Mass Media, meet Social Media: The Good, the Bad, and the Honorable Mention

With all new forms of communication, there is always a learning curve before the art is perfected. In the case of social media, I have found that some marketing professionals understand the value better than others. I have also come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a social media “guru”. If someone claims to be one, beware!  Just sayin’.

However, there are some brilliant minds out there that do have a solid grasp on the importance and relevance of social media.  Fortunately for me, many of these people are presenting during the conference today (6/4/11).  I am very fortunate have the opportunity to attend this remarkable event.

So what helps one excel in the realm of social media marketing?  One of the most important attributes, in my opinion, is the complete understanding of marketing integration .  For most businesses, social media is only a utensil in the marketing toolbox. Social media is not the holy grail of marketing, but rather a very powerful word-of-mouth and feedback device that can be harnessed successfully only when used in conjunction with a contemporary marketing strategy.  With this post, I will present three mass media (television commercial) examples where I perceive a company’s use of social media via mass media to be either good, bad, or worthy of an honorable mention.

The Good…

Aflac’s “Silent Movie”

With more that a 11,000 online (social) entries in response to Aflac’s “Answer the Duck’s Call” campaign, I’d call this one a social success.  I was first exposed to this campaign via Aflac’s Silent Movie television commercial produced in response to their recent loss (firing) of Gilbert Gottfried, who was the long-time voice of the “Aflac Duck”.  He was fired due to some unruly comments posted on his Twitter account about the recent Japanese earthquake.  The  Silent Movie commercial directed potential “contestants” to where they could find out how to compete for a chance to be the new voice of the Aflac duck. The response was huge. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade!  This, in my opinion, has been one of the most expertly executed campaigns involving both mass media and social media that I have ever seen.

The true test for Aflac now will be how long they can leverage this campaign and sustain the amazing buzz they have created.

***Note: #FAIL, Aflac! There are no obvious links to their social media sites on REALLY?! Now check out what PEMCO is doing with social media on their website.  MUCH better!

The Bad…

Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

First, let me admit that Old Spice’s original commercial and social followup was executed brilliantly.  I might get some flack for this example, especially since the Old Spice YouTube video featuring this commercial has generated more than 32 MILLION views at the time of this post.  Ready…Set…GO!…Old Spice got lucky…There, I said it!

I believe Old Spice had an amazing (missed) opportunity to integrate this marketing formula into a social media “call to action” plan.  Initial #fail. They got lucky with an organic viral sensation and fortunately had the talent in place to effectively respond to the overwhelming reaction. All I’m saying is if they included a 2-3 second shot at the end of the commercial with “Meet Old Spice Man on Facebook:” (or some similar call to action), they would have been much more socially integrated with the campaign. They would have been more prepared to embrace the response.  Instead, they reacted with personalized videos and commentary directly from the star of the video, Isaiah Mustafa…After the fact.

If the brand would have been more proactive with social media and encouraged the conversation rather than react to it, I believe Old Spice would have been much more ready to embrace long-lasting relationships with a new and possibly profitable customer base.  Also, something to think about. Are the new followers fans Old Spice or Mr. Old Spice?  Chew on that for a moment.  Let me know how it tastes.  If you don’t like it, I’ll cook up a new idea for you to critique.  That’s what makes this fun.

Don’t get me wrong.  From a viral perspective, Old Spice’s effort gets an A+.  It’s just, well…It could have been better. Better late than never; their website and Facebook page both are very “social”…Now.  Maybe bad is the wrong descriptive for this situation.  At least I still have you attention though!

The Honorable Mention…

Doritos and Pepsi MAX “Crash the Superbowl”

This was an easy choice. Frito Lay launches the “Crash the Superbowl” campaign and BOOM!  Thousands of amazing video entries come flooding in.  The campaign is extremely expensive, but the results are solid.  Social participants embrace the idea via Facebook and YouTube.  Tons of amateur video producers end up producing free content for the two brands. Many interested parties flock to view the entries and cast their vote. Success for some used-to-be small-time video producers happens overnight. Doritos and Pepsi MAX solidify their respective positions as best marketing and commercial campaign(s) for Superbowl XLV.

Crash the Super Bowl gets honorable mention because the “influencer” audience was pulled in before the campaign was officially presented to the masses.  The campaign became a social election and everyone was happy with the results.

So my grand point is this: if you’re going to ride the social wave and dabble in the conversation,  Please, be proactive.  Have a strategy in place that integrates your company culture; tell your story  And above all else, know that you are in it to win it, but the consumer has the power to decide who will be the champion.  Because of that, they deserve to be listened to and responded to.  ALWAYS. The conversation will go on with or without your brand.  Accept this and embrace this and you will be ready to compete in the realm of social media.



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