If there’s one thing you can count on every December, it’s those year-end “best of” lists. I’m not one to follow such obvious December trends – I’m giving you myInnovative Internet Marketing list in January!
So without further ado, here are some of my picks as the best internet marketing campaigns of 2012.
The “So Simple it’s Brilliant” Award: Tesco Virtual Store
South Koreans are hardworking and hassled – so grocery shopping is considered a time-sucking drudge. The grocery chain Tesco (renamed Home Plus for the South Korean market) entered this environment lacking as many brick-and-mortar stores as its main competitor.
So Tesco went in the other direction. Instead of building more markets, it created virtual ones. The first debuted in a subway. The displays of food imitated the look of an actual Home Plus store. Each item was displayed with a QR code. People could walk down the subway platforms, scan in the items they wanted using their smartphone, and fill their online cart. Best of all – the groceries are delivered right to the buyers’ homes.
Did this brainstorm catapult Home Plus into the number-one online retailer in South Korea? Do we need to even say it?
The “Sell the Smell” Award: Old Spice
“New and improved” are ways to help a product through its lifecycle doldrums. Old Coke was too familiar, so the story goes, so in the 1980s “New Coke” debuted – to universal boos. But you don’t need to tamper with a product to improve its image. Case in point: Your dad’s favorite aftershave. Without changing its basic formula, Old Spice got a tremendous rebranding from 2010 through 2012 thanks to an internet sensation known as the Old Spice Guy.
The impossibly cool OSG combined just the right amount of snark and sizzle to make his pitch directly to women. From YouTube videos to Twitter feeds and Q&A submitted by fans, Old Spice successfully drenched itself in all manner of internet use. By the end of 2011, Old Spice Guy had even crossed over into (gasp!) “old” media like TV/radio spots and billboards, all of which served to reinforce the viral campaign.
The guy behind the Old Spice Guy, actor Isaiah Mustasfa, underscored the campaign’s 2012 success by branching out into a daily web series, “The Morning Alert.”
The “One with Everything” Award: Domino’s Think Oven
Pizza chains aren’t necessarily known for delivering best-in-class products. Michigan-based Domino’s sought to differentiate itself from other chains with its Facebook app, “Think Oven,” which ended its limited run in November 2012.
Visitors were invited to submit their ideas for improving any aspect of Domino’s business, from suggesting pizza toppings to recommending the color of the delivery uniforms. The company awarded prizes to the best ideas.
By taking “voice of the customer” to heart, Domino’s increased its engagement and visibility across social media for 2012 – in 30 minutes or less!
Honorary Mention: Kony 2012
Though it doesn’t pitch a product, Kony 2012 and the organization behind it, Invisible Children, deserve a place among the pantheon of the great marketing campaigns of last year. Begun as an experiment by filmmaker Jason Russell to see if a YouTube video could call attention to obscure Ugandan war criminal:
Joseph Kony and the children whose lives he affected, Kony 2012 broke most of the rules:
It runs “long” at 30 minutes
It demands total viewer attention and engagement – no skimming
It “expired” at the end of 2012
Informative, emotional and disturbing, Kony 2012 used its platform to make the simple case, “where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live.” But the story garnered more than just the title of the biggest viral video campaign of all time – it moved young people from around the world into an activist community.
The upshot from Kony 2012 proved controversial, with stories that Joseph Kony had died years earlier, and Russell’s subsequent run-in with the San Diego police after displaying bizarre behavior in public. But Russell’s efforts show how the power of a compelling message combined with the speed of social media has changed the way information is shared.
Asa Shatkin is founder and creative director of Shebang Internet Marketing Group, responsible for the development of inbound marketing focused websites and campaigns.
Previously Asa was designer and creative director for Bluegreen Resorts, Ashford.com and Diamond.com, managing online development, content and marketing.
Asa is a regular blogger for "The Marketing Blog" and contributes articles that focus on effective internet marketing.
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