We Are Social's Monday Mashup #34


Ford Explorer launch puts social media at the heart
In the United States, Ford have made the bold decision to make Facebook, rather than their own website or a microsite, the focal point for the launch of the new 2011 Ford Explorer. It’s being used as the central platform (supported by several other web services) for a day-long reveal of the new car and its features. The campaign isn’t just in social media, but it’s integrated across other platforms, with conventional banner advertising directing users to the social hub; the ads have Facebook like buttons on them, with the clear intent of making engagement rather than eyeballs the goal of the ad campaign. Whereas often many campaigns have used social media driving users to a traditional media, this inverts the principle and in turn should make the campaign more engaged and conversational. The scale and breadth of this campaign is vast, as are the stakes for the new product launch (we’re talking billions here) – it shows how major brands are becoming increasingly bold in integrating social media as a central pillar of their marketing strategy.

[Disclosure: Ford of Europe are a We Are Social client]

Picking over the Old Spice campaign
Now that the Old Spice YouTube campaign, which Jordan covered so well here last week, has ended, the social media bloggerati have been circling and picking it over. Some were quick to point out that Old Spices’ sales had apparently declined in wake of the campaign; ambulance chasers. Problem was, the story wasn’t that simple – the data referred to the year before the campaign. In the past three months up to the YouTube campaign (when other elements such as TV have been running), Old Spice’s sales are in fact up. It always helps to look at these stories within the wider context, and over at Warc there’s a wider discussion of the relationship between campaign visibility and sales. That said, now the story’s gone slightly cold, I can’t find reporting on the very latest data, two weeks after the campaign, to see what the post-campaign effect has been. In case you want to copy pay homage to it with your own Old Spice-style campaign, SocialFresh give a few clues as to how they executed it so slickly and enjoyably.

BP get caught out with photoshop hoax
Another company showing us what happens behind the scenes is BP, who last week released a press of their command centre in response to the ongoing catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. Only problem was, they photoshopped the pictures to make them look more active than they actually were, filling in some blank screens. The many eyes of social media duly called them out, before finding a second example of manipulation, this time of a helicopter. Inevitably, it wasn’t long before an array of spoofs appeared – as collated by the Huffington Post. BP’s reputation has been taking an absolute battering in social media during the Gulf crisis – so much so that @BPGlobalPR, a spoof Twitter account lambasting their has ten times the followers of their official account. BP are just the latest example of how social media campaigns on environmental and social issues can damage a brand, as this interesting interview with Laura Kenyon of Greenpeace, who recently successfully used social media to campaign against Nestle’s use of palm oil, shows.

Adobe take real v. fake debate by the horns
The use of Photoshop is ubiquitous today, and the power of social media makes it very easy to question and uncover fakery – with blogs such as Photoshop Disasters showing off the very worst. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Adobe have taken this issue by the horns and used it to create a clever campaign to drive awareness among students with a “Real or Fake?” game on Facebook. It’s a good example of taking an issue about your product that people are talking about already, rather than what you’d like to think they’re talking about, and using that debate to frame your product and your brand.

Social networking stats, and the emergence of Facebook as a state
There was statporn galore this week – with the BBC providing a very clear infographic based on data from Nielsen. The Guardian go one better and have created a mashup of Facebook usage data and world population data to create a heatmap of Facebook use worldwide – the usual suspects like the US and UK are unsurprisingly popular, but the maps also shows interesting local variations (such as those in South America). Facebook’s global reach and popularity has given rise to this thoughtful article in the Economist. Facebook’s population (now over 500 million) is greater than most of the world’s countries; while it is patently not a country itself, with its own currency and “laws”, and an understanding it needs to rule with the consent of its users, and its chief executive meeting politicians such as David Cameron, it is increasingly having to take on the mentality of a country in how it governs itself and maintains external relationships.

Gatwick Airport to operate customer services on Twitter
Gatwick Airport have started rolling out handling customer feedback on Twitter; big screens round the airport will invite travellers and customers to leave comments (positive or negative) with staff trained up dedicated to handle any problems or complaints. The rollout is incremental – their Twitter team will only work during office hours, and they have no plans to publish Tweets (good or bad) from the public on the screens, only their own, but baby steps are better than no steps at all. You can keep tabs on how they’re doing by following them on @gatwick_airport.

Eliason leaves Comcast for Citigroup
Frank Eliason, better known as @comcastcares, and responsible for a much-admired turnaround in how Comcast dealt with its customers in social media, has left Comcast for a similar role with Citigroup. Frank’s work has been a pioneering example of how to improve brand engagement in big business; he and the Comcast brand have become synonymous in the Twittersphere, and the gap left by his departure shows how integral being human is to your presence online.