Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Best in Class" Marketing Using Social Media

MediaTech Blog Post:
"Best in Class" Marketing Using Social Media
Originally Published HERE by Peter Yang

What do tampons, soft drinks, and the “best job in the world” have in common?

They’re all examples of marketing campaigns that effectively use social media to establish a direct dialogue with the consumer. With numerous media formats and multiple devices competing for the consumer’s attention, it’s more difficult than ever for today’s brand managers to connect with their target audience. But companies such as P&G, Tourism Queensland, and Pepsi have found success by using the power of social media to drive engagement, relevancy, and results.

P&G’s The Last Thing that 12-14 Year Old Girls Want to Talk about is Tampons

Imagine for a moment that you’re the brand manager for P&G’s feminine care products. Your target audience is 12-14 year old girls. The last thing that they want to talk about is tampons.

Instead of using traditional TV advertising, P&G created is not so much a community about tampons as it is a community about the problems of being a 12-14 year old girl. Girls can participate in discussion groups, read articles, enter contests, fill out polls, and ask a trained psychologist questions. Topics include relationship advice, diet tips, and stories about growing up. Ads for P&G’s Tampax and Always products are visible but do not dominate the site. They exist in the corner of’s home page, in a section labeled “free samples,” and below articles such as “Boys and Dating…Why Is It All So Complicated?”
P&G's home page

P&G's home page

The result? was 4x as effective as a similarly priced TV marketing campaign. The site generates over 2 million unique visitors per month and has been duplicated by P&G in 21 different countries.

P&G found success by building a social community to establish a direct dialogue with its consumers. In 2000, was filled with dry educational material about puberty. Although puberty is something that teenage girls think about, the site initially didn’t generate much traffic. Perplexed, P&G polled the site’s users to list the types of content that they desired and found that teenage girls were – not surprisingly – also very interested in music.

In response, P&G partnered with Sony BMG to feature recording artists on In addition to being educational, the site had also become fun. In the words of David Knox, a brand manager for P&G’s teenage beauty division: “Teens wear their brands as a badge, you can’t sell them lipstick because it’s long lasting or deodorant because it keeps them dry. But if they associate the brand with the first time they saw Teddy Geiger’s eyes — well, you can’t buy that kind of thing!”

A visit to today reveals two important facts. First, P&G has learned from the site’s users – links to download free songs from popular artists are featured directly on’s home page. Second, P&G is still learning from the site’s users – the same home page also features a four part consumer poll about pantiliners.

Tourism Queensland’s “The Best Job in the World” Gets International Attention

Imagine that you’re the brand manager for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef – hundreds of islands in Australia with pristine beaches, coral reefs, and an abundance of wildlife. Your target audience is tourists from eight key international markets. The problem? When tourists think about an island vacation, they think about Hawaii, the Maldives and the Caribbeans – not Australia. Oh, and you only have a budget of $1.2M.

Tourism Queensland’s hired ad agency MS&L to launch its campaign, which focused on was a branded site that advertised “The Best Job in the World,” a year’s stay at the Great Barrier Reef for free. With a tiny budget, MS&L used traditional newspaper classified ads and online job listings launch the campaign in key markets. Here’s one such ad:
Best Job in the World newspaper ad

Best Job in the World newspaper ad

These ads brought consumers to the core website, where they were treated to stunning imagery from the Great Barrier Reef. The website also encouraged consumers to submit videos to apply for the position. To build an online community, submitted videos could be easily shared on popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The best videos found thousands of fans on YouTube:

Word of mouth spread, attracting the attention of major news outlets. Everyone from CNN to BBC to Time magazine began talking about “The Best Job in the World.”

The results were phenomenal. With a budget of only $1.2M, “The Best Job in the World” campaign generated over $300M in free media coverage from major news outlets. 34,684 video job applications were submitted from 197 countries to, which had 6.8M monthly unique visitors at its height. In total, Tourism Queensland estimates that over 3 billion people worldwide were touched by the campaign.

Pepsi’s Dewmocracy 2.0: The First Soft Drink Created Entirely By Its Fans

Imagine that you’re the brand manager in charge of introducing a new flavor of Mountain Dew. Your responsibilities include choosing the next Dew’s flavor, color, name, and graphics. You’re given seven flavors to choose from.

Dewmocracy 2.0 is a campaign that begins and ends with the consumer. Every aspect of the new flavor’s product development will be decided by Mountain Dew’s most passionate fans. To achieve this goal, Dewmocracy 2.0 takes full advantage of social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter,, and YouTube. The campaign is being rolled out in 7 stages.
Dewmocracy 2.0 home page

Dewmocracy 2.0 home page
Stage 1: From Seven Flavors to Three

Dewmocracy 2.0 kicked off in July 2009 with a traditional road tour – a team of trucks that traveled across 12 states giving consumers the chance to sample seven new Mountain Dew flavors. Visitors were encouraged to describe the flavors that they liked or disliked in video booths at each truck stop. These videos were uploaded directly to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. A total of 1.5M people attended the road tours, and three flavors were chosen based on their votes.
Stage 2: Online Community Creation

Stage 2 kicked off with the creation of DEW Labs, an exclusive online social community for Mountain Dew fans. Consumers were invited to DEW Labs only if they picked Mountain Dew as their top beverage of choice and drank it several times a day. DEW Labs members received samples for each of the three flavors and joined a Flavor Nation, a mini community dedicated to championing the flavor that they enjoyed the most.
Stage 3 and 4: Choosing a Color and Name

Each Flavor Nation was then asked to choose a color for their favorite flavor via Mountain Dew’s Facebook fan page. They were also encouraged to submit product names, which were then reviewed by Mountain Dew’s marketing team. The most popular names were given their own Twitter pages. Dew fans were encouraged to become followers of these pages if they liked the names. White Out, Distortion, and Typhoon were the ultimate names selected.
Stage 5 and 6: Designing a Label and TV Campaign

The next task was to design a label for each drink. A challenge was sent out to designers across the country and hundreds of submissions were received. Voters on Facebook narrowed down these submissions to three designers. Each designer then worked with Dew Labs members over conference calls and live chats to come up with a design unique to each flavor.
A similar process was used to determine the ad agencies that would work on a TV campaign for the new flavors.
Stage 7: Product Launch

This year, Mountain Dew will use both social networking and traditional media to conduct a two-tiered product rollout. Once the three flavors hit store shelves in April, fans could rally friends, family and the rest of the country to vote for their favorite flavor online. The flavor with the most votes will join the permanent Dew family on Labor Day.


By giving consumers almost complete control over the development of a new soft drink, Dewmocracy 2.0 is perhaps the most extreme example of leveraging social media to establish a direct dialogue with consumers. and “The Best Job in the World” have already demonstrated the impact that such campaigns can have. Although it’s more difficult than ever to reach today’s consumer, social media provides an opportunity for brand managers to communicate directly with their audience in previously unimaginable ways.


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