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10 of the best multimedia marketing campaigns of the 21st century

16 May, 2016

10 of the best multimedia marketing campaignsSavvy brands are now employing a range of multimedia marketing techniques to communicate with customers and reach out to a global audience in a way that would have been impossible twenty years ago.

The most powerful PR campaigns nowadays are those that stretch across various offline and online media platforms – utilising websites, social media, email marketing and apps to reach and engage customers. Fully integrated campaigns can pack a powerful punch, reaching and engaging huge numbers of potential customers and helping businesses grow from small startups into nationally (and internationally) recognised brands. (The Heck story is a great example of this.)

This week, we’re going to take a look at some of the brands that have really rocked this new technology, using a variety of social media and online advertising platforms in innovative and imaginative ways to position their brands in their chosen markets.

(1) Everyone is Beautiful – Dove ‘Campaign for real beauty’

One of the longest running and successful integrated marketing campaigns was launched by Unilever as far back as 2004: the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.

Dove campaign for real beauty

The campaign’s mission strategy is to celebrate the natural physical variation of all women, inspiring them to develop the confidence to feel comfortable with themselves and the way they look, and in doing so, position Dove as a brand they could trust and have confidence in.

While this style of “empowerment marketing’ is more common nowadays, when Dove launched its ‘Campaign for real beauty’ it was a real game-changer, with ads featuring a diverse range of women in favour of airbrushed images of models and celebrities.

While Dove has come under criticism for using the term “real women” (implying some aren’t), the campaign aim of transforming women’s feelings around physical appearance from a source of anxiety to a source of confidence is a positive one. Particularly so when many traditional advertising techniques had relied on convincing women they needed to buy a product to fill a gap in their lives or to help them to achieve perfection – an unattainable goal which often leads to dissatisfaction.

(2) TRANS-forming advertising campaigns – MAC ‘Finally Free’

Other brands have followed hot on the heels of the Dove campaign, with Boots using its ‘Ta Dah’ campaign to reposition the No 7 brand of make up, back in 2011.

In a search for “real women” from all walks of life, including older women, Boots scoured the UK high streets for ladies to feature in ads on posters, in print media, online and on television, bringing a refreshing new attitude to beauty whilst building brand authority and trust.

Keeping with the theme of beauty, 66 year old Caitlyn Jenner (formerly known as Bruce Jenner before publicly announcing her identity as a trans woman), the 1970s Olympic gold medal winning decathlete-turned actor, publicly announced her identity as a transgender woman in 2015 and gained a massive million Twitter followers in the space of four hours and three minutes.

Caitlyn’s decision to come out in this way was met with both acclaim and criticism – she was named as one of Glamour magazine’s “25 Glamour Women of the Year” but slated for saying that the “hardest part about being a woman is figuring out what to wear.” This remark incensed actress Rose McGowan who countered with the following comment:

“We are more than deciding what to wear. We are more than the stereotypes foisted upon us by people like you. You’re a woman now? Well f**king learn that we have had a VERY different experience than your life of male privilege.”

The controversy surrounding Jenner, coupled with an active presence on social media, led to a huge volume of media coverage being generated around the star. This cemented her status as a celebrity with clout and influence, with brands subsequently seeking her out as an brand ambassador to help sell their products.

Caitlyn Jenner MAC Finally Free

Caitlyn was named as the “Face of MAC Cosmetic’s Viva Glam line earlier this year, debuting posed in front of a gilded mirror wearing a satin corset as she applies the new lipstick shade “Finally Free”, a reference to her lifelong struggle with her gender. Profits from the sales go to the MAC AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative to further its work in supporting transgender communities. Finally Free is touted as an everyday lipstick, a universal shade that would suit many people, a key theme for MAC whose company motto is “all ages, all races, all sexes”.

MAC’s promotional strategies involve word of mouth marketing and key influencer engagement (free products for professionals, media mavens and celebs in a bid to build awareness and credibility), motivating action communication (customer relationship management activities like rewarding top performers and motivating high potentials), and social media marketing (leveraging message comprehension and frequency to encourage customer participation on the company’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account).

MAC cosmetics have used a multimedia platform campaign in order to stay relevant; using core values, brand personality and customer relationships. Customers who shop at the company’s flagship New York outlet receive special deliveries if they sign up to MAC’s mailing list. Rather than offering free products or coupons, the brand gives subscribers added value through its content by sending a thank you note with a scannable QR code to access video tutorials and tips and tricks from professional makeup artists.

Mashable featured the MAC campaign in its article on ‘best practices for beauty brands on Facebook’ in 2011 and has regularly written about the company since.

(3) Break the internet when life gives you ‘Lemonade’ – Beyonce

If you’re connected online, you’ll have found it difficult to miss the launch of Beyoncé’s Lemonade album. This surprise release is part of the superstar’s marketing campaign for her current world tour, Formation, which opened in Miami on April 27th 2016.

