Great Digital Marketing: What Works & Why?

These six bril­liant case stud­ies illus­trate the essen­tial ele­ments of suc­cess­ful dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing.

Greg Jarboe By Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR. Join the discussion » 1 comment

The Inter­ac­tive Adver­tis­ing Bureau (IAB) recent­ly released a report that exam­ines 24 award-win­ning cam­paigns from around the world. Each of the report’s case stud­ies includes com­men­tary, dig­i­tal video, and clear-cut met­rics that reflect the over­whelm­ing suc­cess of these cam­paigns designed for a vari­ety of brands and audi­ences. Let’s look at six of the cam­paigns curat­ed from var­i­ous inter­na­tion­al IAB MIXX Awards pro­grams and oth­er sim­i­lar hon­ors around the world.

Although cre­at­ing great dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is both an art and a sci­ence, these award-win­ning cam­paigns from the IAB’s “What Works & Why: IAB Glob­al Insights Report 2015,” spot­light three themes that mar­keters who believe in a strong cus­tomer-cen­tric focus will want to under­stand:

  • Authen­tic­i­ty: Work that deeply res­onates with local con­sumers.
  • Cred­i­bil­i­ty and niche demos: Work that engages by age, pro­fes­sions, and pas­sions.
  • Uni­ver­sal truths: Work that demon­strates mobile behav­iors that cross con­ti­nents.


Work That Deeply Resonates With Local Consumers

The “Amer­i­ca Is Beau­ti­ful” cam­paign enabled The Coca-Cola Com­pa­ny to change the con­ver­sa­tion in social media.

The Unit­ed States is com­mon­ly called a melt­ing pot, refer­ring to the many eth­nic­i­ties and cul­tur­al back­grounds rep­re­sent­ed by its cit­i­zens. But when Coca-Cola cel­e­brat­ed this diver­si­ty in a Super Bowl TV spot, it launched a social media con­tro­ver­sy that near­ly eclipsed the big game itself.

Over videos of Amer­i­cans enjoy­ing hap­py moments, the patri­ot­ic song “Amer­i­ca the Beau­ti­ful” was sung in sev­er­al dif­fer­ent lan­guages. Social media explod­ed with both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive com­ments.

To steer the con­ver­sa­tion toward inclu­sive­ness, Coca-Cola sent tai­lored ver­sions of the video (LGBT, Native Amer­i­can, inter­ra­cial par­ents, among oth­er demo­graph­ic cat­e­gories) to Amer­i­cans on Face­book based on their user data. Those high­ly tar­get­ed and emo­tion­al videos then helped lift the pos­i­tive chat­ter and pushed Coca-Cola to the No. 1 trend­ing top­ic on Face­book dur­ing the Super Bowl and for two days after.

More than 87 mil­lion per­son­al­ized invi­ta­tions were sent. The effort attract­ed 63 mil­lion earned impres­sions. Aver­age engage­ment per Face­book post: 18,447 likes, 2,433 com­ments, and 5,604 shares.

The “One Man Rand” video on YouTube enabled San­lam to con­nect on a deep­er lev­el with its South African audi­ence.

South Africans have a spend­ing and sav­ing prob­lem. House­hold debt aver­ages 75 per­cent of South Africans’ after-tax income.

To draw aware­ness to this prob­lem, San­lam, one of the country’s lead­ing finan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies, embarked on an exper­i­ment in which one man would pay for every­thing with one Rand coins. (One Rand is worth near­ly USD $0.10.) He had his salary paid to him in coins. He pur­chased every­thing he need­ed in change.

His crazy adven­tures were cap­tured on video and pro­duced into week­ly episodes. Finan­cial experts weighed in with advice, and con­sumer and social media loud­ly ampli­fied the effort.

The result: the “One Rand Man” video ranked No. 1 for YouTube South Africa with more than 900,000 views. The work also gen­er­at­ed more than 74 mil­lion media impres­sions.

Credibility & Niche Demos

Work That Engages By Age, Professions, Passions

Rip Curl Search GPS” enabled the Aus­tralian design­er, man­u­fac­tur­er, and retail­er of surf­ing sports­wear and accom­pa­ny­ing prod­ucts to tar­get at a niche demo.

For surfers around the world, the per­fect wave is an elu­sive goal. But Rip Curl used tech­nol­o­gy to make this uni­ver­sal goal eas­i­er to attain.

The Rip Curl Search plat­form is a smart­watch with mobile and desk­top apps that mea­sures users’ surf­ing activ­i­ty (speed, dis­tance and wave count) and allows them to share it with the world. For the first time, surfers can track and share their activ­i­ties, dig­i­tal­ly search out where they’re most like­ly to find the per­fect wave, and fol­low the pros and their friends.

Rip Curl turned a soli­tary and fleet­ing expe­ri­ence into a share­able one, unit­ing a frag­ment­ed glob­al com­mu­ni­ty under their brand and sell­ing 30,000 pre-orders of the watch in the first week of launch.

