How Internet involves crowd in Marketing and Advertising

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As we saw in the blog, ‘How advertising works’, advertising have an effect and plays a vital role in shaping markets and also the brand. Summarizing few vital points, we can see that people cannot be persuaded by advertising if they are not interested in the subject (Ehrenberg, 1988)  or they do not have an incentive to change (McDonald, 1998).

Two out of five types of buying behaviour identified by McQueen (1991), suggests that the consumers who are loyal and switch to a brand when they are involved. It can be assumed that due to these reasons advertisers are trying to get the crowd involved in their campaigns as much as they can and are even trying various models of crowdsourcing, which we shall see in details in the later part of this article.

Article one has indicated the reasons why we will only consider the online aspect of internet marketing. Web 2.0 not only offers effective internet marketing but has also accelerated the advertising industry.

Wexler (2011) explains that in internet advertising, the crowd follows certain logic and their involvement can be divided in three phases. In phase one the crowd is irrational and disturbed, hence causes more problem than offering solutions. However they act rational in phase two and act as agents of change. The crowd in this phase, however, is individualistic and fails to work as a team. The phase three is what is considered as an ideal phase for effective internet marketing. The crowd here works intelligently and collectively and with proper management, solves the problem. The crowd in this phase is managed by web 2.0 technologies (Wexler, 2011).

Advertising has entered the virtual world and the opportunities have been exploited to the fullest (Anonymous, 2011). The advertising industry has evolved drastically since it has come into existence and the advertisers have not been slow and have been trying to be as creative as they can get, for instance, 3D advertising online, which is in the development stage, is about to evolve the concept of advertising with the technology called ‘Telepresence’, that will allow a person to feel and interact with the product online, as if it were there with them (Anonymous, 2011).

There have been examples where the development and creation of advertisement have been marketed on the internet. Some of the cases are outlined below. These examples are only the examples where the phenomena of marketing were used on the internet, for advertising to be more precise.

1.1.            eBookers.com (eBookers – warc)
ebookers.com is a leading pan-European online travel agency which operates in 13 different markets in Europe. It offers a wide range of travel products.
In 2006, the brand size and positioning of the ebrookers.com varied from country to country. For better ROI (Return on investment) and to have optimum TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), it was very important to build a strong and a consistent brand.
Company decided to market on the internet this task to a specialist, Promise Corporation. They developed an innovative strategy of having a localized support and management. Which really worked well in a culturally diversified market and resulted into consistent brand and the sales grew 50 % YOY (Year On Year).

It can be analysed that the motives of ebookers.com to run this campaign were:
1.    To stand out of competition
2.    To get to know its customers
3.    Reconciling the needs of its customers
4.    Creating a brand road map.

1.2.            McDonalds: (McDonalds – Warc)
McDonalds is world’s leading chain of food retail outlet. In 2005, they faced challenge, since their business and brand perception reached to a saturation level. Since, they had already adopted a franchise model in most part of the world including in UK.
To overcome this challenge, they focused on investing in upgrading the customer experience. They started with the basics, back to the fundamentals of the business: The Food, The Restaurants and The Communication; and improved the quality of the basics. The results were as expected – they achieved growth YOY (Year On Year) and the sales in 2008 broke all the track records since 1975 and opened up opportunities in South London.
It can be analysed that the prime motives of McDonalds to run this campaign were:
1.    To increase the brand recall
2.    To improve the image of the brand
3.    To communicate that the brand cares.
4.    To increase the repeat visits of its customers

1.3.            T-Mobile (T-mobile – Warc)
In 1930, during recession T-Mobile was not among the popular brand in UK. To cope with recession, cutting prices (dropping call charges) and going head on with competition was not increasing top line.

T-Mobile’s new and innovative marketing Campaign ‘Life’s for Sharing’, done by Satchi & Satchi. During the morning rush hour at Liverpool Street train station hundreds of dancers dressed as daily commuters did a dance sequence and encouraged the commuter to join them and engage with them. The video was promoted by the people who participated in dance, through online media such as Facebook and YouTube. Many present at the station also blogged about it.

This marketing campaign recreated a brand image as more caring and demonstrating T-Mobile to be more involve / interactive with the end customer. And generated 15 Million in sales revenue, i.e. Earned £ 1.46 for every £1 spend.
It can be argued that the prime motives of T-Mobile to run this campaign were:
1.    To spread the brand message virally and increase the word of mouth marketing as during recession it would be an effective way to spread the word, yet keeping the cost lower.

