Monday, February 25, 2008

Dove Does It Again!

Did you catch the Dove body wash commercial on the Oscar last night? The finalists were announced by actress Amy Brenneman, viewers could text their votes, and the winner was played late in the broadcast.

Assuming there was interest in the contest, there are two winners here. The Dove brand, surely, because it continues its “Real Beauty” theme. Also the Oscar telecast; this may have helped Jon Stewart draw younger, hipper viewers to the program.View the winning video here

But what also struck me is that I hadn’t heard of the contest until the broadcast last night, and I think I keep an eye on this stuff. So I went on a journey to see how it was promoted. Here’s what I found:
•The usual press release, which gives the basics but isn’t going to be read by Dove customers
•A dedicated website; again this is necessary but it’s not going to draw viewers on its own
•Grey’s Anatomy actress Sara Ramirez was selected to promote the contest, and she did so actively. Thanks to ClickZ for a good summary of the promotion. And now I remember; I did see the initial video, so it was clearly out there.
•The contest was heavily promoted on AOL. Sara Ramirez appeared on Good Morning America and the video was posted on AOL and YouTube.
•The final voting was heavily promoted in the run-up to the Oscars.

The Campaign for Real Beauty has its own website and I didn’t find mention of the contest there. However, it’s the focus of the Dove homepage today with the $2.00 coupon offer that’s also on the contest site, so the follow-up is there also.

The point is simply this: success with this kind of marketing program doesn’t come automatically—or cheaply. There is, in fact, a carefully-planned IMC program behind it. Even though every opportunity is taken to make it viral (“send the video to your friends”), heavy promotion is necessary and I don’t see that changing. In fact, it may get more demanding as more companies solicit UGC with contests and anything else they can think of.

It reminds me of a comment I quoted in an eBrandMarketing post last week. Talking about adding social media to branding efforts the CEO of a Havas Media unit says, “To do it right costs money. . .It’s just allocated in different ways.”

So true!
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