Absolut “likes” brand content

March 25, 2011
Absolut’s new Facebook page in Germany invites users to enjoy a privileged relationship with the Swedish vodka brand. One thing  that may strike visitors is that the iconic bottle is not featured. That’s because the page is not about product, but lifestyle. And a pretty fun contemporary culture, at that. 

“Most brands use Facebook pages tell users about new flavours, new colours or whatever, but we wanted to be different,” says TBWA Berlin digital creative director Frederik Frede.

An element called RSVP allows users to register with the brand. For Absolut, the benefit is obvious: a database containing  the e-mail addresses of the brand’s greatest fans. But the fans get something valuable in return: first notice of Absolut-related events and occasions, from special downloads to concert tickets.

Another element, Featured Freitag (or ‘Featured Friday’) is a blog packed full of stories and video about fashion, design, music and creativity. On any given Friday you might find soccer-playing robots, an amazing playlist, or sneak peaks of a forthcoming movie about the digital revolution.

“There are over 15 million people on Facebook in Germany, so that was a massive argument for creating the page,” says Dirk Henkelmann, creative director at TBWA Berlin. “We agreed with Absolut that it had to be more than just advertising. If you’re going have a conversation, you need to have something interesting to give.”

For the Featured Friday content, TBWA is working with Absolut’s PR agency, K-MB. Similarly, Absolut’s Facebook community is being coordinated by i365, a joint venture between TBWA and social media specialists buw Group. “An rewarding and enriching collaboration,” says Dirk.

The Facebook format presented certain design challenges – so the team decided to concentrate on benefits rather than beauty. “Wait until you see what’s coming next on the page,” advises Frederik. “I can’t tell you about it yet – but it’s going to be awesome.”


Welcome to the New Gold Rush

March 22, 2011

TBWA Europe’s Vice President Innovation Petteri Kilpinen has written a great book. In Finnish. So we asked him to translate the best bits. Get set for The New Gold Rush in six highlights.

1. The golden age of media

The media revolution we’re experiencing right now is so incredible that in 50 years time, people will wish they’d been here. That’s why I compare it to the California gold rush – a time of excitement and opportunity. From social media to smart phones, digital is utterly transforming our lives. In places like Tunisia and Egypt, it has given a voice to those who were powerless. We are witnessing the forced birth of increased transparency among governments and corporations.

2. Richer, faster, easier

Panning for a gold was a long, painstaking process. But today’s digital entrepreneurs can build businesses that might grow in value from thousands of dollars to billions in less than a year. It has never been easier to create or attract value than it is now: what used to take decades is now achievable in only a few months. And the founders of Google and Facebook don’t look as if they come from another world. They’re young guys who had a good idea. If we find that nugget of gold, we could be like them.

3. Globalisation for all

The concept of globalisation sounds all-embracing, but it fact it was the domain of a few giant companies. Since the internet, globalisation is open to everyone. Not only is it cheaper to make your ideas a reality, but it is also cheaper to promote them worldwide. Connectivity will also cause the death of what I call “regional thinking”. Instead of joining forces with our geographic neighbours, we will join forces with those who are more like us. For example, Finland has more in common with New Zealand than it does with France.

4. Knowledge for all, too

If knowledge is power, today power definitely belongs to the people. Thanks to Google and the other search engines, almost everyone has access to limitless knowledge at the click of a mouse. Mobile devices are accelerating this change. Right now there are about 400 million smart phones. In two years time there will be two billion. That means access to an infinite library, anytime, anywhere.

5. PC R.I.P.

Watching television in the traditional sense is beginning to seem pretty old-fashioned. It won’t be long before our TV screens are also our windows on the internet. In fact, I believe that the middle-sized screen – the PC – will gradually disappear from domestic environments. We’ll consume digital media either on big screens at home, or on small screens on the move.

