#PRAwards 2021 highlight: Acer taps on WFH woes to drive product sales

Winning the gold award for best use of social media at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s PR Awards 2021 is computer hardware brand Acer. With sales dwindling for the retail sector as brick-and-mortar shops had to close during COVID-19, Acer faced the challenge of driving sales amidst the volatile market conditions.

Armed with the insight that its main target audience is spending more time online on Instagram, Acer tapped on PR agency Archetype’s expertise to reach out to these audiences through a social-first campaign. Read more about the campaign that captured the judges’ attention here.

Challenge

At the height of COVID lockdowns, Acer’s sales were down for the year. The brand wanted to drive sales for the Acer Swift 5 to shift over 600 units quickly with a marketing budget of approximately US$20,223. This was a tough objective to achieve, since COVID-19 was causing a lot of uncertainty and the market with saturated with end-of-financial-year sales.

The challenge lies further in the industry that Acer is in: a sub-category where hardware differentiation is low and the only product point of difference amongst competitors is incremental hardware changes and price.

Acer was forced to think outside the business-as-usual box. It asked the question: “How can we cut through the sea of end-of-year discount messages in a sub-category driven less by loyalty and more by value?”

Strategy

Teaming up with PR agency Archetype, Acer found its solution in helping Australian consumers with its biggest pain point: working from home.

For many, the COVID-19 lockdown meant trying to work with noisy kids, naughty pets and mess just outside their curated Zoom frames. As work-from-home (WFH) became the new normal, working professionals were finding themselves further away from the ergonomic work setups they once enjoyed.

Acer and Archetype were hearing more stories of crick necks and repetitive strain injuries, dining tables doubling as desks, boxes doubling as laptop holders and work done on single screens. What’s more, due to the economic uncertainty from the pandemic, people were more conscious about spending money on larger-ticket items such as laptops. The team at Acer thought it was time someone started looking out for the “distressed” consumers to help them continue to feel light, feel normal and celebrate the messy new world.

With just US$20,223 to convert to a sale of over 600 units, Acer knew it needed a fast-delivering platform, a programme with minimal asset creation, an approach that would capture leads so it could further retarget audience, and a message that would excite the audience enough to share their email details.

Acer decided to target pragmatic hustlers (those primarily aged 25-34 who have the perfect balance of practical sensibilities meets the go-getter attitude of an entrepreneur and seek functional, sturdy products without the extreme costs), who were on Instagram for 53 minutes a day and were already sharing user-generated content. The team also knew that these audiences would happily share their personal details if Acer gave them a good enough reason. Thus, a social-first campaign titled “Acer Home Office SOS” was born. The campaign tapped into the meme “What I think it looks like versus what it really looks like”, encouraging consumers to ditch their “Instagram life” and celebrate real life. Acer asked consumers to share their most hectic and hilarious home office setups for the chance to win a SG$2,000 home office makeover with Acer.

Through the competition-led campaign, Acer looked to highlight the Acer Swift 5’s light and adaptable functions. Coupled with its light-hearted attitude of making light of the new normal, Acer hoped to get its audience’s attention and help them dream about their home office potential.

Execution

Acer’s campaign divided into two phases: reach and capture, and retarget and sell. For its first phase, Acer developed a competition microsite to capture leads and used social to broadcast the competition message and reach its target audience of pragmatic hustlers. For its second phase, it retargeted people on social media and email, using email and social pixel data to drive them to purchase a Swift 5 on the Harvey Norman website.

The first stage of the campaign was around driving traffic, creating awareness for the competition and ultimately leading conversion in the form of a competition entry. The social competition asked entrants to share a photo and upload it along with a 50-word answer on why they deserved to win.

Acer also built a microsite that would act as a hub and house the competition with a lead generation form to capture people’s details. It also features a “Buy Now” section on the Swift 5 laptop to pique interest beyond the competition.

To encourage entries and motivate audience to participate, Acer also placed the image submissions in a gallery featured on the site. The team saw this as a tool to play into Australians one-upmanship (“I can you do better” attitude) and even shared entrants’ images to further excite participation in its social media ads. Acer also offered multiple prizes for the competition, because it knew that audiences would only enter competitions they think they could win.

To promote the competition, Acer used organic and paid social, as well as eDMs. The team developed custom audiences based on pixel data and engaged users and retargeting campaigns to increase entries during the campaign. It saw a sizable increase of entries following the eDM distribution to both Acer’s and Harvey Norman’s database.

Additionally, Acer developed a press release announcing the competition, which was distributed to media, securing five pieces of coverage, and featured on a variety of competition sites. For the second phase, Acer created “Get Offer” ads and strategic custom audiences to drive conversions in-store and online. Meanwhile, its retargeting strategies involved custom audiences based on those who have engaged with the competition and pixel data, the Swift 5 custom event button on the microsite, as well as existing audiences of Acer’s online store and social pages. Another eDM was distributed during phase two to further amplify the campaign, which included the newly built email lead database from the competition.

Results

Over eight weeks, the team reached 2,690,000 people at a CPM of $9.66. Not only did it triple its KPIs for leads, collecting 868 leads at a value of US$23 per lead, the team also went on to generate 1,888 sales in Swift 5 products, valued at US$1,421,338 at a conversion rate of 10%. All ad sets also achieved click-through rates over the industry average, some reaching a 1.67% click-through rate.

Acer and Archetype smashed its target of units sold by threefold through the campaign. Harvey Norman also sold out its Acer Swift 5 units within two weeks of being live.