What interests me about this campaign is the immersive quality of its many elements. Members could text "Turkey" to a short code to get recipes and tips for Thanksgiving. The Butterballs they could choose for their virtual dinner actually came in the varieties available in retail stores, which not only gave brand exposure but deeper details about the product. "The game was coded in such a way that people realized the Butterball turkey was a more sumptuous meal and they got more points for it being juicier and tastier," says Keith Katz, vice president of marketing. The virtual store in which users shopped sported the Butterball logo. And of course there were banners running both inside and around the games.
The results of surrounding Cellufun Thanksgiving planners with the Butterball brand were strong. Players purchased 325,000 Butterball turkeys in the Cellumall, and 83% of the game players used that brand of turkey in their meals. There were nearly 4 million logo impressions just in the game which itself generated 40 million page views. Banners running throughout the site averaged a 1.4% CTR. Does selling 325,000 birds in virtual space translate at all into actual store sales? I don't know, but it doesn't seem like a metric any brand manager should walk away from too quickly.
Of course, one person's "surround session" is another person's idea of bothersome stalking. Perhaps 40 million banner impressions got a bit tiresome for many viewers, but the sponsored game itself offered enough interesting entertainment to seem like a fair exchange of value. The trick comes in mixing up the creative and using that lone share of voice to say something to consumers of interest throughout the experience. Butterball and Cellufun at least tried to come at the user from different angles rather than batter their brains with the same message.I don't know if we ever will get to that level of sophistication in mobile advertising. Lord knows, we haven't gotten there in much of Web advertising. I love the fact that Microsoft Mobile was underwriting so many early mobile sites from familiar content brands a couple of years ago, but all they did was slap their logo on every page of the site. The mobile platform is such a concentrated experience that focuses attention on such a small space, it seems to me the opportunities for richer sponsorship are waiting for us beyond the banner. Go ahead and pay for our mobile content experience. Rent a slice of our consciousness. But don't waste the space with a static logo. We'll give you our attention, but tell us a story.