Timing is everything when it comes to PR and, according to Forbes magazine, Beyoncé demonstrated that she “may be as talented a marketer as she is a performer” with the announcements concerning her concert tour promotion. The day before the Super Bowl she released the track “Formation” and its video then leveraged maximum attention during the Super Bowl halftime show with a stunning performance before revealing the date of her new tour as the spotlight was shining on her.

In reality this was a carefully crafted rebranding campaign whose seeds were planted months ago with a series of hints from Beyoncé’s Instagram account and a series of video teasers, which had her fans in a frenzy wondering what was coming next. Twitter went mad with Beyoncé’s army of followers looking for deeper messages in the Lemonade album, sparking rumours about Beyoncé’s marriage to husband Jay-Z, betrayal, loyalty and self-worth, making sure that the PR-savvy superstar hit the headlines around the world in an avalanche of publicity that continues as you read this.

As a result of all this publicity, lemonade (the drink) sales have shot up over the past few weeks, so Beyoncé really has done the soft drinks industry a big favour here too!


(4) Extreme marketing – Icebreaker #LiveWild

Outdoor clothing brand Icebreaker has created an online furore with its latest PR campaign orchestrated by PR agency Poem. The launch of Icebreaker’s first store in Sydney engaged its dedicated social media fans to spread the word to a mainstream audience with a series of novel stunts in a search for its “wildest fan”. Extreme marketing calls for extreme measures and the search was on for the most extreme camping in an Icebreaker branded tent using the hashtag “#livewild”, and wild it was.

In a stunt dubbed “The World’s Wildest Store Campout”, Icebreaker clothing fan, Sam Milojevich, an experienced rappeller, took on the challenge and spent the night in a tent precariously pitched 20 metres above Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall. In these days when the launch of a new store can often be met with apathy and disinterest, this stunning stunt grabbed the attention of a global audience of extreme sports fans and outdoor aficionados.

Click here to watch this video on YouTube.

(5) If Carlsberg did PR . . .

Danish brewing company, Carlsberg has been delighting TV audiences for decades with its “Probably the best beer in the world” advertising campaign, created by Saatchi and Saatchi for the UK market. “If Carlsberg did . . .” entered the national psyche spawning spoofs and jokes on TV, in print media and online and nobody can fail to “get” the joke.

Easter 2016 saw Carlsberg take things to a whole new level with its “If Carlsberg did chocolate” offering, which involved the opening of a pop up pub in Shoreditch where everything is made from chocolate! The bar, barstools, television and even the dartboard are all made from chocolate. Thirsty passers-by were encouraged to pour their own pint and drink it from a chocolate glass during the lead up to the Easter bank holidays.

The campaign has been hailed as a brilliant example of “experiential marketing” which creates a closer bond between the consumer and the brand by immersing them in fun memorable experience. The campaign was amplified with a geo-targeted social media campaign and an online competition with a limited edition chocolate glass giveaway.

When asked by Marketing Week about the expenditure justification and return on investment (ROI) for experiential marketing, Carlsberg’s senior brand manager for the UK, Dharmesh Rana, said “It’s the earned and PR value that gives experiential a lot of ROI. It’s not 100% scientific, but when you put everything down on paper, it starts to add up.”

(6) Game plan – London 2012 Games Festival ‘Monopoly’

The London Games Festival, which ran from April 1st – 10th 2016 at venues across London, was promoted with an inspired advertising campaign that relied on the British love of Monopoly, a board game family favourite across the UK for many decades.

A giant Monopoly board (15m by 15m) was installed in Trafalgar Square to tell the story of the history of games in the UK. Featuring giant dice and playing pieces, the board attracted Londoners and visitors who became the playing pieces. An interactive app was developed, allowing people to “roll the dice” from any location. The #LGF2016 campaign hashtag cascaded the conversation online and through social media. And as with all the best PR campaigns, the news reporting of the stunt – both online and offline – enabled the Festival PR team to reach a much wider audience than targeted advertising ever could.

Onalytica London Games Festival Top Influencers BrandsOnalytica, which provides Online Influencer Relationship Management (IRM) solutions, analysed over 5K tweets mentioning the keywords “LGF2016 OR “London Games Festival OR londongamesfest OR LGF16″ to identify the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.

This blog post by Onalytica (from which you can download their full influencer mapping analysis report) is an interesting read.

(7) Pure Genius – Pure Silk #LoveYourLegs #LegsTakeYou

Women’s shaving cream manufacturer Pure Silk harnessed the power of the hashtag with #LoveYourLegs and #LegsTakeYou. In a PR campaign that involves American actress/songstress Jana Kramer as a spokeswoman, Pure Silk has launched a series of ads to appear on TV, in print media, digital media and radio commercials.

