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Direct Response Marketing

Empowering Consumers

11 Jul, 2010 By: Jackie Jones Response

Marketers find direct response campaigns shine brightest when spotlighting usergenerated content on social media sites.

As marketers increasingly utilize online entertainment tools such as YouTube, social media and blogs as outlets for direct response outreach, one thing has become abundantly clear: The consumer is the star.

Marketing efforts big and small — from companies including Coca-Cola, Goldstar and Olympus — are focusing on user-generated content, choosing to spotlight consumers’ own creativity to successfully draw traffic and create buzz for their campaigns.

“It’s certainly a very powerful marketing platform,” says Petro Kacur, senior manager of marketing communications for Coca-Cola. “Allowing the creativity of consumers to come through is an incredible way to connect with people, let them share their experiences and also connect our brands to global events.”

Coke Gets a Kick out of YouTube

For Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, the beverage company put its consumers front and center stage on a global scale. Integrating the campaign’s overall theme of celebration, Coke struck a 106-country, 29-language deal with YouTube in which viewers can upload videos of themselves celebrating a goal, as though they themselves have just scored during the World Cup, according to Kacur. Participants have the chance to win World Cup-themed prizes, including trips to South Africa to attend the games, free music downloads, big-screen televisions, video games and more.

Coke wanted its World Cup sponsorship campaign to capture that celebratory atmosphere that business executives saw firsthand in soccer fans during a trip to South Africa, Kacur says. The company believed giving consumers a creative outlet to showcase their own celebration was the strongest direct response marketing move and a sure way to most actively engage viewers.

“For Coke, we’ve learned the company really is the consumers behind our products. We want to give them an opportunity to connect with others, to connect with us and share what matters to them,” Kacur says. “Marketing strategies and campaigns like this have proven to be a very successful way to do that.”

Coke has incorporated user-generated content in various past promotions, but had never asked consumers to immediately respond on such a large scale as part of its marketing efforts, according to Kacur.

“This dwarfs anything we’ve done in the past as far as asking consumers to give us their own content,” he says. “Essentially this is a global online competition, and fans are constantly and consistently uploading videos of themselves to create a continuous loop of celebration online. We see this as a really unique and powerful way to connect with fans and people around the world.”

Consumers are uploading about 400 videos to the Coke YouTube channel ( each week as part of the World Cup video competition, which began March 5, and nearly 5,000 total submissions had been received by the beginning of June, Kacur says. “So far, we have exceeded 5 million visitors to the site. It is getting quite a bit of traction, and we believe we’re really just seeing the beginning stages of this,” he says.

With audiences spending more and more time online, Coke is always looking for new and creative ways to utilize that space, Kacur says. Providing a hub where consumers can spread their own creative wings — as well as interact with other Coke fans doing the same — has proven to be a great way to reach Coca-Cola’s target audience.

“We’ve been very happy with the turnout and it’s more than meeting our expectations in connecting with fans online,” Kacur says. “Digital strategy is very important. We know consumers are looking at YouTube and seeking to share their experiences, and we’re giving them an opportunity. I like to say, we fish where the fish are.”

Olympus Puts New Camera in Your Hands

For Olympus Corp., incorporating consumers’ creativity into its marketing was not only a smart move for the campaign in general, but also the most effective way to introduce a relatively new type of product to the marketplace, says Olympus Product Manager Sally Smith Clemens.

For the release of its new Olympus PEN E-PL1, a compact, mirrorless, interchangeable-lens camera offering image quality comparable to a DSLR, the imaging products manufacturer was faced with the challenge of educating consumers on the new technology without weighing down their marketing with a laundry list of facts. Olympus found a tremendous amount of options for explaining the new technology and drawing consumer engagement through online entertainment tools and DR advertising, Smith Clemens says.

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