Let’s make this viral

Is it possible to sit in a room with the objective of making something viral?

Im not sure. And this is why

Charity Water is 5 – And this is how they celebrate

And they have made this amazing video.

These guys have such a great model (100% of your donations go to the cause, we will find other ways to fund our staff) – how can a donor not love that.

But they don’t just stop there, they look to be fully accountable. They tell you how much things cost, they show you where they are working, they put GPS trackers on things so you – the donor –  can see that your money is still working.

They mobilise people really well, create communities that want to support their work. They have created a movement.

Have a look at their video and if it doesn’t make you want to support them, please tell me what is missing or what they should do differently, because for me, this is on the mark (maybe Scotts VO is a bit annoying in places!)

The 2011 September Campaign. Our 5-year-anniversary video from charity: water on Vimeo.

The misuse of participation

Participation is certainly the buzz phrase at the moment. Yesterday Richard Madden posted a great article on Marketing Week called “Co-creation can be so much more than this” where he challenges the idea of brands that assume he (and other people)

” want to be part of a fan club. Or a crowd-sourcing movement. Or to co-create something with them”

He counters the arguement that some may have that this is just the ramblings of a middle aged crank by writing of a letter (email really) that came into his inbox from 27 year old Brian. He explains that

” In this document, Brian lambasts advertisers for what he calls “some terrible misunderstanding, where you got the idea that I’d really like the prospect of coming home from work and spending my valuable free time taking part in your stupid idea about sausages, or tea, or washing bloody powder, or anything else for that matter”.

He says that the letter is entertaining and more than likely from an industry source but it does highlight the point that:

“Participation is potentially a massively powerful communications tool. But it needs to be used with discretion”

Richard has found that

“among existing users of the promoted brand, the participative model delivered the best results of all the campaigns surveyed.

This makes intuitive sense. The greater your affinity with the brand, the more likely you are to interact with it. And it’s easy to see how this interaction would boost your usage and advocacy.

So participation has a massive and powerful role in 21st century communications. But it is best deployed among those who are already predisposed to the brand not among the disengaged Brians who comprise the majority of our audience, the majority of the time.”

He goes on to talk about how co-creating unique value with customers is more important.

“the future belongs to brands that engage customers in the process of designing products and services that meet their unique needs.”

Surprising as it may seem, its not brands like Nike and Apple that are getting this right. No its John Deere tractors in the American mid west!

In the Midwest, John Deere no longer just pushes metal at farmers. The brand works with farmers to create tailored solutions comprising leasing and maintenance packages, workflow management systems and accounting tools. It even incorporates data from similar farm clients, with the result that it can predict yield improvements and thus price on a profit-share, rather than cost-plus basis.

You can read the full article here.

Original content by Richard Madden,18 August 2011, Marketing Week

Share The Energy

Probably a little obvious to post about this today, but I really like the Electric Ireland competition. Its like the old radio promos that 98FM used to do,  “The Fugitive”. They give a clue and then you have to find the Fugitive. But instead of having people driving around the city like lunatics, today saw people sitting in front of their computer screens – like lunatics.

It was really interesting to see the level of interest in the office today for the competition. There were two groups (almost rival teams) tweeting and checking back into the app A LOT to see if the map had been updated.

In case you missed it here is what the campaign is about


Clearly inspired by this idea from VW Brazil – but thats ok. Some of the best ideas are borrowed – right?


The prize isnt exactly amazing, its good (5 tickets to Electric Picnic) but its not 5 VIP all expenses paid tickets. So why did this competition get more interest and hype than any of the other ones that have been run (take the Vodafone one for example).

I think the element of team work that was involved really helped create a sense of engagement. The fact that you had to check in to the map to see where the tickets were going to be was very addictive. I think the online and offline element of it worked very well, it wasn’t just about sitting at your computer, you had to get out there and find the sparkhead in the real world. (the folks here in the office took a planned approach to this, one stayed in the office while the other went out into the streets to find the secret location).

This was  something different to this market and it worked really well. I would love to see results. I wonder how many tweets it took to complete the reveal?

Anyway well done Electric Ireland, a good campaign (and well done on no crashes to the site or app either!) Check it out here. Any thoughts on how you could use this idea?

New Macmillan Brand Message launched

Marketing Week wrote this morning (Aug 15th) that

Macmillan Cancer Support is launching a three month brand campaign to get the public to reappraise the charity’s role and range of services. 

The organisation says it wants people to realise that it is about more than nursing and end of life care, and offers support at “every stage of their cancer journey” such as advice on financial help, nursing care and an online community for sufferers and their friends and families.

The “Every step of the way” campaign launches today (15 August) and will run until the end of October across TV, press, outdoor, DM and digital.

