Our Top 3 Favorite Surprise and Delight Campaigns

Surprise and Delight with Social Media

In the age of social media, the consumer really is king. Social media has opened up brands to a boat load of scrutiny and praise alike. So what can we do to make consumers love our brands? We can make them overwhelmingly happy.

surprise and delight marketing campaigns

Photo Via: Matchistic

One of the greatest things you can do for your social media strategy is to take a step back and look at your constituents. What do they need? What do they like? Surprise and Delight Campaigns give you the opportunity to think outside of the box and make people happy in ways that don’t have to be brand focused.

We have a lot of campaigns that we love, but here are our favorite Surprise and Delight Campaigns.

#3. Coca-Cola: Coke makes everyone happy right? Well they wanted to take that happiness to a new level by surprising unsuspecting people with ice cold coca-cola. The Happiness Project has quenched the thirst of people all over the world. Here is one of their delightful trips to Rio de Janeiro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVap-ZxSDeE

#2. WestJet: Last Christmas, airline WestJest decided to take their social reach up a notch by planning the best Christmas campaign we have every seen. If you haven’t seen this video yet, take a moment to watch it. Even though we aren’t in the holiday season it will warm your heart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk


#1. And of course our #1 favorite campaign is our client, Better Than Bouillon! We love working with our clients to make their consumers happy. This past Valentine’s Day we were able to brighten the day of one couple giving them the ultimate Valentine’s Date Night in, complete with a risotto kit, candles, chocolates and champagne glasses. Come to find out it was their 29th anniversary.

Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 3.31.54 PM

Word of mouth marketing is an incredibly powerful tool. Surprise and Delight campaigns allow your brand to capitalize on word of mouth. You’re focusing on very few people at a time but often these efforts can make more of an impact than even a larger, more traditional social media marketing campaign. By creating  personal connection and making someone feel special, they will invariably promote your brand without you ever having to ask again.

Make It Worth Watching

It always amazes me when I hear people talk about leveraging the power of YouTube to “go viral.” But a lot of brands don’t want to step up and create content that will actually work on YouTube. Instead of the short, funny video with a subtle underlying ad message, so many companies end up creating an 8.5 minute history of their brand. (And they wonder why it only gets 12 views).

If you’re a brand and you want to make YouTube work for you, you have to be prepared to create content that works on the platform. The shorter the better. The more shareable the better. And that ad message of yours, you’re going to have to find a way to work it in without smearing it across the screen in the most boring way ever.

A local law firm was bold enough to do it the right way. Their recent series of YouTube videos are, short, to the point and most importantly, they’re shareable.

The top 3 social media campaigns that inspire me

Top 3 Inspirational Social Media Campaigns

Peugeot Pinterest Puzzle Social Media CampaignSocial media is no longer the shiny new toy. By now, most companies have integrated some sort of social media into their traditional marketing plan.  As a result, there is a saturation of campaigns, some good, some not so good. But, through the thick of it all I still find those campaigns that really stand out and inspire me to find creative and unique ways to integrate social media into our larger marketing plans. Social media isn’t about being a stand-alone method, it is about how effectively you can integrate them into other methods. Here are my top 3 favorite integrated social media campaigns.

#3 Peugeot Pinterest Puzzle

I love it when I see a campaign that makes me want to drop everything and participate. This is exactly what happened when I saw the Peugeot puzzle contest on Pinterest. In an attempt to gain more engagement with their fans, Peugeot decided to run a fun, engaging competition on Pinterest. They created boards with five images, four of which said “missing” and one with a picture of a part of a car. Users were then asked to scour Peugeot’s website and Facebook page to find the other four missing images, to complete the puzzle. The first people to complete the puzzle board and share it with Peugeot won discounts, cash and prizes. Not only did this campaign strengthen their social media presence, it also educated consumers about their products. During this campaign, Peugeot saw a 50,000 increase in likes, follows, and re-pins on Pinterest. In addition, this campaign saw national media coverage, further promoting the Peugeot brand. When I am brainstorming a Pinterest contest-this is my go to campaign for inspiration.Ben and Jerry's Fair Tweets Campaign

#2 Ben and Jerry’s Fairtweets

This is my favorite twitter awareness campaign that I have seen. Ben and Jerry’s decided to think outside of the box when they launched their Fairtweets campaign. In doing research, they realized that twitter users rarely utilized all 140 characters that are given to them. So, in an effort to raise awareness about World Fair Trade Day they created an application that would “recycle” the left over characters in tweets. Users downloaded a twitter-integrated Fairtweets application that allowed them to tweet normally. Their leftover characters were then turned into a custom message about Fair Trade Day with the hashtag #fairtweets and a link to a microsite with more information. Ben and Jerry’s was able to use twitter to push people to their website where they were showcasing World Fair Trade Day on a larger level. I love this campaign because it takes very little effort on the part of the user, but effectively pushes the message. The users don’t need to remember to mention World Fair Trade Day, they simply tweet and the message is created for them.

