Social media and TV: a powerful force but a #fail for O2’s latest campaign

Made in Chelsea cast stop for a selfie.

Social media and TV: a powerful force but a #fail for O2’s latest campaign

You’ll be forgiven if you weren’t glued to your TV screens to tune into E4’s Made in Chelsea ‘New York’ special like I was. Bear with me – this isn’t a blog post about my love for trashy reality TV shows; it’s about a campaign that tried and failed to connect social media and television.

There’s no denying that social media and TV can be a powerful marketing combination. And this is what consumers are doing, right? Sitting in front of the TV talking about shows via Twitter, having their say.To back this up: Neilson reported 84% of us use a mobile device while watching TV.

As you can imagine, this news has got advertising agencies – and client budgets – leaping. Finally, advertising can claim a portion of the social media pie! But ad agencies be warned: you can’t just stick a hashtag on your creative and expect it to ‘go viral’ (do people still insist on saying that?)

The campaign that caught my attention was by mobile network operator O2 promoting their ‘O2 Priority’ app, a digital customer loyalty scheme.

We would hazard a guess that O2 wanted to connect with a younger, fashion savvy demographic. Hence the investment in a tie-up between online fashion retailer ASOS and hit E4 show Made in Chelsea. It makes sense. I get it. Seems like a good fit. To summarise the campaign, here’s the blurb from the O2 press release, which in itself is a wonderful display of PR guff.

“Media-first sees O2 take Priority to the public vote for 21 weeks starting on Sunday 10 August

Real-time ad campaign will run during E4’s Made in Chelsea and Glue asking voters to choose offers from ASOS and Cineworld

Most popular offers to be brought to O2’s Priority app, available for all O2 customers”

“O2 today announces it is putting Priority, the UK’s largest digital loyalty program, in the hands of the public by letting Twitter users decide which offers should appear in the O2 Priority app. The innovative campaign will run during the ad breaks of hit E4 shows Made in Chelsea and Made in Chelsea: New York as well as new drama series Glue. Made in Chelsea is one of the UK’s most discussed shows on Twitter, regularly achieving more than 100,000 tweets per episode.”

On paper this sounds good. Social media is about starting a dialogue with your customers, so letting them vote to choose their rewards makes sense. However if we look at the results generated during last night’s shows, I think the marketing department of O2 might be a little disappointed.

We’ve measured the campaign using free tracking app and our in-house social media monitoring tool Pulsar. Both tools show low levels of engagement given the ‘100,000 Tweets’ figure quoted in the press release.

Here’s what we deduced from the campaign over a 24 hour period:

–          812 mentions of the relevant hashtag on Twitter (Topsy)

–          80 Tweets contained the key message ‘O2 Priority Moments App’ (less than 1%!!)

–          ASOS sparked the most consumer online reactions with 70 Tweets (Pulsar)

–          Tweeting peaked at 10pm once the programme had finished (Pulsar)

–          782 votes for #O2Sunnies

–          30 votes for #O2Beanies

To put that in context: the show’s official hashtag #MiCNYC generated 35,000 mentions during the same 24 hour period. Meaning that people were watching and tweeting about the show – the O2 campaign had a vast potential audience but failed to excite them.

What do these results tell us?

1. O2 customers don’t want to win a beanie in summer  #obvs

2. Made in Chelsea fans prefer to talk about the programme than an advert

3. Banal adding of a hashtag to advertising does not spark the ‘viral’ effect Just look at the outputs from last night’s campaign: a load of people tweet #O2Sunnies or #O2beanies. So what? It just looks like SPAM.

Selection of Tweets during the ad breaks of Made in Chelsea

A small selection of the Tweets generated during Made in Chelsea: NYC. Boring.

Over in The States, brands are well-versed in how to maximise social media reach when big television events are happing. Take the Super Bowl for example – some of the biggest winners recently didn’t stump up hundreds of millions of dollars for a TV slot. The clever brands used social media to get their products in front of a huge audience. Newcastle Brown Ale did this brilliantly – checkout their cheeky little campaign….

And it’s these brands whose campaigns are rooted in social media that reap the biggest rewards. Trying to shoehorn a social media campaign into existing advertising creative or sponsorship deals is destined to fail. Social media and TV work well but only when it’s properly thought out and where the social interaction makes senses and encourages the viewer to engage with it.

I look forward to seeing how O2’s campaign fares over the next 20 weeks.

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