Agency Brief: Enticing people to walk the red carpet
Only a hermit or the most rabid anti-monarchist would have missed the recent royal nuptials. And wouldn’t it be great for your brand to have even a fraction of the love and attention showered on Will and Kate? All of the wonderful earned media is a mouth-watering prospect. From a marketing perspective, a royal wedding is a brilliant communications idea.
But setting aside the nearly impossible challenge of coming up with an idea for a brand that’s as good as a royal wedding, it would not be an easy event to pull off.
Where to find a venue as inspiring as Westminster Abbey? How would you get 1,900 VIP celebrities and dignitaries to come along to a brand event? And I don’t suppose a well-drilled troop of the household cavalry came cheap either.
Putting together an integrated campaign, the communications equivalent of a royal wedding, is not so very different. Integrated campaigns are bound to be more complicated than traditional campaigns in a handful of paid-for-media channels. If you are familiar with any of the wonderful guerilla campaigns staged by T Mobile, you’ll know what I’m getting at.
Take another example: the Heineken Auditorium staged in Italy in October 2009.The idea was to convince more than a thousand passionate AC Milan fans they were going to miss the Champions League clash with arch-rivals Real Madrid and instead go to a concert – to please the boss, a girlfriend or their university professor.
That meant getting a lot of people in on the joke: about 50 university teachers, a hundred girlfriends, several bosses and some journalists all had to be persuaded to set up the sting.
Managing the timing of each element of the event called for meticulous co-ordination so the concert would be revealed as a nice joke at exactly the moment the Champions League match kicked off. That is tricky to do with a live conductor and orchestra.
The idea sounded simple enough, but it took a team of about 30 people to co-ordinate all the partners and specialists: the PR agency, Sky TV, Heineken, the auditorium partner, a video production team and the newspaper partners. My point is, it doesn’t matter how good the creative concept is if you can’t make it happen.
And if you look into the anatomy of an integrated campaign, they are all unique so every new project needs freshly thought-out solutions. It used to be that once you had a winning formula you could apply it again and again. Now, you learn on the project, apply it once and move on.
A recent integrated effort to leverage the HSBC Women’s Champions golf tournament brought interesting perspectives on the sport to a bigger audience through a wide and specific range of touch-points.
A central part was an event in Orchard Road that gave a taste of the upcoming tournament by recreating the eighth hole from the course at Tanah Merah. People could play the hole using an augmented reality game downloaded to their iPhone.
TV, print and outdoor drove people to the event and tournament; blogger outreach, a Facebook game and PR coverage fueled interest; a dedicated microsite provided news and information; and a social media campaign on Twitter shared live updates and insights for the build-up and the tournament.
There is no magic formula for producing an integrated campaign successfully. As a marketer you’ll need to be confident your agency team can pull it off, but you will also want to be sure your organisation is prepared mentally and in practical ways.
First of all, you have to be comfortable taking calculated risks that are inevitable when you go beyond the tried and trusted approaches of bought media alone. Secondly, ask yourself if you are prepared and willing to take on the bigger workload that comes with integrated projects. More media channels in bought, owned and earned inevitably means more participation in the process.
Thirdly, the greater number of initiatives within an integrated campaign compared with a traditional one, plus the need for good and sharable content, calls for carefully planned budgets that allow you to achieve your goals.
An integrated approach should not be seen as a cheap alternative to traditional media.
Integrated projects are never an easy option to execute, but like the royal wedding the outcome can make it worthwhile.
Angus Fraser is the managing director of JWT Singapore.
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