It will replaces the “Good Day Bad Day” brand activity that the brand has run since 2009.

Carly Burton, brand manager at Macmillan, says that the “every step” campaign has been designed so that the charity can “integrate communications at a deeper level” and help communicate it’s practical, medical and emotional support services in an “issue led” way.

She adds that the charity has previously targeted people living with cancer but that it now wants to broaden its messaging to help a wider audience understand the importance of its services. Macmillan is also preparing to relaunch its online community in September to better service its users.

by Rosie Baker, Marketing Week, Aug 15th 2011

Having looked at the piece this morning I think it’s possibly one of my least favourite Macmillan pieces in a number of years. I know it is doing a different job to the previous campaigns, but it doesn’t feel to me very real, it feels a bit actory/vo’d and I think it lacks the passion and sincerity of some of their previous work.

What do you think?

Well done Blackburn Rovers

I spoke to a Championship side about this idea before and it went nowhere (for many reasons). It is an incredibly powerful way for a sporting organisation to support a cause.  I can’t think of many that have done it, obviously Barcelona for UNICEF, but not many others. My conversations were around asking a team to do it for just one game, maybe a local derby. So this commitment from Blackburn Rovers is really great. Here is the info from their site

Blackburn Rovers FC has announced a unique charity of the year partnership with The Prince’s Trust for the upcoming 2011-12 football season.

The partnership will see Rovers donate the branding space on its famous shirts to the charity instead of selling the space to a sponsor.

The club, which has a history of running Prince’s Trust programmes for disadvantaged young people in the area, has committed to fundraising for the charity throughout the season in addition to the pro bono shirt contribution.

Simon Williams, head of commercial and marketing at BRFC, said: 

“The club has enjoyed a strong and productive relationship with The Prince’s Trust since 2005 and this agreement takes that relationship onto another level. The exposure The Prince’s Trust will obtain as our shirt partner will greatly increase the level of awareness for the charity and hopefully encourage fundraising for the fantastic work they do to with young people.”

Rovers decided to reject some commercial sponsorship offers in order to grasp the special partnership opportunity.

It would have been interesting to know how much they could have sold the sponsorship for? Last year the BBC reported that clubs like Utd and Liverpool were making 20million a year from shirt sponsorships, with clubs at the lower end of the premiership earning between 0.5 -1 million.  The article states that “Shirt sponsorship typically makes up between 2% and 10% of total club revenues, industry figures suggest”. So this is a sizeable investment/donation by the club.

Anyone got any other examples of clubs (in other sports) that have done this?

Thanks to Mark Barkaway for the tweet.

Pitching a Company on cause partnership

Katya Andresen posted on her blog today with tips on how to pitch to a company on a cause partnership. I think her first point is so crucial, if you can’t show a business case for the partnership, its just not going to happen.

I think the biggest problem most causes have however go beyond Katya’s 6 tips. In my mind its getting in the door. Getting attention.

I think if you are looking to create a partnership with a company you need to start thinking like them. This is so hard if you havent worked in that industry or sector, because you have no real insight into what the day to day problems are for the people you are targetting.

So how do you get around this? Well if I knew all the answers I would be minted, right? But from some recent work I have been involved in, these three things stand out to me.

  • First off, talk to people in the sector. Spend time getting that insight. This may seem like a lot of work, but if you understand the issues, then you can start to get your foot in the door. Because all of a sudden, just maybe, you could provide a solution to their business problems.
  • Secondly, tink about how you will get attention. So many of the people you are trying to get hold of are busy. They meet about meetings, their diaries aren’t their own. So what is the thing that, in a day where they just about get time to go to the toilet, will make them stop and listen/watch/read?
  • Finally, what is it that you are offering that is different. That can help them stand out from the crowd. That will continue to place them top of mind for consumers. What is it that you are offering that is cutting edge, that is using technology, that is possibly going to win them awards?
What do you think?

Disney’s Millions

It’s nice when you have a partner like Disney isn’t it! 3 years ago they committed to raise 10 million for Great Ormond Street, Im not sure where that 10 million was coming from (staff, customers, or their own pockets?). But I know at least 1 million is coming from Disney HQ.

They are asking people to share their first Disney memories on their Facebook page and when they hit a million memories they will give a million pounds to GOSH.

This of course makes sense for Disney, if you read some of the memories you can see how this is working.  Get people to think about how their first Disney memory made them feel it will increase the glow around the brand perception, the fact that each memory helps activate a major gift, just adds to the halo effect of all this.  From a GOSH perspective, its just a perfect fit.

Nice big partnership, am I missing something in not finding fault (part of me thinks Disney could have elevated a smaller charity to new heights instead of partnering with the giant that is GOSH). So far there are over 4,000 memories, how long will it take to hit the million?

What do you think about the campaign?