Now that companies are realizing the value and potential success of consumer generated campaigns, it seems that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon and offering consumers the ability to create their own ad campaigns. And why not? Not only is it cost efficient, but it also alleiviates the pressure on corporate America to figure out how to relate to their customers (and we all know how well that tends to work). However, now with so many online CGM contests, the bigger question becomes how to make your campaign stand out. The answer: use a multi-faceted approach to gain publicity.
In early September, 2006, Snickers introduced their "Satisfaction Sing-Off" contest, in which fans of the candy bar were asked to create an original song that celebrates the way they feel satisfied with Snickers. The only guidelines were that the contestants must integrate the four Snickers ingredients into the song- peanuts, caramel, nougat, and chocolate. They could post their entries on YouTube, which would then be narrowed down to 10 semifinalists by a panel of judges. Once the 10 were selected, consumers were given the chance to vote for their top 3 favorites who would get a trip to Los Angeles for the finals. At the House of Blues in L.A., they would perform their songs in front of another panel of judges and the winner would receive $25,000.
Sounds like a typical CGM campaign, right? Well, on top of it all, Snickers decided to add celebrity spokesperson Nick Lachey into the mix, giving him final judging rights for the contest and playing off of his celebrity status to increase media interest. Results? The contest was covered on Entertainment Tonight, E!, MTV, Extra, People Magazine, 17 top ten radio station markets and more than 40 entertainment and music websites and blogs. Additionally, more than 80,000 people visited the Snickers Satisfies website while 100 video entries were posted on YouTube. The event posed to be a model for the integration of consumer generated media and the more traditional marketing tactic of celebrity spokesmanship.
Was this the most successful CGM campaign ever? No, not necessarily. However, it does prove that companies are trying to take advantage of the CGM trend, but are aware of the difficulty and risk involved in relying singularly on a consumer generated media campaign to take off and produce the results they are looking for. In this case, it was a mix of drawing attention through celebrity status, giving the consumers the power to relay their messages through video, and finally allowing them to vote for their favorites, that resulted in success.
Why did I choose to analyze this case? Mainly because my friend Mike was the winner, using only his fabulous ukulele skills, a sock mask and a towel cape to impress his peers and, of course, Nick Lachey. Check out the winning video.