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Clever Campaigns VS Heavy Facebook Ads

Back in 2009 I put together my dissertation on advertising in social networks and how brands may struggle to be seen amongst the clutter.  Although some of the examples are quite dated the theory still appears relevant. Here is chapter 2.8: The positive and negative outcomes:

Addressing the right people, in the right concept can show positive results for organisations.

Dell Inc, one of the most highly recommended computer manufactures was struggling in the market back in 2006, as they saw a heavy decrease in shares after facing competition from other brands such as Hewlett Packard. To regain strength they decided to employ Federated Media (social Media marketing agency) to devise a creative application on Facebook. Dell had decided to win back most valuable customers by devising a Regeneration Graffiti contest. This enabled users to devise art work that would be used in their next campaign. Incentives were put forward as an award so that the winner would receive a Dell product.  The results showed,

‘1.1 million people voted on their favourite illustration, 7,300 people entered a submission, the contest has almost 1,300 friends, and there are currently 209 comments to the post at ReGeneration.org announcing the winners.’ (Taylor: 2008)

With such a high response rate Dell gained the mass attention intended for and consumers were happy to do something for the brand if they were rewarded for it.

‘Unlike most marketing campaigns that deploy heavy ads, fake viral videos, or message bombardment, this campaign let go to gain more. Overall, this is a successful campaign as they turned the action over to the community, let them take charge, decide on the winners, all under the context of the regeneration campaign.’ (Owyang 2008),

Brands that interact with their target audience through Facebook will also receive important Feedback which is something Marmite discovered through their clever approach.

‘Marmite has created a branded group on Facebook that asks members to declare their love or hatred for the brand, and invites them to suggest how the product could be improved.’ (Campaign2008)

Gaining response in this format is less time consuming, easily constructed and decreases expenditure. This was a powerful way of gathering useful feedback and encouraging Word of Mouth. Applying this to the weak theory, Marmite nudged their consumers to voice their opinion which enabled them to gather necessary feedback. Without invading people privacy, they cut through the clutter tactfully.

‘social networking sites can add value and generate revenues through advertising, subscription, and transaction models, (Enders et al, 2008) identified the number of users, their willingness to pay, and their trust in peers and the platform as the key value drivers.’ (Page 2008)

However there are dangers of clever campaigns having the opposite effect to how you wish, New Media Age editor Justin Pearse said:

“On the Internet you often have little control of where your ads are shown, something that’s been highlighted by the unwitting association of some of the UK’s favourite brands with a highly controversial political cause.”

‘Companies withdrew advertisements from Facebook after they appeared on a British national Party page, these companies included major chains such as Vodafone and Virgin media, whom said they needed to ‘protect their brand’ (BBC, 2007)

This proves that well known, popular brands have experienced negative effects as their good intentions have fallen back on them.

‘Cova and Cova warned, online groups are very different from those in the offline world. Their behaviour is active, resistant. If we are learning anything in the digital arena, it is that it may be dangerous to talk simply of herds, because those brands that are succeeding in this space are not those that try to herd, but those that give consumers reasons to rally together as active packs.’ (Morning 2008)

Burger King was also a company that experienced negative response as they devised a clever campaign to introduce their new ‘whopper’, but it didn’t quite get the response it was looking for. The popular Fast food brand asked Facebook users to de friend ten people in exchange for a free whopper.

The application raised interest but within a short period of time it started to appear incredibly intrusive, being unable to meet the user’s expectations and was therefore removed.

“Facebook has disabled Whopper Sacrifice after your love for the Whopper sandwich proved to be stronger than 233,906 friendships.” (LaVallee :2009)

Although this is seen as an example of companies trying to push their way through the clutter it can also be a result of bad advertising and ineffective targeting.

‘If you deliver value, people will get involved … If you go over and above what people expect and create super satisfaction amongst the right people, that’s when you generate advocacy.’ (James 2008)

It only takes one person to pass on negative vibes about a brand to create damaging effects and It is not necessarily how well brands construct messages and deliver them accordingly, it can be a case of who they target first, in what way and how this message is passed on.

Market research has shown that it can be suggested we are not individuals within the decision making process, ‘Mark Earls states that ‘we are who we are and do what we do as a herd not as individuals.’ (Mackay 2005:32)

‘Earls asserted that humans have an innate herding instinct; that as individuals we gravitate towards behaviours dictated by the wider group, following the crowd as it were,’ there is much evidence that the latent desire to herd is as strong in our online environment as the it is offline. (Morning 2008)

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