MiC Picks: Three things with Sheri Metcalfe

strategy's Media Director of the Year shares her thoughts on cliff dives, chalk bots and bewildered burger lovers.

To identify the work Canada’s media gurus think best exemplifies smart new media thinking, MiC regularly invites guest curators to share their thoughts on the Really Important Things That Are Happening in the mediaverse. Today, Sheri Metcalfe, VP and co-managing director of Jungle Media (and strategy‘s Media Director of the Year) shares her thoughts on the most brilliant media executions from 2010.

All three of my picks reflect different marketing tactics – a causal push, a promotion and a stunt. All three examples are brilliant, each in its own way, yet they also have something in common in the way they maximize consumer engagement and use digital and social media to amplify the effects. What should be a bit of a wake-up call to us media types is that all three were created by people outside of the media agency field and succeeded by spending almost zero media dollars with traditional media owners. And all three deliver on the key elements of a successful media campaign – they are brilliant ideas, flawlessly executed and they delivered amazing results!

On The Up and Up: Autotrader.ca – Cliff Your Ride
Essentially this is a promotion – a contest – whereby entrants could win $30,000 towards the purchase of a new ride on Autotrader.ca. What makes it great is that it’s done in a way that is fresh and relevant for the younger target, which I imagine has been tough a demographic for Autotrader to crack. People were encouraged to enter the contest with a video showing why they should be selected to send their cars on a Thelma and Louise exit – or cliff their ride – and win the money. With 800 video entries and 40,000 votes, expectations were exceeded by 100% and it was all done in an amazing social way, playing off the insight that this target loves to be featured in the digital space for all to see. This case recently was celebrated and awarded a Gold MIA for Social Media for media agency PhD’s and ad agency John St.’s hard work. Well done!

Wish I’d Done That: Burger King – Whopper Freakout
This is one of the best examples of showcasing customers’ love for the brand in a manner that is raw and real! Burger King had amazing courage to release the viral videos online as they were recorded – not edited and prettied up for corporate appeasement – in order to show the desperation of their hungry customers when faced with the news that Burger King was no longer making the Whopper. It is a great evolution of concepts like Whopper Sacrifice and Flame Cologne from BK. This stunt went viral almost immediately and got picked up by local and national media.
This is another example of using fanatical brand-lovers to showcase and celebrate your product and getting the job done without a huge investment in either production or traditional media support! Good job BK and Akqa.

Media Game Changer – NIKE Livestrong ChalkBot, Tour de France
In support of the fight against cancer, consumers were asked to tweet messages to a robotic device that created chalk markings on pavement, called a Chalkbot. The messages were sprayed onto roads along the route of the famous cycling race, the Tour de France. Sponsored by NIKE, the Chalkbot received and inscribed 36,000 tweets along the way, allowing people who were valiantly fighting cancer or those affected in some way to share their feelings with the audience of millions who followed the race.
Capitalizing on cyclist Lance Armstrong’s inspiring fight and using the knowledge that spectators of the Tour de France would write chalk messages on the route to their loved ones watching at home was a brilliant insight maximized by using social/digital and robotics – a great way of taking an existing behaviour and turning it into an authentic and inspiring media vehicle. It was relevant and genuine and celebrated as a concept – Wieden + Kennedy won big at Cannes for this great causal concept!