Southern Comfort's sponsorship of Playboy's unCovered Web series was just the beginning. The 135-year-old brand has embarked on a digitally led media plan that includes sponsorship of magazine Web sites and programs, video sites and a revamped Facebook presence.
"Everything we're doing starts with the digital property at the center of the program," Lena DerOhannessian, U.S. Brand Marketing Director, Southern Comfort, tells Marketing Daily. "Whether it's a traditional media site or an entirely Web-based site, the entire program is developed around a digital platform, and then if there's a promotional opportunity to take it outside other digital realms, we're negotiating that as added value."
As an example, Southern Comfort will sponsor a list of the "top 50 all-time" cover songs presented by Spin magazine through its Web site, and any ads running in the magazine will promote that program as added value, DerOhannessian says. In addition, Spin will be offering 10 free downloads of those cover songs, with the "tab covered by Southern Comfort," she says.
The hub of Southern Comfort's digital strategy will be a new Facebook Fan Page, which will alert fans to new videos and online programs and will also offer news, information, recipes and a text-messaging effort, DerOhannessian says.
"Our Facebook page complements SouthernComfort.com in that we are able to more actively communicate and interact with fans of Southern Comfort," she says. "We're using this as a community center for anybody who chooses to be a fan of the brand, to give them real-time information in that typical Facebook way, and also a place to house the unique or different unique internet assets."
The company will also run video spots during Web replays of NBC programming such as "30 Rock," "The Office," "Conan O'Brien," "Jimmy Fallon" and "SNL" on NBC's online TV player, as well as full player takeovers on top-rated primetime shows for CBS, Fox and F/X online.
Southern Comfort has also arranged a weekend takeover of the "What You're Doing Tonight" section of NBC Local sites in cities where an underCOVER event is playing. Southern Comfort will also run on Hulu's "Ad Selector," through which viewers can choose which Southern Comfort message -- i.e., one of the music programs or a responsibility message -- they want to watch.
Elsewhere, Southern Comfort is creating an original series on Break.com, in which characters show how they prepare, host and entertain various themed house parties. The brand is also sponsoring Webcasts on sites such as My Damn Channel, and Comedy Central.
The online strategy will either use age verification software or adhere to standard industry practice that 70% of the audience is of legal drinking age, DerOhannessian says. Ultimately, she hopes to use the immediacy of the Internet to help the brand learn more about its consumer target.
"We hope to learn significantly more about who our consumer is and what it is as a brand that we can provide to them that would make the communication more satisfying to them and the experience more memorable," DerOhannessian says.