In my last post, I provided a guide to social integration, explaining its importance to maintaining relevant messaging that will gain attention. I shared my favorite interactive campaign at the moment–Grey Poupon’s Society of Good Taste (SOGT). [If you missed it, there’s a great overview of the campaign on Mashable].
And in case you were curious about the success of this campaign, the impressions earned from media (EXCLUDING the PRNewswire pick-up) total more than 80 million. The story was picked up by: New York Times, CNBC, ABC News, Time, Gizmodo, Mashable, AdWeek, and Creativity. Chelsea Handler talked about the app for more than three minutes on her show in September, which aired three times on E! Rainn Wilson tweeted about Grey Poupon, receiving 3.3 M impressions and over 300 retweets.
“If you’re thinking ‘Will people really do this?!,’ they most likely won’t.”
Even French’s created a “Dijon for All” post in response to SOGT, but that didn’t stop Grey Poupon from becoming the #1 mustard brand on Facebook. Through 11/24, they added 39,019 fans, seeing a 190.3% growth.
This campaign comes from the minds of Crispin Porter + Brodusky [note: they developed the Burger King’s Subservient Chicken cir. 2004, along with many other notable award-winning, campaigns]. While writing my initial piece, I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Executive Creative Director, Tom Markham. I found the insight he provided so powerful, I decided it deserved its own post.
Without further ado, here’s what Tom Markham had to say about the Grey Poupon campaign, and interactive marketing as a whole.
Jaclyn Lambert: Starting from the initial idea to the finished product, how long did this take to develop, and did you imagine it would turn out the way it did (both concept and public perception)?
Tom Markham: We usually concept work a while before it runs, as part of a yearly or quarterly plan. So there’s usually quite a delay. But once it got the green light, it took a few months of production to scope and build the thing.
It turned out pretty much exactly as I had personally pictured it, which is common at CP+B because the people who make stuff here are so awesome and can meet any challenge. The response is much harder to predict, so I try not to get my hopes up.
I’m a total pessimist when it comes to my job. So yeah, I was pleased it got attention. I’m most happy that the Grey Poupon fans and rejects got the joke. We got very few people actually upset or angry to have failed.
JL: Why do you think people enjoy interactive experiences like Society of Good Taste and Take this Lollipop so much, making these experiences so widely popular?
TM: The goal is to come up with something that plays against a cultural tension in a new way. With Lollipop, it took the common fear of “what will this app do with my Facebook account?” to the extreme. And a lot of people are getting sick of brands trying to get “Likes” by any means possible, so SOGT was a reaction to that. If there’s no tension in an idea, it has to work much harder as pure utility or entertainment.
JL: I’m sure you’ve heard, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.” Do you think a lot of interactive campaigns need to contain a “call to buy,” or is there more to it than simply that? Is there ever a way to ensure or predict whether a successful campaign will bring in more revenue?
TM: If you’re just talking about earned impressions, or whatever other term people use to avoid saying “viral,” no – there is no way to predict. It’s a gamble. A gamble whether anyone will even see your campaign, let alone buy as a result of it. So if you want to play in that space, as a client, you have to leave the science and metrics at the door and rely on instinct, trust, imagination, courage.
No, I don’t believe you need a call-to-buy in every campaign. Many brands have goals like “instead of buying 10 per year, we want them to buy 11,” which can be achieved through positive brand experiences just fine. That’s why sponsorships work. I like Target a little more because Scott Dixon is sponsored by them.
Of course with interactive, you don’t want to be that random. You want the idea to be on-brand and communicate something about the product, preferably something unique. But you don’t always need a “click here to buy” button.
JL: In an interview with Adverblog, you state that the biggest mistake people are making in mobile/web marketing is: “Confusing the real Internet with an illusionary marketing Internet, full of consumers who can’t wait to interact and converse with all the brands in their lives. Or confusing people using mobile devices with consumers using a marketing platform.” If this is the case, when/where does web marketing become a part of a consumer’s life online? And is it ever appropriate?
TM: When the marketing is worthwhile to them, as busy people. When the trade between their lost time and their gained reward is in their favor. That’s where pessimism in this job can be helpful. If you’re thinking “Will people really do this?!,” they most likely won’t.
JL: Where do you foresee interactive spaces heading in the future, and how do you feel about it (specifically curious in human-to-computer interaction)?
TM: Nothing drastic. I’m tired of the predictions of flying cars letting me down. If I jumped ahead 10 years, I’m pretty confident I wouldn’t be surprised much by the digital world. I bet I could pick up the iPhone 11 and use it just fine. Except of course the damn charger would have a different sized plug.
So there you have it, insights from one of the most creative advertising/marketing minds of our time. My take-aways are:
- I’m not the only person who can be pessimistic about my work. Bonus points: you’re far more likely to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed.
- It’s okay to create tension (or slight uncertainty) with a campaign. If you don’t, make sure it’s either going to make your audience’s life easier or make them laugh.
- When trying to predict or pre-determine the success of a creative campaign, rely on your gut rather than numbers or metrics.
- Don’t lose your brand, especially if you’re not including a specific call-to-buy in your interactive campaign.
- Figure out how and when your marketing efforts–or messaging–will be “worthwhile” to your target audience. If there’s any doubt that your audience will respond to your call-to-action, they probably won’t. Apply your efforts elsewhere.
- We never really know what’s coming next in digital marketing or technology. No matter what, we’ll all adapt and leverage what the innovators create–then the next version will be released.
Now that I have shared some of the best interactive campaigns I’ve seen, I want to know what your favorites are! Share them in the comments below.
Have a question for Tom? Leave it in a comment. Maybe he’ll agree to do a second interview with me!