Over the past few days there’s been much discussion around the (now public) ‘Wake Up’ campaign, launched by Research In Motion (RIM). After many people speculated Samsung was behind the campaign, RIM opened up and admitted that it was the mobile maker responsible for the series of experiential activities taking place across Sydney and Melbourne.
With the full revelation set to take place on May 7th, people are now speculating about whether RIM would have liked to have kept their secret longer, and if the early acknowledgement of the campaign has left RIM in a bit of a pickle. As The Next Web blogger, Jon Russell, points out: “The identity of organiser and its (apparent) purpose is due to be unveiled at 3:00pm on May 7, but with RIM now out in the open, and the campaign receiving criticism the world over, it is unclear what more will be said.”
This makes me question the risk of organizing such teaser-based campaigns, for fear that the PR message or indeed, the company behind the campaign, will be exposed all too early and negatively lose control of the message. In a recent AFR article titled ‘How to avoid the post-crisis crisis,’ journalist Emily Parkinson refers to another wave of ’citizen journalism,’ whereby Twitter and Facebook are continuing to give voice to public reporting on events, and where’misperceptions, mistakes and innuendo left uncorrected quickly pass into truth.’
Whilst the aim of RIM’s campaign was obviously to create viral word-of-mouth, in this instance the outcome ran over the desired result, as those reporting on it assumed the mobile maker responsible was Samsung. This highlights the greater risk in viral teaser campaigns and loss of control.
In 2011 Text 100 ran a long-term viral teaser campaign for cloud start-up Ninefold over two months. The campaign used Foursquare and Twitter mechanics to target pre-defined, researched audiences and conduct secret location based treasure hunts with potential business customers. Each treasure hunt was standalone with the final hunt held during Mumbrella 360 as the climax, where the brand was revealed. This viral teaser campaign worked because of its targeted audience insight and scalability of each hunt allowing control of message and execution at a micro-level.
Crowd sourcing with social media is one way you can pre-define audience reaction before a campaign. Yesterday, Arnott’s planted a Tim Tam ‘orchard’ in Sydney’s Martin Place which featured more than 30,000 of the iconic Australian product hanging from trees. The idea sparked from the Tim Tam Facebook page, which saw avid followers wishing for the biscuits to grow on trees. A day later and people are already commenting on the success of the campaign, claiming “LOVED the idea and excitement it generated around Martin Place. I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory,” and “At last, an idea and execution that is actually working.”
I think this was an example of a successful PR stunt as it lasted one day and no secrets were in play. The campaign worked because Tim Tam responded to its fans by giving them exactly what they wanted. At the same time was able to receive positive media coverage, get 6,934* people talking about its brand on Facebook and become a trending topic on Twitter, with even journalists jumping on board saying how much they loved the stunt. The only downside? Being based in North Sydney, Text 100 missed out on all the fun!
What do you think about these campaigns? Are the risks of long-term viral teaser campaigns where control of the message is weaker than a one-off stunt worth the outcome?
Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the Text 100 Sydney blog, Digital Comms Down Under.