6. Mass brands get personal

Mass communication is not a thing of the past – but it’s no longer the only game in town. Even brands with mass appeal can now build fan bases via Facebook and other social media. Pretty soon, they’ll be able to tailor products and services to specific fans, forging individual relationships. Dialogue with users and a deeper knowledge of peer groups offers rich terrain for a new, improved version of CRM. Consider the example of Skittles in the UK, which has three million fans, enabling it to engage with a mass audience in a non-mass environment.

Editor’s note: We couldn’t let Petteri plug his book without answering a few questions, so we asked him some.

Q. What does all this mean for advertising agencies?

As my colleagues put it during a recent conference, it’s the end of storytelling and the beginning of story building. We’re creating properties that people can play with, explore, extend – even redecorate, if you like. Once we understand our job in those terms, everything becomes clear.

Q. We experienced a gold rush before – the dot com boom of 1999/2000. The gold turned out to be fake. What’s different?

The dot com boom was created by financiers and the stock market. Consumers thought it all sounded pretty neat, but most of them didn’t really understand it, so adoption was too low. The social media revolution is being driven by consumers. Facebook will soon have more members than there are people in China. Even if it turns out to be overvalued, it’s not going away. This revolution is unstoppable.

Q. I get it. So how can I mine gold from social media?

It’s all about CRM. In the old days, CRM was probably the most boring aspect of marketing. It was about gathering data, putting people in boxes and then sending them messages they didn’t want to receive. But on Facebook, customers actually seek interaction with brands. It has become the greatest CRM tool in history. Because of it, CRM has become creative. In fact, CRM is now the sexiest aspect of marketing.

Petteri Kilpinen is Vice President Innovation, TBWA\Europe and heads the TBWA Group in Finland


Pedigree: Dogs Rule

January 12, 2011

What if a pet food brand was not a company selling products, but a global fan group for everyone with a furry friend? What if it was not just about dog nourishment – but about dogs?

That’s what happened when Pedigree set out on a global mission to connect with consumers like never before. Together with TBWA, the brand held Disruption Days in several markets around the world. This process led to a powerful brand idea: everything we do is for the love of dogs.

“Dogs Rule”, said TV spots and posters featuring cute, mischievous and faithful hounds. Pedigree seemed to be speaking to and on behalf of dog lovers everywhere. The company even changed its working practices to allow dogs into its offices. Salespeople went on the road with dogs. The brand behaviour reflected the disruptive idea. What’s more, this was the first time Pedigree had spoken with a single, global voice, bringing power and consistency to the brand. I heard from an employee that they are very generous with product testing. They offer their employees loads of pet related items like the best dog feeders or the best toys and simply ask for feedback.

But there was still more to be done. So in 2008, Pedigree’s European markets took part of the marketing budget and used it to support dogs who really needed it: the millions of dogs in shelters.

With the help of Media Arts, Pedigree turned its global idea – Everything we do is for the love of dogs – into localized brand behaviour. The adoption drive was launched across nine

European countries with an emotional, impactful TV ad. Over images of dogs behind bars, a voiceover said: “I know how to sit, how to fetch, and how to roll over. What I don’t know is – how I ended up here.” The spot explained that when customers bought any Pedigree product, the company would make a donation that would help dogs in shelters find a loving home.

In the UK, the adoption drive was launched at Crufts, a famous dog show. British actor and comedian Neil Morrissey was enlisted to host a mass dog walk in London. Pedigree even produced a weekly documentary called “Dog Rescue” featuring the UK’s leading shelter, Battersea Dogs’ Home.

In Germany, real dogs from local shelters “spoke” to dog lovers via captions on posters which was tweeted by mySweetDogs.com Smaller markets focused on PR activities. In the Netherlands, for example, Pedigree installed cardboard cut-outs of dogs on lawns and in parks. The signs read: “I wish I was here.” In Austria, interactive posters featured dogs with many leashes – consumers could remove a leash containing details of the adoption drive. In Ireland, a hard-hitting poster featured several photos of dogs. These were removed over time, confronting the public with the fact that 43 homeless dogs are put down every day. Hungary took an online approach, allowing potential owners to pick their rescue dog from the Pedigree website.


