon, communities help individuals with the most complex problems and in the process create a valuable asset for the organisation running the community.

Online communities’ need experienced community management from the start if their community is to grow into a vibrant, healthy and nurturing environment. By following a pre-agreed launch and community growth strategy the tone and etiquette of the resulting community activity also reflects the overall culture of the organisation hosting it.

This isn’t just about moderation. In fact moderation is rarely necessary where an effective community manager runs the community. They can recognise the patterns of behavior indicating potential problems in the future. These patterns are largely predictable in the path they take so that path can be shifted or influenced.

In the absence of proactive online community management, two less desirable outcomes are most likely:

  1. No one will come and because of that no one else wants to come.
  2. The community starts well but then is taken over by a few members selfishly for their own ends. Which if left unchecked can be extremely damaging for the organisation behind the community.

Perhaps some rocky teenage years lie ahead for Mumsnet?

It’s cool to align your brand with a cause in social media (even if only for a short time)

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Ice Cold Pepsi
Image by boeke via Flickr

One question brands frequently ask themselves is why should people want to discuss their brand online in social media? With some brands that is true, certainly if they want to develop a sustained online conversation over time.

Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives using social media are not new. Brands that have aligned to a pursuit or a cause have found that the online conversations are more purposeful as their brand is seen in a new light.

Recently Pepsi has caught the attention of social media commentators by going one step better and much bigger. By shifting $20m of event based traditional advertising budget (from the Superbowl) Pespi launched the Pepsi Refresh Project.

Bonin Bough (Global Director Digital and Social Media at PepisCo.) described it on Beth Kantor’s non-profit focused blog:

For those who don’t know, the Pepsi Refresh Project is a new effort to empower individuals to make a positive impact on the world.  We’ve pledged to award more than $20 million to support innovative ideas that move communities forward. Anyone can apply for a grant and the public decides who wins.

Each month, Pepsi will award grants up to $1.3 million to the winning ideas across six categories, including: Health, Arts & Culture, Food & Shelter, The Planet, Neighborhoods and Education.

The interesting question is that Pepsi has first mover advantage is repeating this type of campaign possible in the future? i.e. can they (or for that matter anyone else) do the same sort of crowd sourced campaign next year and expect to get the same media exposure?

The longer term impact of the Pepsi Refresh Project partly depends on whether the causes that benefit will talk or continue to talk online about Pepsi.

This is our first post in a new series on social media and not-for-profits

Three reasons Twitter Lists are great (and two areas for improvement)

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Day4
Image by Selaphoto via Flickr

It would seem that this week Twitter has been releasing Lists to everybody. A lot has been written about this move and the differences it makes to Twitter and the way people will use it. For me, it makes a significant difference to the way users will use Twitter. It allows you to segment the people who are interested in on Twitter and group people who write about similar things or that you know for similar reasons or from similar places.

It will be interesting to see how the embedding and adoption of Twitter Lists will change the way that people are using it. Will people stop following people and follow lists instead? Will people share lists with friends and colleagues? How will lists be used to support events and discussions.

There are lots of questions, but from just 24 hours of using Twitter Lists I have some personal observations - three reasons why they’re great and two areas where I’d love to see some improvement.

Three reasons Twitter Lists are great

  1. They let me keep up with people who Tweet less often. I follow a lot of people on Twitter. Over the last couple of years I’ve slowly added the people I meet, people I respect and people I enjoy listening to and I now have quite a few of them. One of the problems with Twitter is that it lists the latest Tweets from all my friends in chronological order. Those people who don’t Tweet that often therefore get swallowed up by the mass of people who do it more often. I can put together a Twitter List of friends, for example. And now actually see what they say even if they only Tweet a couple of times a day or even less.
  2. They let me group people who Tweet about similar things. One of the real benefits for me of Twitter is that I can follow people who are interested in similar things - people who run and work in Online Communities in London, for example. Twitter Lists allow me to create my own groups of people based on my own interests. I choose people that I think are similar and group them together. If I want to know what people working in online communities in London are thinking and saying, I now have a place to go to. Twitter Lists give the List creator significant control over what the list is for and who is on it. They are my lists that I can, if I choose, share with others.
  3. They let me keep some groups of people private from others. There are lots of reasons I might want to group people together and follow them on Twitter. I’m interested in Client-Side Social Media People, for example, and have grouped them together for me and if anybody else want to follow that list too then that’s great. Other lists I want just for me. A group of friends from University, for example, who I want to follow but don’t necessarily want to advertise or share with the rest of the world. The list will mean nothing to them and I might not want to advertise this list to everybody who follows me on Twitter. That I can control which Lists are private and which are public for all to see gives me, as the List creator, even more control.

Two areas where Lists could be improved

  1. Better search of my own ‘following’. Lists highlight a real problem with Twitter as a tool for organising people you follow. There is no real search just of people I follow in Twitter. I cannot find the people I follow who are in London, for example, or even everybody I follow called Matt. When I created my list of French Social Media People, for example, I knew that I already followed a whole bunch of people that I wanted to group together in this way. I just couldn’t find them easily. Even a simple search and filter function on the ‘Following’ page would have helped me to organise people more easily.
  2. Allow me to make my List collaborative. There are currently two types of List that I can create: private ones (such as a list of people I work with) and public ones (such as my list of people who say things that make me think). I’d like a third level: collaborative Lists. Some of my public lists I’d love other people to add to. This would help me - I would find new people because others would add them to my list. It would also help to mitigate against a proliferation of Lists which contain the same core of people with a few different and new people that an individual knows. Giving the List creator the power to make some, but not all, of their Lists collaborative would still give them significant control over what they create. They could just allow other people to help them.