We are - in a word - overwhelmed by choice. So much to read and do and participate in. A lot of it clever and intriguing and really kind of delightful. To get your message heard, to get past our savvy consumer filters, you need a special kind of engagement - the kind that breaks through.
In this series, I'll share examples of brands that have broken through and show how they used the principles of social to do it.
What they were up against: Like most cities that never have red carpet events or celebrity homes to happen by, Asheville has an awareness challenge. How do they make sure vacation planners everywhere know how much great stuff they have to offer?
For years, Asheville went about tourism advertising in the usual way - visit Asheville for X, Y and Z. Calls trickled in. Weekend vacations were had. But, Asheville wanted something more - longer vacations, more interest, higher engagement.
So they challenged a number of agencies - including Luckie - to come up with the idea that would help them break through.
What they did: Luckie knew that it was going to take more than bucolic photography of green mountains and the promise of a ride on the rapids to put Asheville on the map. So they looked for an angle that would get people talking about something people are naturally passionate about: getting a break from their demanding worklife.
The pitch & the eventual campaign was called Friends of the Five Day Weekend. And it was a call to stop working longer and harder. It was time to take leisure back.
Through newspaper ads, posters, sandwich boards, TV spots, and radio ads, Luckie drove the curious and overworked to learn more on a Web site, sign petitions of support and even attend rallies in key cities.
What happened next: 7000 people signed an online petition that was sent on to Congress and the presidential primary contenders. Hundreds joined homegrown Five Day Weekend groups on Facebook. Average people bought and wore the brand. They not only attended the planned rallies, but some even set up their own rally. Hundreds of bloggers - including the feisty Donald - blogged. And - even with no concentrated media outreach effort - Michael Medved invited the campaign spokesman on for a lengthy debate about the economics of the issue. Fox News did a national piece on it, focusing on overwork but also interviewing the head of Asheville tourism. And, the AP ran with it.
Importantly, the story of Asheville came through. Not only as the transparent sponsor of the "movement," but also as a place where people do care about the very real issue of work-life balance.
Oh, and there's this: long after the campaign ran, this little gem popped up.
How it's social: This campaign has literal social elements - like the Facebook groups, blogging, etc. But its success is arguably built on the solid social principles of what makes WOM happen. To borrow from Steve Knox, CEO of Tremor, it was a story that was true to the core of the brand and disruptive to the conversation. The kind of social marketing that creates results, not just impressions. It was something that people could care about and it was easy for them to pass on.
Break through? Absolutely.