The reaction was overwhelming. People showed their support not only via Web buzz, but in concrete numbers. In Ireland, the brand grew by 8% and the adoption drive generated more than €400,000 worth of free media coverage. In the UK, the campaign raised over €1.9 million for homeless dogs. The German magazine “Dogs” described Pedigree as “the most dog-loving company”. In Spain, 150,000 people subscribed to an adoption drive newsletter. And in the Netherlands, the campaign was so successful that it was extended for an extra ten weeks at the request of retailers. Across Europe, Pedigree raised over €3 million for the drive.

And most importantly, the adoption rate of dogs grew by 30%, helping thousands find loving homes.

It was the ultimate expression of Pedigree’s brand belief: to make the world a better place for dogs.


Digitally dying saves lives

January 7, 2011

Digital death. It sounds bleak, harsh, and without a future. In fact it is optimistic, positive and quite literally lifesaving.

The Digital Death campaign was launched by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York and Keep A Child Alive, a non-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the spread of AIDS in Africa and India.

On World Aids Day, December 1 2010, Hollywood died.

The idea was brilliantly simple. Top celebrities agreed to give up their digital lives. With lady gaga snapchat down and famous social networkers like Alicia Keys, Usher, Justin Timberlake, Kim Kardashian and  wiping themselves off of the web. In one stroke, they denied millions of fans their tweets and Facebook updates.

But there was a deal involved. The fans could buy back their heroes’ digital lives. When US$1 million had been raised, the stars would return to Facebook and Twitter. All fans had to do was go to buylife.org or text a participating celebrity’s name to 90999 to make a donation and help buy a digital life back.

Not only celebrities took part. Less famous social networkers committed digital suicide too. In fact, anybody could wipe their identity from the web and challenge their friends to buy back their lives. Those who took the brave step saw their names featured on the Buy Life site alongside those of the celebs.

The reaction was overwhelming. In only a few days, all the participating celebrities had been resurrected and the US$1 million target had been overtaken. At the time of writing, fans had donated US$1,000,792 to buy back the digital lives of VIPs and their friends. Then they could scan a special bar code on the site to see a thank you note from campaign spokeswoman Alicia Keys.

But the campaign isn’t over. You can still Buy Life – or donated 100 dollars and buy a T-shirt. For more details, go to http://buylife.org. It’s dead simple.

For any comments or suggestions, send an email to Ulrich Proeschel.


Eminem Relives His ‘Struggle’ In Grammy Ad Campaign

January 6, 2011

…and with MusicMapper you can share your  you can connect music to your milestones in life.

MTV had it first, today the 2011 ad campaign kicks of across multiple media channels. MTV reports on their website “The Grammys are kicking off the new year with a certain Detroit rapper. Eminem is spearheading the Recording Academy’s Music Is Life Is Music social-networking and promotional campaign, and MTV News is giving you an exclusive first look at the commercial.”

“The camera kind of literally walks through his life,” said Bob Rayburn, creative director of ad agency TBWA\Chiat\Day in a conversation with MTV. “It was important to capture his struggle.”

The rapper is in the first of three upcoming Grammy commercials, developed by TBWA\Chiat/Day Los Angeles and illustrated by design firm National TV. Personally , I don’t understand the fascination with mouth grills and rappers, but as you all know it’s a thing, clearly seen in almost all rap videos.

Eminem’s piece will debut on all media platforms on January 6th, and the print portion of the Grammy campaign begins in two weeks. The Midwest rapper earned 10 Grammy nods, including Song and Record of the Year (for “Love the Way You Lie”) and Album of the Year (for Recovery, which is also up for Rap Album of the Year). He also scored noms for Best Rap Solo Performance (for “Not Afraid”), Pop Collaboration With Vocals (for his turn on B.o.B’s “Airplanes Part II”) and Best Rap Song (for “Lie”).

Check it all out on Facebook.

For any comments or suggestions, send an email to Ulrich Proeschel.

Categories : Great Stuff  Top Stories
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What if the product becomes part of the story?

