Brands Must Push Real-Time Ads To Stay Relevant

KOHLER, Wisc. -- Marketers that want to take advantage of real-time opportunities need to have a comprehensive plan in place to quickly “amplify” a message, according to Sears Holdings executive Adriana Llames Kogelis.

She speaks from recent experience: Kmart seeded two provocative spots this spring on social media that became viral hits. The “Ship My Pants” ad featured an array of people saying that phrase fast as Kmart sought to promote its free shipping for online orders. There have been close to 19 million YouTube views.

Kmart followed that up with “Big Gas Savings,” a spot again where people said the statement fast, where the retailer was promoting an opportunity to get discounts in gas with purchases. The YouTube views are less, but still an impressive 5.4 million.

In a keynote address Thursday at the MediaPost Brand Marketers Summit, Kogelis offered a prime example of how a marketer had a war room ready to capitalize on social media: Oreo during the Super Bowl. Members of five agencies and marketing leadership was at the ready.

Oreo notably tweeted out a photo of one of its cookies with a “You Can Still Dunk In The Dark” message during the famous blackout during the game.

Oreo had a Super Bowl spot in the game, so that may have been the reason it was ready. Kogelis indicated its social media big-game efforts cost $4 million. Five agencies and top marketing leadership were ready to react to Super Bowl-related activity.

“You have to have people ready to go during these big events,” she added. “If you don’t have an entire staff and leadership ready to make decisions in the middle of these events, you can’t capitalize on the real-time activity.”

Oreo garnered 8,000 new Twitter followers and 34,000 Instagram followers with “Dunk In The Dark,” Kogelis said.

But social-media reaction unfortunately doesn’t always come in positive. Reaction swiftly is often necessitated by customer anger (something Kmart had to be ready for with its two spots).

Kogelis cited a Dell example, where complaints started moving online about a product’s pricing. After picking it up, Dell analyzed the consumer sentiment and within 24 hours altered the price, responded on a blog to the frustration and communicated to coustomers about the change.

“Pretty impressive,” said Kogelis.

A staff was ready once Kmart launched its spots online, since the company was “putting the brand at stake.”

Kmart’s staff watched the sentiment for the first 24 hours as the marketer looked to determine whether to turn the ad into a notable digital ad effort. Plans were in place to go all the way up to Sears Holdings chief Eddie Lampert to make a decision on whether to pull the spot if need be.

The decision was made to go ahead. Certainly, NBC’s “Today” picking it up validated the decision that backlash in the living room wouldn’t be too troublesome. (Kmart did not intend to put the spot on TV for a long time and presumably, would have dropped plans there, too, if customer sentiment was exceedingly negative.)

Kogelis said the effort generated $3.8 million in media value.

“Big Gas Savings” followed the “Ship My Pants” blueprint. “Just because you can do this once does not mean you can do this twice … just because you’re using sophomoric humor, the customers don’t always want to respond to that over and over and over,” Kogelis said.

If big events such as the Super Bowl offer real-time opportunities, how does a company conduct social analytics day to day to make decisions on media mix, creative and, maybe more importantly, business issues in a crisis.

At Sears, Kogelis says about three times a week an incident happens generating social discussion and necessitating a reaction. Plans in place allow for analysis to determine if it is a tier one, two or three incident and then how to move ahead.

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1 comment about "Brands Must Push Real-Time Ads To Stay Relevant".
  1. John Mracek from NetSeer , June 20, 2013 at 6:37 p.m.
    There is no reason this has to be limited to social vehicles. With precision, contextual targeting in real-time on the exchanges, a marketer can get the message out in a relevant context immediately to complement the social marketing.