Looping the loop in social media
Last month we were proud to be one of the agencies working for Dunlop, and their specially-commissioned loop-the-loop stunt created by BBH. An ordinary car with Dunlop tyres was driven round a custom-built loop by Steve Truglia, one of Britain’s top stuntmen – not only to demonstrate Dunlop’s quality and endurance under pressure during the peak period for tyre sales in Europe, but to stoke the ‘wow’ factor and passion amongst fans of driving stunts and Dunlop’s brand adherents. It was shown across multiple media, including a dedicated microsite, a spot on TV’s Fifth Gear and social media outreach to car and viral fans in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain to spread the message. That last part was our job, and as simple as it sounded on paper, we had to be quick on our feet throughout.
We had planned to build up anticipation about the outcome of the stunt prior to its debut on web and TV. However five days before the stunt went live, a national newspaper leaked photographs of the stunt, and as the day rolled on, the story was picked up by an increasing number of blogs and Twitter users. Months of careful planning was being undone, all without a mention of Dunlop in the coverage or Dunlop branding in the leaked photos.
To turn things around, we tracked down the key blogs and started a conversation with them about the video, introducing them to the microsite, talking about Dunlop’s involvement. We used the immediacy of Twitter to join the conversation about the stunt by setting up an official Twitter channel for Dunlop, talking with people who had spread the link and offering them more information about the stunt, while being as conversational as possible.
Having steadied the ship somewhat and set the record straight, we were then able to use the momentum created to reinforce our original idea, contacting driving and stunt video bloggers in five territories, providing them with photos and videos that were exclusive to Dunlop, and giving them the chance to ask questions the team behind the stunt.
The results were fantastic, and we’re really happy with them given the tight turnaround time. Not only did we get some great enthusiastic reactions on Twitter from the people we got in contact with, but we got great coverage in the blogosphere, with 60 blogs in five languages linking to the microsite, and at least another 24 discussing the stunt with Dunlop branding associated – amongst them blogs such as Gizmodo who had initially reported the leak were more than happy to set the record straight, strengthening the Dunlop brand association. And it wasn’t just about the sentiment – the total reach of the blogs involved was 8m unique users/month and 420k RSS subscribers, far outstripping the reach of the initial misinformed coverage from the leak – and almost all of the coverage was positive to boot.
There were several things that the video’s success brought out. Not only was it a demonstration of the power of social media to create and develop the conversation around something people love, but also a testament to the power of listening and responding to quickly and decisively correct mistakes or misconceptions. Social media offers you the opportunity to react and turn around a conversation at lightning speeds compared with more traditional messaging. However, you have to be friendly, open and willing to listen to and converse with the enthusers around your brand if you want them to listen and contribute back.