This is Now


Since I joined We Are Social last year I’ve been lucky enough to work on what I think is one of the most interesting and engaging social media projects by a brand: This is Now.

In September 2008, Ford were launching the new Fiesta with an integrated pan-European campaign based on the idea of the Fiesta representing the zeitgeist, the moment, aimed at an audience in their mid-to-late twenties (who don’t tend to read either the motoring press or motoring blogs). We were asked to activate the campaign socially by encouraging members of our target audience to submit their own definition of ‘now’ to a Flickr group. Apart from the deal with Flickr, there was no media spend and we weren’t able to incentivise submissions.

After some very late nights and weekends in the office we came up with an approach that turned it into a unique European collaborative art project.

We spent a lot of time thinking about the cross section of online communities that both influenced and reached our target audience and would be interested in the project, and then even more time finding the influential voices in those communities and crafting copy that would get them interested. We also came up with the idea of the This is Now blog, which we’d go on to use to encourage contributions by highlighting some of the best submissions to the Flickr group.

We initially spread the news (and built link equity for the blog) by talking to the marketing community about the campaign. Then, over the last nine months, we’ve reached out to hundreds of influential art, design, fashion, photography, music and cinema bloggers from across Europe, giving them and their audiences a chance get involved by uploading images that define ‘now’ for them.

Between all of us working on the project here, we’ve written over 130 posts highlighting a variety of amazing images that the public have submitted to the group (some of my favourites are Driving home, Four and I want to rock and roll)

We’re using the This is Now Twitter account to extend the conversation around the project. If you haven’t said hi yet, come on in. I swear I don’t bite and we can enjoy a chat about the latest This is Now submissions (or perhaps even about some great new street art in Berlin). We are very proud of the community we’ve built and it’s a pleasure to spend every day following everyone’s updates and the exchanges on many different topics from the latest gigs in London to exhibitions in Paris or Madrid.

We’re also giving participating bloggers the opportunity to share their own vision of ‘now’ by becoming guest editors of the blog. We have had over 50 to date, illustrating what ‘now’ means to them and re-engaging their audiences in the process. You should check out some of the heartfelt posts, including English fashion blogger Aimee Marie, Spanish film blogger Manuel and French music blogger Julien Seveno.

How is the project going so far? Well, we’ve had over 150 blog posts written about the project such as La Petite Nymphea, Cajon DeSastre, or Zimba which together have reached an estimated 1,050,000 people from all over Europe. Over 40,000 images and videos have been submitted and more than 6,000 have been accepted into the group, making it the second biggest sponsored group on Flickr.

But what’s much more important than the numbers, for me at least, is the friends we’ve made all across Europe in a diverse set of communities, friends who’ve really got involved in the project. Without them, none of this would have been possible and the Flickr group would not be what it is today – an amazing crowd sourced collection of images that represent ‘now’ for the people of Europe. One that makes me draw breath every time I look at it….