Pure Silk ran a competition to win a VIP Luxury Weekend dubbed the ‘Jana Kramer Experience’ which would see the lucky winner and a friend winning flights, hotel stay, spa package and “meet and greet” passes to see Jana perform live in concert, with goodie bags available for runners up.

The “#LoveYourLegs” hashtag has since taken on a life of its own, and is being used to promote fitness routines, hosiery and socks, with women everywhere using the hashtag in a variety of ways on all of the most popular social media platforms. This just goes to show that if an idea has “legs” it can have runaway success long after the campaign itself has finished.

(8) Let’s hear it for the girls #ThisGirlCan

Sports England in collaboration with a range of partnership organisations launched the #thisgirlcan national campaign in January 2015 to celebrate active women in the UK who do their own thing, raising thousands of pounds for Sports Relief.

It’s been heralded by the Independent as “the first female health campaign that doesn’t shame or exclude women” as women are encouraged to do their thing no matter “how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets”. Recognising the exercise gender gap (two million fewer women participate in regular exercise than men), the campaign aim was to get more women in the 14 – 40 age group exercising on a regular basis.

#ThisGirlCan has swept the nation, thanks to comprehensive media coverage in The Telegraph, the Independent and other popular news outlets and an extensive digital and social media campaign including an active Facebook page and a YouTube channel.

(9) Marks and Sparks – Alexa Collection at M&S

For decades, M&S has been synonymous with quality clothing and great customer service – there were people who wouldn’t shop anywhere else. But following a dip in M&S fashion market share, Britain’s favourite department store has had to rethink its brand positioning in order to keep apace with a changing market.

Harnessing the popularity of fashion model turned TV presenter/contributing editor to Vogue magazine, Alexa Chung, Marks and Sparks is reclaiming its spark with the launch of a new clothing range called the Alexa Collection. Chung’s fashion credentials are impeccable – she’s ambassador for the British Fashion Council and is pursued by the paparazzi every time she steps outside of her front door.

This is great news for Marks as it reboots its popularity with a new generation of shoppers – teenagers and twentysomethings for whom Chung is a style icon that they strive to emulate. On the day that Marks launched the Archive by Alexa Collection, twenty thousand items flew off the shelves with one blouse selling out completely.

The campaign has used multimedia channels to appeal to a wide audience both online and offline, with clothing from the collection being revealed at the beginning of London Fashion Week and a whopping 34,000 shoppers pre-registering their interest on a mysterious looking M&S webpage before the collection went on sale.

Alexa Chung Archive by M&S

The Collection is based on styles from the M&S archives, which are brought bang up to date with modern colours and fabrics. In a publicised stunt, Chung visited the brand’s archives in Leeds to really get involved in the campaign, for which she acts as creative director. With an advertising campaign that involves print media, social media, videos and personal appearances, whether Marks and Sparks can make it with the millennials they are targeting remains to be seen.

(10) All the Fun of the Fair

Thorpe Park engaged the services of the controversial illusionist Derren Brown to help design what it calls “the world’s first mind-bending ghost train ride”. The resulting journey through terror has taken three years and the input of more than a thousand specialists to create. In a bid to redesign a traditional, much loved attraction to appeal to a 21st century audience, the fully immersive ghost train promises to toy with riders’ perceptions of reality and leave them with a cliff-hanger ending. Each passenger receives a virtual reality (VR) headset to wear on the ride, which involves terrifying encounters designed to thrill and a host of multi-sensory surprises to boot.

The new ride (which lasts 15 minutes) is advertised as “not for the faint-hearted” and has attracted enough media attention to ensure it will be a success.

Derren Brown promises an underlying story with a hidden message, adding to the mystery of a ride with two different endings and 12 different routes. This is the world’s most advanced multi-sensory ride and Thorpe Park is the first theme park to harness the power of the very latest VR technology.

Multimedia, multi-sensory, multiple touchpoints

What all these highly successful campaigns have in common is a multimedia approach that seeks to engage people through a multitude of touch points.

It is said that seven marketing touchpoints are needed before someone will take action, , so as well as engaging with different people on different platforms, a fully integrated approach means each person is likely to be reached in a number of ways.

This kind of multimedia approach requires meticulous forward planning, months and sometimes years in advance. The most successful campaigns also rely on a deep understanding of what makes people tick, and how to connect with them on both a rational and emotional level, often playing around with multisensory and immersive techniques to create memorable experiences that people will never forget.

We will explore some of these themes in more detail in next week’s blog post – a review of the B2B Marketing Expo 2016 that took place in London last week.

If you’d like some help planning a multimedia marketing campaign, give us a call on 0113 320 2121 or email us with some details and we’ll get back in touch with you to discuss.

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  • […] companies behind these popular multimedia marketing campaigns understand the value of a great story and an emotional connection […]

    1. […] companies behind these popular multimedia marketing campaigns understand the value of a great story and an emotional connection […]

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