Case Study: Digital Winning Big Brand Awareness

Today as ever brand marketers are wrestling with how much of their media spend to put online and are looking for case studies that allow them to “trust digital media” the way they do traditional media.  All of the unique visitor metrics and total impressions numbers aside, there remains a confidence gap until big brands start to circulate big cases where digital has delivered big results.

Now they are starting to come in like this one from Ford published in the WARC News Email:

In April, Ford, the automaker, asked 100 influential US bloggers to test drive its new Fiesta for a period of six months, and regularly post their opinions of the car on portals like Facebook and Twitter.

By October, it estimated that the resulting material had received 4.3 million hits on YouTube and 3 million comments on Twitter, while 540,000 people had viewed photos hosted on Flickr.

According to Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of global marketing, recognition rates of the Fiesta have grown rapidly, despite the fact it won’t be available until mid-2010.

“If you would have told me that we would have 100 vehicles in the US … and we would have 60% brand awareness in the segment, I would have said there is no possible way,” he said.

“To get 60% awareness in traditional media, it costs somewhere north of $50 million (€33.6m; £29.9m),” continued Farley, who added that the web is now a viable, and more low-cost, alternative to these channels.

“Online has become mass media. A Yahoo or Google page takeover actually gets more eyeballs than a network TV commercial now. That hasn’t happened before.”

In April, Ford, the automaker, asked 100 influential US bloggers to test drive its new Fiesta for a period of six months, and regularly post their opinions of the car on portals like Facebook and Twitter.

By October, it estimated that the resulting material had received 4.3 million hits on YouTube and 3 million comments on Twitter, while 540,000 people had viewed photos hosted on Flickr.

According to Jim Farley, Ford’s group vice president of global marketing, recognition rates of the Fiesta have grown rapidly, despite the fact it won’t be available until mid-2010.

“If you would have told me that we would have 100 vehicles in the US … and we would have 60% brand awareness in the segment, I would have said there is no possible way,” he said.

“To get 60% awareness in traditional media, it costs somewhere north of $50 million (€33.6m; £29.9m),” continued Farley, who added that the web is now a viable, and more low-cost, alternative to these channels.

“Online has become mass media. A Yahoo or Google page takeover actually gets more eyeballs than a network TV commercial now. That hasn’t happened before.”

Brave Client Award – Kinder Chocolate

There are times when you really have to be impressed with the power of social media.

Take a simple idea — like a competition based on voting to allow a chocolate bar company choose a set of pictures for its next years packaging — and what do you get? A absolute frenzy.

It was all very simple — 1 vote per child per day.  And the top voted child ended up with over 20,000 votes.

Celebrity and Competition:  An amazing recipe for getting engagement.

Nonetheless we did hope for a bit of activity and we got it.  Over 4700 entries.  Nearly 8 million pageviews with visitors from hundreds of countries.  Facebook groups.  Recruiting votes from local football club forums.  Blogs about an entry with downs syndrome that galvanized support groups.

We also got mothers complaining it was rigged and other parents were cheating.  People saying on forums the kids in the lead were “FUgly.”  An audit by the ASA.

Not that it wasn’t expected.
–We put in Captcha codes on voting and tiered the competition to ensure only panel selected children went to a second round.
–We ensured that selection was based on funny quotes, not just photos or votes.
–We built registration for the final round.
–We called forum owners and had inappropriate posts taken down.
–We cleared the ASA review and helped educate them on social media.

And were nominated for a Revolution Award.