They truly kicked up the worldwide power of
branding, got viewers to rethink late-night
TV traditions, made going back to the 1920s
something to look forward to, and introduced
a revolutionary way of consuming multimedia and Web
content. And then they made everybody want to smell
like a man... while riding backwards on a horse.
There were hundreds of pushes on behalf of products,
services and content in 2010, but five stood out and earned
the honors in our first annual “Media Campaigns of the
Year” list. The programs we chose used innovative TV and
other media to communicate a compelling message about
their brands—and motivated consumers to act. They are:
• iPad’s “Meet iPad”
• Nike’s “Write the Future”
• TBS’ “Conan on TBS”
• Old Spice’s “Smell Like a Man”
• HBO’s “‘Boardwalk Empire’—Season One”
Here is our inside look at who was behind these campaigns,
and how they did it.
Campaign Description: Introduction of Apple’s newest must-have gadget,
with the kind of hip style and fun music familiar from campaigns for
the iPod and iPhone.
Creative Agency: TBWA/Media Arts Lab
Media Agency: OMD
Buzz Factor: You might have heard something about this new little gadget
from Apple. That came thanks to the huge buzz that built when it
was at long last announced back on Jan. 27; on April 3, the first day they
were available, more than 300,000 of the tablet computers were sold.
By the end of the month, the tally was up to 1 million, making it arguably
the product of the year.
A series of Apple’s typically stylish ads began airing in March on the
Academy Awards broadcast on ABC. In the audience was Apple founder
Steve Jobs, the largest shareholder of ABC owner Walt Disney Co. The first
commercial, Meet iPad, featuring the tune “There Goes My Love” from the
Danish band The Blue Van, stressed the many magical things the tablet
can do, and the clip went viral with 2.4 million views in its first week.
By Apple’s fourth quarter, production problems held sales down to a
disappointing 4.9 million units. Bigger things are expected next year, with
one analyst forecasting 2011 sales of 43.7 million.
A little harder to calculate—but no less important—was the iPad’s remarkable
impact in the media and on the media. Just before it went on sale,
the iPad had a starring role in an episode of ABC’s hit comedy Modern Family.
One of the show’s characters, Phil, has to have one for his birthday, and
the rest of the family spends the episode tracking one down. Was product
integration part of Apple’s campaign? The company said it doesn’t pay for
product placement . . . but it did provide a pre-release iPad for the show.
The media business took notice in more hands-on ways as well. The
networks—not only ABC—lined up to create apps for the iPad that will let
users view primetime programming. Publishers were even more gung ho,
creating iPad versions of newspapers and magazines. The product was
even hailed as the savior of print. Magic indeed. —Jon Lafayette
Write the Future
Campaign Description: With the world’s attention focused on
the World Cup, Nike captured soccer fans with a star-studded
ad focusing on great moments in the game.
Creative Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Media Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Buzz Factor: Nike scored a goal before the World Cup even
started with an epic three-minute commercial featuring soccer
stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Didier Drogba, Wayne Rooney and
Landon Donovan, plus cameos by Roger Federer, Kobe Bryant
and even Homer Simpson. The ad, directed by Alejandro Inaritu,
first ran online, where members of the Nike football community
could get a preview of what would soon be unleashed on the
world—and they weren’t just talking about vuvuzelas.
The ad was viewed 52 million times via Facebook, YouTube and
other online platforms. Befitting the global nature of the tournament,
Nike’s ad aired in 32 countries, including the U.S., where it
appeared during coverage of matches on ESPN and Univision.
“It was really the talk of the World Cup,” says Derek Kent,
media relations director at Nike. In fact, the campaign led some
consumers to believe that Nike, and not Adidas, was the official
sponsor of the tournament. “We consciously choose to have an
impact through the players, because they’re the proving ground
for our products on the field of play, and the teams themselves,”
The result for Nike was a campaign that drove its biggest and
most successful World Cup ever. “Our soccer business was up, so
that’s a good indicator of connecting,” Kent adds. “And it provided
a great halo effect for the entire brand because the World Cup is
such a seminal moment in time, when the whole world is watching.”
As icing on the cake, the purple-and-orange Maestri soccer boots
featured in the campaign were worn by Spain’s Andres Iniesta
when he scored the championship-winning goal.
Conan on TBS
Campaign Description: Starting with the Team Coco Website,
TBS took a “fans first” approach to marketing a late-night talk
show that was all-new to TBS but already well-known and loved
by legions of fans.
