Cisco Invests Millions In Grassroots Ad Campaign For Flip Video

Flip Vidoe-Tony Hawk

Cisco is unveiling Monday a multimillion-dollar grassroots advertising campaign made up solely of user-generated content. The effort is aimed at getting people talking about its Flip Video camera. The national online and television advertising campaign relies on crowdsourcing and video technology to create the buzz.

The campaign, "Do You Flip," relied on 10-, 15- and 30-second clips shot by everyday Joes and celebrities, such as Usher, Tony Hawk and Weezer, on Flip Video cameras. Cisco will turn the clips into TV commercials, as well as online social media, viral and rich banner ads.

Cisco will promote the celebrity's charity of choice in its Flip for Good program in return for participating in the campaign. The company will create a design on the camera as part of the personalized offering. For every camera sold with the charity design, Cisco will donate $10 to the charity.

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Finding clips from ordinary people for the campaign required a little work. For starters, it meant asking Facebook fans to contribute "flipable moments," which Lipe defines as everyday spontaneous events shot on a Flip Video camera. The production company Urgent Content helped to handpick content creators tied into the pop culture scene. Jodi Lipe, director of marketing, Cisco Consumer Business Group (CBG), Cisco System, believes the spontaneous video clips speak to the authenticity of the campaign. "The campaign is built on 100% user-generated content shot on Flip Video cameras," she says. "We know many people love the Flip, so we wanted to tap into consumers who use the product."

The campaign will run between 25 and 45 spots, Lipe says. About a third are ready to go. It's not clear whether Cisco will require additional content.

Media Storm, a media-buying and planning company, and Bird, a design agency, also helped Cisco create the massive campaign scheduled to run for eight weeks.

Television commercials will receive the bulk of the multimillion-dollar campaign budget -- about 68%. The TV commercials will run on ESPN, CW, Nick at Nite, TBS, FX, ABC, MTV and more. Key event programming includes the Thanksgiving Day Parade, "Glee," Latin Grammys, "Monday Night Football," "Family Guy," "25 Days of Christmas," "House," and "The Hills."

About 18% of the budget is allocated toward running the videos online at Facebook, MySpace, Hulu, YouTube and select retail sites that support social media video content. The videos also will become available at Flip.com under the DoYouFlip.com tab.

Another 12% of the budget will go toward outdoor advertising, which launched last week. The spots will run in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Houston and Minneapolis.

"We believe the effort of this campaign will help the brand become one of those devices you can't leave your home without," Lipe says. "If people leave home with their phone, email device and Flip, it's a great day."

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