Petro-Canada raises a (virtual) glass to successful social networking

Vancouver 2010 Olympics glassware promo sees a viral spike amid 18-34 female users, who passed along the donated Facebook gift to friends.

More than 100,000 Facebook users gave their friends a virtual Vancouver 2010 Olympics water glass last week in a social marketing campaign promoting Petro-Canada’s support of the Games.

While the gifts were free for FB users, Petro-Canada donated 50 cents for every glass passed along to support Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes heading to the 2010 Games, for a total of $50,000.

‘Our [gift giving] number spiked up around 70,000 the first day,’
Olympic program senior adviser Allyson Zarowny tells MiC, noting that most of the Facebook givers were women aged 18 to 34.

‘Our target demographic is drivers within that age group, and those people are on Facebook,’ says Zarowny, describing why Petro-Canada chose the viral method – a move that makes it the first Canadian company to offer free Facebook miniature gifts (which otherwise cost about $1 each). About half of the proceeds from every $3.99 glass goes to support Canadian athletes.

Between Jan. 12 and 16, the online campaign, for which Toronto-based Media Dimensions handled media buys, surpassed its goal, as the numbers rose to 131,095. While the donation link is now gone, the option to give a glass continues until Feb. 8.

The strategy was to create buzz for the actual glassware in Petro-Canada’s retail stores across Canada, which had a soft launch on Dec. 1. Petro-Canada is now promoting the line through online and television ads.

Petro-Canada has been an Olympics supporter for 20 years.