Creative Agency: Print: Blue Sky and Canyon; Digital: Breakfast
and One Trick Pony; TV: TBS creative team
Media Agency: TMG (planning) and MediaVest (buying)
Buzz Factor: Most marketers focus on building a brand, taking it
from something that no one knows about to—if all goes well—
a household name. When TBS convinced former Tonight Show
host Conan O’Brien to take his late-night seat to the network,
O’Brien’s brand awareness was at an all-time high. So TBS went
straight to the foundation, and targeted the Conan faithful first
“The campaign was all about letting Conan be Conan, and all
about the fans who rallied to his side from the beginning,” says
Jeff Gregor, CMO for TBS, TNT and TCM. TBS’ challenge was not
to persuade viewers to come see something new, but to persuade
them that TBS’ version of Conan would be, at its core, the
same show they knew and loved.
“A lot of it started with the Team Coco Website,” says Tricia
Melton, senior VP of marketing for TBS, TNT and TCM. “There
already was a well of support behind Conan. We recognized
that, so we wanted to give fans unprecedented access to what
was going on with Conan.”
So, when anything new was happening, Team Coco got first
dibs. “We’ve used social media in our campaigns as long as it’s
been around, but never to this extent,” says Melton. “More than
30 commercials, four behind-the-scenes videos and one amazing
trailer for theaters all were released online before they went
out to more traditional forms of media.”
TBS’ plan played out: Conan premiered to more than 4 million
viewers on Monday, Nov. 8, beating its broadcast network rivals
among both total viewers and adults 18-49.
Smell Like a Man
Campaign Description: TV ads take a new approach to manliness
to sell body wash and deodorant, and in the process breathe fresh
life into a venerable brand.
Creative Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
Media Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
PR Agency: PainePR
Buzz Factor: When former NFL receiver Isaiah Mustafa said, “look
at me,” millions did. As the man your man could smell like in commercials
for Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice, Mustafa generated a lot
of attention for deodorant and body wash—and for Isaiah Mustafa.
The “Smell Like A Man” campaign became an online sensation
when Old Spice invited consumers to submit questions via Twitter
and Facebook to be answered personally by the Old Spice Guy.
More than 2,000 questions poured in during a 48-hour period, and
200 personalized responses were posted on YouTube, where they
were watched more than 46 million times. P&G estimates it got
about 1.2 billion media impressions when the campaign was featured
in news stories and when Mustafa appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s
and Ellen DeGeneres’ talk shows.
“That’s a great example of the connection between TV and digital
going all at the same time,” says Marc Pritchard, P&G global marketing
and brand building officer. “We’re selling out of Old Spice.”
The campaign ultimately pushed Old Spice into the No. 1 position
in sales among body washes and deodorants, with growth in the
high single/low double digits, according to P&G.
The campaign was also pretty good for Mustafa. The budding actor
signed a talent deal with NBC under which he will audition for
roles in the network’s current sitcoms, as well as for parts in future
pilots. He also landed movie roles in Horrible Bosses (with Jennifer
Aniston) and Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family.
No word if he’ll be on a horse in any of those pictures.
Boardwalk Empire—Season One
Campaign Description: HBO’s campaign for Boardwalk Empire
refl ected the show’s lush theatrical look. Elaborate on- and off-air
promotions resulted in a big opening for the premium network’s
Creative Agencies: BLT & Associates: launch key art, vintage tourism
artwork & Prohibition bus shelters; Red Interactive Agency:
online creative; Civic Entertainment Group: promotions & partnerships
(Bloomingdale’s, Caesars, Canadian Club); Cornerstone:
speakeasy promotions; HBO Creative Services: all A/V creative
Media Agency: PHD
Buzz Factor: HBO spent north of $10 million to promote the launch
of Boardwalk Empire, which features the talents of Oscar-winning
director Martin Scorsese, The Sopranos’ Terence Winter and actor
Steve Buscemi in the lead role. The push got results: The beautifully
shot and meticulously designed show was HBO’s highest-rated
premiere in six years (since the 2004 debut of Deadwood), with 4.8
million viewers tuning in to the premiere and nearly 12 million viewers
cumulatively watching the show by the end of the first week.
HBO’s primary aim was to emphasize the show’s period feel, creating
elaborate promotions with brand partners to draw in viewers.
In front of New York’s fl agship Bloomingdale’s store, the channel
created an authentic boardwalk and adorned the windows with
neo-vintage fashions from the 1920s, which also happened to be a
part of Bloomingdales’ new Twenties-inspired clothing line.
Canadian Club whisky, whose historic role in Prohibition is featured
in the show, sponsored promotions in upscale liquor stores
across the country. And Caesars Atlantic City, in the town where
the show is set, offered 1,920 hotel rooms for the price of $19.20
per night, a promotion that sold out bullet-fast.
“We wanted to allow people to escape into another world—
the sexy and violent world of the Roaring Twenties,” says Chris
Spadaccini, HBO VP of advertising and promotions. “We wanted
to position the show as an epic crime drama and a real must-see
television event. The marketing had to refl ect the scale and scope
of the production.”