Does Super-viralocity Equal Sales Potential in the UK?

Social MediaAs we come to the end of our blogging and coursework for Global Communications in a Digital World, it seems fitting to end where we began.

In our first blog post, we each named one US brand that uses social media well, and one that doesn’t (either because they are doing it wrong, or doing nothing). 

Today, if I had to choose one global brand that uses social media well, I’d reference my blog post on Doritos Sweet Chili in Brazil.  Using augmented reality (AR), Doritos created product packaging that creates the illusion that a virtual, computer-generated object actually exists in consumers’ worlds.  As of May 2009, 23,000 of these objects have been released on www.doritos.com.br/.

And if I had to choose one global brand that has missed the mark, I’d reference a recent campaign from London-based agency Nudge. In 2009 Nudge created a Facebook app with self-proclaimed “super-viralocity” for the launch of Britvic’s beverage “Tango with Added Tango.” 

Tango Head Masher 3000The “Tango Head Masher 3000” app accesses Facebook users’ profile information, photos, friends’ information, and other content to enable consumers to create photo mashups using their own photos.  Consumers can replace friends’ images or faces in a photo with ridiculous images offered by the Tango Head Masher.

These photo mashups can be posted to the Tango Head Masher gallery on the campaign’s Facebook page.

Given the popularity of Facebook in the UK, this was a logical platform from which to launch Tango’s product.  According to market research firm comScore,  80 percent of the UK’s online population visited a social networking site in May 2009, a nine percent growth across the board in a year.  Of teens and early twenty-somethings, Tango’s target demographic, 86 percent of Internet users visted a social networking website.

The Facebook app is part of a full-scale consumer marketing campaign, including a Britvic-sponsored voice-activated freephone helpline that jokingly “offers advice on any side effects consumers might be suffering from after consuming Tango.”   As a reward for calling, consumers can enter a prize drawing for “some great Tango swag including a Sony PlayStation, some Sennheiser headphones, a Cannondale Bad Boy 2009 hybrid bike and a Sony iPod docking hifi system.”

Currently the Head Masher app has 10,745 monthly active users, but has garnered only 2 out of 5 stars based on consumer ratings.  Further, all of the posts on the campaign’s Facebook wall have been posted by members of Nudge’s staff.

Nudge claims that The “Tango with Added Tango” social media campaign is in still its soft launch phases, meaning they will have the opportunity to optimize the app later based first users’ initial impressions.

But Nudge needs to do more than just optimize the app.  They need to infuse their social media campaign with a key element of Doritos’ strategy – sales potential.

Consumers can create an infinite number of mashups using the Tango Head Masher 3000, but where’s the incentive to actually purchase Britvic’s product? 

Consumers could not activate the social media element of Doritos’ campaign without purchasing a bag of chips; consumers don’t need to purchase a can of Tango with Added Tango to use the Tango Head Masher 3000 Facebook app.  This could be problematic for a brand campaign whose primary mission is to sell more product and keep consumers coming back for more.

As we head into our week in London and are asked to develop digital communications strategies that both engage consumers and keep them coming back for more, let’s take a look at where we began.  Let’s ask ourselves the most basic of questions – what has worked for brands in the past and what hasn’t?

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