The adage ‘Content is King’ is now becoming something of a cliché, rolled out regularly to prove the author’s understanding that it’s not just hits that count, but how people perceive your message and what they do with it, turning viewers from passive observers to willing propagators of your content is obviously crucial. A central component of this – creating a synergy between online video and social networking- to the extent that your audience become co-curators in your campaigns.
Coca Cola's "Content 2020 Project"
There is a pressing need to go one step further than simply making an interesting or entertaining sales pitch. Coca Cola’s recent UK-focused marketing strategy is very prescient: their latest marketing plan - the 'Content 2020 project' - is a push to not just create interesting content, but to grasp the joint video and social nettle. Coca Cola’s mission statement; “we will move from creative excellence to content excellence” – a sign of the intent of the market leaders.
Developing what Coca Cola deem "liquid content" (quick to change, adapt and grow with its audience across any medium) requires a planning process: a shift from quantitative upfront research such as surveys and statistics, to more of an emphasis on engaging with customers and listening to their insights.
Coca Cola employed CommuniSpace, (http://www.communispace.com/home.aspx) which allowed them to create an online dialogue with customers to evolve ideas further. Coke has seized the ‘70/20/10’ model of content development, and have thrown their enthusiasm behind innovative, consumer and social-based strategies that would fit the ‘10%’ bracket (see below):
- 70% = Low risk content: takes up less time - They know what works from experience. Standard, unremarkable stuff.
- 20% = Targeted at a more specific audience but still a broad scale. Innovate on what works well.
- 10% = High risk content: brand new ideas which will become tomorrow's 70% and 20%s. Take risks, and celebrate both failure and success. If it works, it works big,
Coke’s original ideas?
Encouraging conversations on Twitter with "What's the one thing you'd do to make the world a better place?", and "Your Stories" on FaceBook - a collection of fan posts showing how people from around the world have helped make Coke into what it is today. For the specific UK focus, there is a blog featuring the mothers of Olympic Athletes topical, empathetic and appealing to a wide range of consumers. Top it all off with the Mark Ronson led live music events, videos and artist vlogs, and you have quite the interactive package:
Rubber Republica’s Video Campaign for Peugeot
Then there's the original initiative of Rubber Republica’s 'Non-stop' campaign for Peugeot
Rubber Republic describe themselves as;
“A boutique agency that make engaging and fun things happen to help brands thrive in a world curated by the likes of Twitter, FaceBook and blogs”
The synthesis of a video ad campaign and social media awareness is clear here.
When I spoke to Rory Ahearn of Rubber Republic, he said they received a clear brief from Peugeot's agency ‘Initial Marketing’, who had found the soundtrack (Rudimental’s ‘Feel the Love’) that would become the music for an experiential road show, and furthermore would create the framework for the launch of the new Peugeot 208. Not just a channel, but a whole series of live events was organized around this product.
Rubber Republic’s challenge
Rubber was asked to create a video that would be the start of a much wider cross media campaign. Peugeot knew it needed something that would be digital and social as the best approach to reach the target demographic for the car which was for a younger and fashionable group.
Rubber Republic confirm this, saying
“The video needed to appeal to younger drivers, [and] genuinely offer YouTube audiences entertaining content while reinforcing the new Peugeot 208′s global advertising proposition ‘Let Your Body Drive’”.
How did they do this? With exhaustive casting and auditioning, in an attempt to create a new online hero, or a massive attempt to start an online trend? No – they simply contacted an individual who was already a social networking sensation, as they confirm: “We (along with the 43 million+ others) first noticed Marquese [Scott] last September when he uploaded one of YouTube’s most viewed videos of 2012: ‘Pumped Up Kicks’”, and made him a central component of Peugeot’s own ‘Let Your Body Drive’ channel.
Peugeot v Nonstop
In this piece we see Marquese working his way rhythmically around an empty multi-storey car park, as a camera slowly pans to follow him. According to Rubber Republica’s website, “The video was shot in one take. There are no edits, no visual effects and Marquese just turned up and did his thing without choreography”.
[Video removed from YouTube]
There is no on-screen mention of product, and the car itself is not even in frame all the time.
This led to wide coverage in blogs and comment sites, with the campaign debuting in the viral video chart at number four. As Rubber Republic put it, the campaign, Initial’s chosen soundtrack and Marquese “was a match made in heaven”.
And the moral is...
When it comes to viral video and social content, Rubber state they had been trying to get various brands to take this approach to promoting their products and services for over ten years.
The three founders of Rubber had started their business by making things that people wanted to watch. They built an environment of ‘enthusiasm for the next thing’. This would become the viral 'seeding' means for whatever they did in the future - whatever that might be. The concept was to ask what will entertain and who will watch it and then what brand is a natural fit for that content. And the companies are coming on board to this.
Rory Ahearn deserves the last word:
"Traditional advertising won't disappear, but finally, smart brands such as Peugeot have realised that a synergy of entertainment and existing cultural trends wins over a sales pitch for certain demographics, and is often a more interesting, valuable and ultimately profitable approach."