1.4.            Doritos: (Doritos – Warc)
In 1967 Frito-Lay’s introduced Doritos as “the new beat in things to eat”, In short span of time it became the #1 tortilla chip, #2 salty snack and the third most well-known food brand in America (after Lays and Campbell’s).

In mid-2006, Frito-Lay’s flagship brand was struggling to survive. Faced one of the worst periods in Doritos’, sales and growth had significantly declined for years, with purchase frequency declining 5% and total sales dead flat at 0.6%.

Brand tracking revealed that young adults aged 16–24; Dorito’s primary target was quickly losing interest in the Doritos brand. Key brand metrics, Brand Popularity/Momentum, had dropped 8% along with Brand Loyalty (-5%) with the deepest declines occurring in 2005 and no recovery in the following year.

Doritos communications had not been consistent for years, switching campaigns frequently and relying on traditional TV-centric media plans was the primary source to spread out a new message about the brand every year. Meanwhile, Doritos’ target consumer audience had dramatically changed their preferences and more importantly how they consumed media, over the same period of time.

When ‘Doritos qualitative study team’ asked our young target to name the last time they could remember the brand doing anything, they recalled an ad “…where this chick eats flying chips in a Laundromat”… an advertisement that was made eight years ago for the Super Bowl. Clearly the message-driven model was not working.

They realized that it was time to come up with a different strategy for this audience. The question raised by then was that if there really was anything new that they needed to tell its consumers about Doritos? They probably didn’t and so they decided to make the brand relevant to this group again by making the marketing relevant.

They attempted to position the brand as what its audience was interested in, not what Doritos were interested in telling them.

Showing just how important social media is to the way we watch big events on TV these days. According to French social media monitoring service Semiocast, in the six-hour period around the event, there were 25% more tweets published around the globe than usual for the time period.

For many, the ads during the Superbowl are more of an attraction than the football itself, challenging agencies to create the most talk-about spots for their clients (and you can catch a round-up of the best ads here). While there are many ways of measuring how successful these ads are, social media discussion is a good place to start and Semiocast has called a winner – Doritos.

According to the company’s figures, Doritos was mentioned in 80,000 tweets, Transformers in 49,000, and Pepsi in 47,000. Of the Doritos tweets, 58% were positive, mainly describing it as funny, while 16% were negative, using words like “Repulsive” and “dumb” or criticising its cost.

While Best Buy seemingly scored a hit with its Justin Bieber-starring ad, it was Bieber who got more of the Twitter love. He was reportedly the subject of 93,000 tweets while Best Buy itself only got at 29,000 tweets. Given the general popularity of Bieber on Twitter, that’s hardly surprising.

By adopting the new communication methods and new strategy Doritos Brand Momentum +10 %, Brand Loyalty +13 % and  Total Brand Equity has increased +11%.
Total growth for Doritos in 2007 had increased by 13%; And Purchase Frequency increased 7% in 2007, up from a decline of 5%.

It can be argued that the prime motives of Doritos to run this campaign were:
1.    Go viral and hence increase the word of mouth marketing
2.    To stay better connected with its core audience.
3.    To vet actual solution for the ad campaign, which it used in the superbowl commercial

1.5.            Peperami: (Peperami – Warc)
Peperami fired a well-known advertising agency, Lowe – London and turned towards crowd to get their next advertising campaign created. They invited crowd to participate and submit ideas and ready commercials. They invited solutions for television and print commercials.
This campaign was able to get about 5000 members involved and more than 10% members were reported to have had submitted high quality solutions. Peperami was able to successfully create its next advert at a cost lot lower that what it would have had to pay Lowe.

To Summarise: It can be argued that the prime motives of Peperami to run this campaign were:
1.    Get high quality solution / creative.
2.    Get raw ideas.
3.    Engage crowd.

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I'm an eCommerce Project Director at an agency in London and a consultant for a number of eCommerce start-ups. I founded Think etc 9 years ago which now lets me share my research and experience with all the interesting brands, people, places and projects that I have been privileged to work with. My work on crowdsourcing was published by Oxford as part of a journal article and I have been obsessing over eCommerce and Magento over the past several years.

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