Digital Advertising Strategies

Clients and agency folk often talk about putting Digital at the heart of a campaign.

As I think about it, I think there are only a few ways an advertising campaign can be based on a intrinsically digital idea and so I thought I try to list them.  I’ve done it as a page because I’m sure I’ll come back with more and want to build up the case study references that go with them.  If you have any thoughts or ideas of better case studies, feel free to comment.

Event Log

In this strategy an event or trip occurs in real life and is tracked and logged online.  The full event is then amplified through advertising that tells everyone to go see the amazing stories coming out of the event on the digital blog.

  • Coke Expedition 206 – In 2010 Coke arranged for 3 “happiness ambassadors” to journey to all 206 countries where Coca-cola is sold.  The intinerary also includes major events such as the Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the World Cup in South Africa.  On the trip they search for and share “the optimism and happiness” of Coca-cola sharing their blog posts, tweets, videos, interviews and pictures so people can follow their adventures in every country along the way.

Web-enabled Competition

The competition uses a digital platform to collect art, essays, photos or other user generated content, and runs a competition.  The competition — with celebrity judges if possible — is then promoted widely.  It is an intrinsically viral approach because people want to tell their friends if they have been accepted or have entered or, of course, if they win.

Dunkin Doughnuts Ultimate DD Coffee Fan Contest – 2010 campaign ran for a month and used Facebook to collect peoples videos of why they are the ultimate coffee fan.

  • American Express My Life, My Card – In 2005 Amex set up a 15-second film competition over 3 weeks that ran in conjuction with the Tribeca Film Festival.  Judged by film directors Martin Scorsese and M. Night Shyamalan, submissions had to be entered around a set of thirteen questions posed in the existing advertising campaign.  The prize was $15,000.

Results:  350,000 visitors, 1,800 submissions

User-Generated Advertising

This is the simplest way to put digital at the heart of an ad, simply crowd-source the ad from the digital community.

  • Doritos CrashTheSuperbowl

Online Game

There are lots of digital games that can capture the public’s imaginations such as scavenger hunts and recreations of pac-man using gps-enabled phones.

Web-enabled Ad Shoot

Sort of a variant on the Event Log, a web-enabled shoot simply uses an event to generate the material for the ad.

  • T-Mobile Life is for Sharing – Built off an original unsponsored flash mob in Liverpool Station, this campaign took the flash mob further by orgainsing a mass sing along in Trafalger Square — using the footage to create a series of video and print ads.

Community Survey

If you want to get someone’s attention, ask them a question.

  • Dove Campaign for Real Beauty