Zwrot­ka Żyw­ca (Żywiec ‘The Verse’)” enabled Żywiec to become world famous in Poland.

Music and adver­tis­ing have worked togeth­er to engage con­sumers around the world for decades. Beer brand Żywiec added user par­tic­i­pa­tion and brand response into the mix to achieve great­ness.

The brand pro­mot­ed its Męskie Granie 2014 (Male Music Con­cert Tour), its artists, and the new sin­gle “Elec­tri­cal” by cre­at­ing a web-based music “Mad Lib.” Users select­ed lyrics from thou­sands of word options online that fit with the rhythm and tone of “Elec­tri­cal.”

Top Pol­ish artists then per­formed the new song – yes, every sin­gle ver­sion of it, and 150,000 ver­sion of the song were cre­at­ed. The new lyrics cre­at­ed songs of all kinds, even ridicu­lous ones with lyrics like “The great shark hears a cauliflower’s scream.” The fun and per­son­al­iza­tion of the music expe­ri­ence caught on.

Five hun­dred thou­sand peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed; peo­ple even used the vers­es as their com­ments in social media. Users spent an aver­age of more than 6 min­utes on the web­site. And the music video was viewed more than 1.5 mil­lion times.

Universal Truths

Work That Demonstrates Mobile Behaviors That Cross Continents

The “Turn Off To Turn On” cam­paign enabled Durex demon­strate that mobile phones and, well, sex are two inter­ests that most of the world has in com­mon. When Durex real­ized that gad­gets were inter­fer­ing with people’s sex lives, it had land­ed on an insight that pow­ered a cam­paign from its ori­gin in the UK to a glob­al audi­ence.

Durex’s viral “Turn Off to Turn On” cam­paign includ­ed a series of Face­book posts, mis­sion state­ments, and a short film pro­mot­ing the mes­sage to turn off devices in order to “turn on.” To make the mes­sage even more rel­e­vant and time­ly, the mar­keter timed it all to Earth Hour, when peo­ple, glob­al­ly, are urged to pow­er down for an hour.

This Earth Hour I’m a lover, not a gamer,” one head­line said. “We will log out, pow­er down, close the tablet, switch off the TV, and reboot our rela­tion­ships,” anoth­er read. The results were stag­ger­ing:

  • The work gained 1.96 bil­lion cam­paign impres­sions.
  • Video views reached 85 mil­lion across 56 coun­tries.
  • The effort gen­er­at­ed pos­i­tive sen­ti­ment 97.8 per­cent of the time.

#ShareThe­So­fa” enabled Heineken to answer a uni­ver­sal ques­tion: Would you rather watch a UEFA Cham­pi­ons League game alone (as most fans do) or with a soc­cer leg­end? The obvi­ous answer to this ques­tion is the insight behind Heineken’s block­buster live sec­ond-screen show, #ShareThe­So­fa.

Through Twit­ter and Vine, view­ers could watch the game beside foot­ball leg­ends, also plant­ed on a sofa (but in Heineken style, of course, with the help of hip friends, cheer­lead­ers, freestylers and oth­ers). Fans could use the hash­tag to ask them ques­tions, which the soc­cer stars would respond to, or they could just watch and read the real-time show.

Heineken, a game spon­sor, com­ple­ment­ed the main event with­out tak­ing it over and cre­at­ed a huge, glob­al com­mu­ni­ty to boot. The results speak for them­selves:

  • #Sharethe­So­fa reached fans in 94 coun­tries.
  • It earned 1.2 bil­lion media impres­sions.
  • The brand con­nect­ed with 13.4 mil­lion Twit­ter han­dles every game.
  • Heineken was present in 79 per­cent of all con­ver­sa­tion relat­ed to the Cham­pi­ons League on Twit­ter, more than any oth­er spon­sor in the his­to­ry of Twit­ter.
  • The work sold beer. Pur­chase intent went up 7 per­cent.

Suc­cess­ful dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing in every cor­ner of the globe is char­ac­ter­ized by authen­tic dia­logue and cre­ativ­i­ty. Brands and mar­keters who believe in a strong cus­tomer-cen­tric focus will be delight­ed to know that dig­i­tal is a bor­der­less medi­um that nonethe­less deeply respects region­al and cul­tur­al dif­fer­ences.

Greg Jarboe

Written by Greg Jarboe

President, SEO-PR

Greg Jarboe is President and co-founder of SEO-PR, an award-winning content marketing agency that was founded in 2003. He’s the author of YouTube and Video Marketing and also a contributor to The Art of SEO, Strategic Digital Marketing, Complete B2B Online Marketing, and Enchantment. He’s profiled in the book Online Marketing Heroes, a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and writes for Tubular Insights and The SEM Post. He’s an executive education instructor at the Rutgers Business School and the Video and Content Marketing faculty chair at Simplilearn.

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