Extending Ad Campaigns Means Extending Your Thinking

Extending Ad Campaigns Means Extending Your Thinking

Feb 17, 2015

This year, the most intriguing Super Bowl ad was from McDonald’s. Certainly, we all wish we had their budget, but regardless of spend, McDonald’s provided a lesson about extending ad campaigns through social engagement, which doesn’t have to extend the dollars.

McDonald’s “Pay With Love”

McDonald’s “Pay With Love” advertisement extended their TV ad into restaurants where customers could indeed pay with love. And as we saw, they then shared that experience with social networks.

But then McDonald’s added its proactive extension to the campaign by announcing on their social channels they would be giving away one of everything advertised during the Super Bowl. All fans had to do to enter was retweet their posts about each of the other sponsor’s commercials.

While the two ideas could have existed separately, the “love” being paid by the brand did connect the ad with the social extension of the giveaway.

Extending an ad campaign doesn’t have to be done solely with hashtags. In 2008, I helped extend Jim Beam’s first television commercial in a decade with a video contest that garnered a Sammy Award the following year.

We took the commercial concept, a humorous parody of the perfect girlfriend, and challenged brand fans to create their own version of the perfect girlfriend or boyfriend. We gave them access to graphics, fonts, and even sound bytes from the original ad and challenged them to film a new iteration.

That effort resulted in a nearly six-month extension of a relatively short television media buy, over 500 content video entries and over 90 million online brand impressions through website visits and social shares.

The Key To Extending Your Advertising

While ad campaigns can live on in social and other avenues of online content for weeks, months and even years, there needs to be an intention behind it in order to be successful. Fans won’t just like your television, print or even radio ads and talk about them — at least not on the vast majority of cases. It’s when you devise a plan to extend the campaign that true virality happens.

As you plot your next ad campaign, ask the following questions to help inform your efforts to extend through social platforms:

  • Can we motivate our fans and followers to add to the campaign through ideas, images or other assets?
  • Is there an idea or platform larger than our brand that people will identify with and interact
  • If people follow our persuasion in this campaign, is there something we can do to reward them?
  • Can we tie purchases to a matching charitable effort?

The more you can develop advertising campaigns that have a natural engagement point beyond the ad, the easier extending the idea to the social web will be. The trick is looking at the campaign as more than just ads. Step back and think about extending the message and storyline to many channels. Sure, you can start with a hashtag idea, but don’t stop there. The only limits are your imagination.

Jason Falls @JasonFalls
Contributor Bio: Jason Falls is SVP, Digital Strategy at Elasticity, an integrated digital marketing agency with offices in St. Louis, Mo., and Louisville, Ky. He is a widely read digital marketing industry pundit, the author of two books on digital marketing and a frequent media commentator and analyst. Find him on Twitter at @JasonFalls. Work with him at http://goelastic.com/.
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