January 6, 2011

BBC News US & Canada just posted a very interesting feature on its website explaining some of the latest developments in advertising. Using the example of product placement, the reporter demonstrates how brands are becoming part of the story.

As TBWA’s Worldwide Director of Media Arts Lee Clow observed in a recent interview: “Brands did advertising: they talked at people; they bought television commercials and held you captive. Now they must interact with their audience in a multifaceted but coherent way.”

Some of the world’s most inspiring brands have proved that delivering content and becoming part of peoples’ lives is not only possible, it also drives success. This is because they do not distract audiences from the content they love. Instead, they create original ideas that people want to experience.

Check out how Gatorade and TBWA\Chiat Day LA initiated the Replay idea. Or how Absolut Vodka became part of the plot of “Sex and the City” by introducing the Absolut Hunk.

One of the latest examples of disrupting the rules of product placement comes from Germany, where McCafé has launched its newly developed brand idea as a key storyline within the German telenovela “Anna & die Liebe” (“Anna and Love”). Skillfully utilizing both digital and physical media, the campaign was developed by TBWA in Berlin.

Instead of interrupting the audience with commercial breaks, McCafé’s brand belief “Alles Gute beginnt mit einem guten Kaffee” (Everything good begins with a good cup of coffee) is brought to life in a popular TV show featuring fictional Berlin advertising agency Broda&Broda.

McCafé does not appear in the show through conventional product placement – but via campaign placement. Broda & Broda develops the campaign “Everything good starts with a good cup of coffee” while pitching for the McCafé account. Over several episodes, the audience sees how the claim was conceived, how the “first kiss” moment was shot and, finally, how Broda&Broda wins the pitch.

Many other aspects of the campaign will take place simultaneously, giving the audience a chance to interact with the brand both digitally and physically. For example, on the “Anna & die Liebe” site, fans are redirected through banners (in the form of recruitment ads for a new creative director post at Broda&Broda) to the McCafé Facebook fan site. Here, they are invited to upload their very own stories of good beginnings. And to reinforce the brand experience for the audience, the first real poster in the campaign will actually be seen in Berlin four days later, blurring the borders between virtual and real, fictional and actual.

For any comments or suggestions, send an email to Ulrich Proeschel.

Categories : Top Stories

McCafé is the first brand to use unloqable a new web-service to manage marketing campaigns on platforms like Facebook Places

December 1, 2010

McCafé launched today a virtual McCafé advent calendar – a special calendar used to count the days of Advent in anticipation of Christmas. The calendar is a location-based marketing campaign using Facebook Places. Based on McCaféʻs central idea “Alles Gute beginnt mit einem guten Kaffee” (Everything good starts with a good cup of coffee) the campaign rewards McCafé guests in Germany with digital gifts that change every day.

The campaign has been made possible with a location-based service developed by TBWAʻs Digital Arts team in Berlin. The web-service unloqable® makes content available only to users who prove their location via a smartphone or a location-based service like Facebook or Foursquare.

McCafé is the the first brand to use unloqable® as part of its marketing activities. Starting today, all McCafé guests checking with Facebook places in one of over 700 McCafés in Germany will be rewarded with free downloadable digital gifts like animations, films or music.

Unloqable® is a web-service that offers location-based accessibility of digital content (music, pics, coupons, codes, etc). The objective is to make this content available only to users who can prove their location via a smart phone or a location-based service like Facebook Places or Foursquare.

Digital content is stored on the Unloqable® server with a web based management tool. The management tool is the heart of Unloqable®: it offers the possibility to set up campaigns, to edit existing campaigns or to evaluate campaigns from a statistical point of view.

In addition to simply setting up a campaign using the combination of a digital content with a geo-data, there is also the possibility to constrain the campaign time or quota basis. For example, some content can be rendered “Exclusive” and accessible only for a specific number of times before expiring.

Users are notified about the existence of a campaign either actively – in nearly real-time by so-called “Checkins” – or passively via e-mail, fan-pages or ads.

The notification contains a link to digital content that has to be unlocked through one of the above-mentioned mechanisms.

