Online redemption - a review of 2008
In the first league of its kind, P&I presents the most effective online mechanics from 2008's SP campaigns. James Quilter convenes an expert panel to separate the best from the rest.
It is impossible to say when the change happened, but it could have been just over a year ago when brands stopped making a big deal about their promotional microsites. At the risk of telling grandma how to extract yolk, online is now the default redemption, but it wasn't always this way.
Online has played a part in SP since the 90s, but the first major campaign to use online as an integral part of the mix was Weetabix's 'House' push in 2002, for which an on-pack code could be redeemed online for prizes. It might seem standard practice now (see box), but at the time it was revolutionary. In 2006, it was voted 'best SP campaign ever' in P&I.
Online redemption is cost-effective and an excellent way of building customer data. This, and the creative applications explained above, are two reasons why digital has become an essential aspect of SP. However, it is early days and there is a question mark over best practice. So P&I assessed some of the microsites developed for last year's campaigns. We have convened a panel of experts from across the marketing spectrum, including client-side, branding and digital planning.
We focused on three aspects of the microsite, marking each out of five: entertainment - whether the site is engaging and reflects the brand; functionality - how easy it is to use and the extent to which it complements the rest of the promotion; and technicality and innovation - does the site use mobile or even make use of what's out there at the moment?
Waterstone's 'The Big Book Bank'
This promotion is part of the bookseller's activity in support of the Year of Reading initiative. A home-page animation shows how the scheme works.
The site admirably fulfilled the joint objective of focusing on kids, parents and teachers. Chief marketing officer of social networking site Yuuguu, Barry Holloway, praised the portal's "eye-catching design". Futurebrand MD Jasmine Montgomery said: "It's a lovely idea and so credit-crunch-sensitive. This is a site that knows and engages its audience."
Pot Noodle's 'Spinning Fork'
This is another campaign aimed at different audiences, i.e. young men and the mothers who buy their food. The site is a redemption area for the on-pack campaign, and despite P&I being contacted by consumers who had trouble redeeming, it has scored highly.
The main site provides plenty of content besides the redemption mechanism. However, there were reservations. For Holloway: "There's some nice content, but the competition page doesn't reflect the humour of the TV campaign." Despite the use of a dot mobi site, Pot Noodle didn't score highly on the technical front, although the panelists agreed it captured the brand perfectly.
BT Fon's 'The World's Biggest Mexican Wave'
Visitors to this site are confronted with the opportunity to see footballer Peter Crouch doing a Mexican wave. In essence, the site offers consumers the chance to film and upload their own version of the wave.
Montgomery and Martin Brooks of creative agency Work Club particularly liked the technical innovation. Montgomery said: "Highly entertaining and a lovely idea brought to life; social networking for those with a video camera and time on their hands; silly and without redeeming social value, but isn't that true of many great sites?" But Holloway claimed the music was annoying and video content poor.
There was some surprise at sites which didn't make the grade. Warburtons' 'Fibre Provider' and Kellogg's 'Wake up to Breakfast' had plenty of content, but did not connect with the panel, either on technical issues or because they failed to resonate with the brand. As might be expected with these sites, it was often a case of ticking boxes but failing to deliver on the overall aim.
Scrapping to avoid relegation
The size of the promotion made little difference here and, in fact, some, such as Go Cat and Cadbury, were significant. But again there was a notable lack of content beyond the redemption mechanism. The bottom-placed campaign, by Disaronno - an on-pack promotion to win a holiday - was panned by everyone ("uninspiring" being a typical response of our judges) despite containing a number of recipes for the brand.
The conclusion from these middling and lowly campaigns is that it is all very well putting content together, but it needs to be relevant to the brand. Most of the panel felt the sites were well executed but on the whole uninspired.
This thought is echoed by Chemistry planning director Omaid Hiwaizi. "Promotions must leverage the brand's assets. So, while a microsite is a call to action, it's an opportunity lost if the brand essence isn't communicated within it. You need balance so the site doesn't get in the way of the original function."
Additionally, Hiwaizi says, marketers need to look beyond seeing online in purely acquisitional terms. "We increasingly see online as a relationship marketing tool. There is a trend for microsites to build into frameworks so returning customers are recognised."
Broadband penetration is peaking at around 65 per cent of households, with a large proportion of these in the higher income demographic. Mobile's strength could be its ability to go above this figure and transcend social boundaries. If mobile can make the next step up, leagues like this could relegate online to an offshoot of what we view on our handsets.
Brooks Montgomery Quilter Holloway Total
1 www.thebigbookbank.co.uk 12 13 12 11 48
SpinningFork/landing.aspx 11 11 11 8 41
mexicanwave.com 12 12 9 7 40
4 www.ratemyconfidence.com 11 7 12 8 38
on-pack 8 11 10 7 36
online entry 11 4 10 8 33
7 www.fibreprovider.co.uk 9 5 9 9 32
whatson/wakeup 10 6 8 8 32
9 www.Maoam.com 11 9 6 3 29
10 www.sandiskmotogp.com 9 6 9 4 28
11 www.carnivalinabox.com 10 3 7 8 28
index.html 8 7 8 4 27
13 www.go-cat.co.uk/news.asp 8 5 5 4 22
14 diveintodisaronno.co.uk 9 3 4 4 20
MICROSITES - WHO DID WHAT
Sandisk: 'Win a Ducati' The campaign was supported by in-store POS and online ads.
BT Fon: 'The World's Biggest Mexican Wave' BT's football-related push for its 'available to all' wi-fi invited consumers to upload a film of themselves 'waving'.
Bodyform: 'Rate my Confidence' This on-pack promotion involved a prize draw and a questionnaire analysed via return email.
Magnum: 'VIP Holiday prize draw' An on-pack campaign fronted by Desperate Housewives' Eva Longoria and offering weekends away.
Disaronno: 'Dive into Disaronno' This on-pack competition offered the chance to win a holiday abroad as the brand sought to become a summer drink.
Waterstone's: 'The Big Book Bank' A scheme in which old books were handed in at schools in return for a £10 voucher.
Bovril: The food brand teamed up with Millets to offer consumers the chance to win vouchers for the retailer. Ramblers and hikers were asked to upload pictures of where they would like to drink the product.
Warburtons: 'Fibre Provider' The bread brand created an online "fibre counter" to allow consumers to see how much they were getting each day.
Pot Noodle: 'Rotating Fork' A promotion offering the chance to win a battery- operated rotating fork via on-pack codes.
Kellogg's: 'Wake up and work out Challenge' A web game offering the chance to win a trip to New York.
Go Cat: 'Not for Slow Cats' This is the redemption site for a golden ticket promotion offering the chance to win a cheque for £100.
Persil and Comfort: 'Madagascar' promotion The site is part of an on-pack promotion offering free hand-puppets of characters from the film.
Utterly Butterly: 'Irresistiballs' A prize draw featuring on-pack codes which are used in a lottery-style online game.
Cadbury: 'Carnival in a box' A similar mechanic to Utterly Butterly's, offering the chance to win holidays.
Maom: free prize draw Offering the chance to win skateboard-themed items.
This article was first published on marketingmagazine.co.uk
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