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.”

Current New Agency Thinking in Advertising

It is funny how you consume media in the internet age. 

Some of us call it “information snacking,”  some call it “managing feeds.”  What is amazing is how we do still end up reading what we want to read and are able to keep up with significant stories or trends — even if they aren’t defined in a few media players editorial calendar as they were before.

I believe this is because the ease of publishing means strong ideas get enough coverage to still have a significant share of voice, regardless of the media fragmentation.

It is also because as humans we tend to build off of each other’s ideas.  A more cynical view would be to say we herd around themes. 

This WARC article does a great summary of the key themes I see frequently.

The changing art of persuasion in a downturn

There were a number of recurring themes throughout the day, but three were most prominent. First, the traditional “persuasion” model of advertising is broken. Second, the industry is becoming data rich but insight poor. Third, the structure and process of creating advertising has changed little since the days of Mad Men (while the customer, in the real world, has moved on dramatically).