Related links:

For any comments or suggestions, send an email to Ulrich Proeschel.


Danish anti-alcohol campaign: Showing lack of coolness

November 22, 2010

They are known worldwide for their fondness for beer and their expertise in brewing it. But alongside this familiar facet of their national identity, there is a darker side to the Danish relationship with alcohol. In fact, Denmark has a serious alcohol problem.

The government stats make grim reading. 10% of all Danes have an unhealthy level of alcohol consumption. 12% of Danish kids grow up in a family affected by alcohol problems. 20% of Danish boys have experienced violence directly related to alcohol. Half of all Danish girls have encountered problems with their friends due to alcohol. 16% of them have had undesired sex due to alcohol. And 9% of boys, too.

Itʼs no wonder that the government runs an anti-alcohol campaign every year. In 2009, the drive was aimed at young drinkers between 16 and 25. The Ministry of Health wanted to educate youngsters about the positive effects of drinking less.

But there was a sense that the young had heard it all before. They were bored with the conventional approach of the Ministry, which amounted to wagging its finger at drinkers in a disapproving way. A new approach was needed.

Conventionally, anti-drink campaigns focus on the health issue. Theyʼre highly moralistic, and executed in a language and visual frame of reference that is completely foreign to youngsters.

The vision that emerged was clear: the agency and its client needed to convince young Danes that drinking is not cool.

But how to do this in a disruptive way? It was decided that, instead of pointing out the physical effects of drinking, the campaign would focus on the loss of social status. How would you like to be shunned by your friends? Ignored by the opposite sex? Generally regarded as the least cool person around? For a young person, it sounds like a nightmare.

The campaign played on the youngʼs greatest fear: lack of coolness. And it would do so in a language they recognised. The message? StopBefore5.dk

The Media Arts Solution quickly hit youngsters where they lived. It brought the world of Facebook to mass media. A film featuring an alcohol-fuelled night out used Facebook-style tags to demonstrate what happens when drink makes you go too far. A boy called Mikkel dances with a girl, kisses her and then clumsily gropes her breast. She brushes him angrily away. “Idiot!” reads a tag, while another indicates that the pair are “no longer friends”. The end line is: “It is not only your sense of judgement you risk losing when you drink. StopBefore5.dk” The ad ran on TV and in cinemas.

Similarly, print ads did not look like print ads at all, but like Facebook pages. Each picture shows a different youngster behaving badly while drunk. Below, Facebook messages unfold into a story that results in the person being shunned by their friends.

On Facebook itself, the agency created a quiz called A Night on the Town, in which people answered questions about their drinking habits and personal experiences with alcohol. During the test, the application gave the impression that the user was losing friends. And at the end, a line read: “Nicholas took A Night on the Town and lost 43 friends!”

The test was of course available via iPhone as well as on computers. The upshot was that A Night On the Town became the most seen Danish Facebook application ever.

As a result, the StopBefore5.dk page attracted thousands of fans. But there was also a viral effect as youngsters created their own pages, either praising or protesting against the campaign. There was even a fan page for Mikkel, the imaginary youth whoʼd been rejected for his bad behaviour.

The campaign was taken to other websites. A replica of the Facebook chat bar appeared as an ad banner. A message popped up: “Oh my god, you were drunk last Friday, werenʼt you?” If you responded, a link took you to the fan page.

Another banner simulated a Facebook combination – an intriguing idea, as it transported the Facebook design to an unfamiliar environment.


The campaign generated two to three times its actual budget in the form of media mentions: on Facebook, on blogs and in traditional media. More than 25% of young Danes said that, following the campaign, they thought more about alcohol consumption and its social impact. Awareness of the official drinking limits doubled from 43% to 84%. Campaign recall was a massive 91%, while 25% said they had seen the campaign on Facebook. And 12% said the campaign had encouraged them to drink less, and less often.

The conclusion: understanding audience behaviour is key to disruptive success.

For any comments or suggestions, send an email to Ulrich Proeschel or contact TBWA\ Denmark directly.