#1 Human Rights Campaign – Red for Equality

It is pretty hard to ignore a campaign that completely infiltrates your Facebook timeline. Last week, the Human Rights Campaign launched the most effective campaign I have seen to date. Their Human Rights Campaign Facebook Campaignmessaging was concise: change your profile picture to their logo in red. Within hours, their original photo was seen by 9 million people, and shared 77,000 times. The thing that I love the most about this campaign is that they kept it simple. They didn’t try and use any magic tricks; they purely asked users to change their profile picture. It always amazes me to see campaigns that stay true to what
social media really is: word of mouth marketing. For those who didn’t know what the red logos were for, they took the next steps to research what they were seeing on Facebook, which ultimately lead them to the HRC website. This campaign taught me that sometimes its good to stick to what you know works.

With all of the social media campaigns out there it can be a little overwhelming. I have found that creativity is contagious and I am always looking for that brand that really goes the extra mile to help keep me on my toes.



March Madness: What does it mean for marketers?

marchmadnessThe month of March brings many exciting things: warmer weather, St Patrick’s day, the first day of spring, and of course March Madness. For many of us, March Madness is the time of year when our officemates bet against each other, and all of our sitcoms are talking about brackets. But to marketers, March Madness means opportunity.

Over the last 75 years, the NCAA has turned a simple college basketball tournament into a household name. Today, March Madness is one of the most sought after sports broadcasts for marketers, pulling ahead of the NBA, and the MLB. Huge companies like Dove and Capital One are now harnessing March Madness themed campaigns to promote their own products. This incredible accomplishment has many people asking how did they do it?

Here are a few of the marketing 101 tactics that the NCAA has used to create success.

  1. Brand Yourself: The NCAA has effectively made non-fans care about basketball. In an
    attempt to reach a larger audience, they created a strong brand identity for the tournament. Using catchy alliterations like “March Madness” “Sweet Sixteen”, “Elite Eight”, and the “Final Four” brings life to the tournament. The success of the NCAA is obvious to big brands like this year’s leading sponsor, Capital One. They have launched a March Madness campaign using TV spots, online spots, print, digital and social media. The ads will feature Alec Baldwin and former NBA player Charles Barkley promoting the Capital One Venture card within a framework of the March Madness tournament. Capital One is using the hashtag #rallycry to get fans on Twitter talking about their favorite teams. capitalonemarchmadness
  2. Get Digital: It is no surprise that more and more consumers are engaging online. Last year, The NCAA saw 2.2 million unique visits to their website during the tournament. In addition, March Madness generated nearly 3 million tweets, and currently has a Facebook following of 410K. By incorporating digital media into their traditional marketing plan, the NCAA was able to generate a huge amount of online buzz. This online presence translated into a large amount of revenue. Last year alone, March Madness brought in $60 Million dollars in online advertising for CBS.com.
  3. Generate Passion: Although not everyone can incorporate a game into their marketing strategy, it is clear that adding a competition engages consumers on a whole new level. March Madness brackets attract bothdovemarchmadness hard-core basketball followers,and non-fans looking to add a little chance into their lives. This year, Dove launched their Dove Men+Care March Matchups. The campaign will mimic a March Madness Bracket, matching up things like Cable TV VS Buffalo Wild Wings. Each contender is a prize packet, with the final prize being a trip to the real March Madness Final Four. The Dove campaign combines and element of surprise and chance to have their consumers consistently engaged for an extended period of time.

We all know there is never a magic formula to a lucrative marketing campaign, however the NCAA is using a successful strategy that can be applied to any industry.

In keeping with the times we have decided to create our own Cyphers Agency bracket facing off different elements of the advertising industry. Stay tuned for updates!



The Future of Social Media: What’s Next?

The Future of Social Media

The Future of Social MediaRecently, I had the pleasure of attending the 3rd Annual Digital Night, hosted by the American Advertising Federation of Baltimore. As a Digital Marketing Manager, it was obviously important that I was there to be part of the discussion of where digital marketing was headed in 2011.

Things in the digital marketing sphere have changed drastically over the past year. In 2010, organizations were struggling with the placement of social. Where would it live? Who would control it? Do you do it in-house? Hire a boutique agency or a large one? But over the past year, people have moved past the beginning stages of social and now are asking, “What now?”

This year will bring more specific questions than “how to.” As this form of advertising becomes more and more legitimate, there is going to be a stricter level of accountability on brands, companies, and agencies alike.

ROI & Metrics

Have we beat this one over your head enough? Metrics will become more and more important, and not just the number of fans and followers or the amount of site traffic garnered to your site. Think bigger picture – maybe how having a social media community in place can save you some dollars on a PR budget, or how your cost per lead has decreased since adopting word of mouth marketing tactics.


Companies will start to focus on making their branding extend across multiple channels. With that taking place, we must focus on providing a consistent message or brand across those channels. Sure, the tone might be different from one platform to the next, but at the end of the day, each must feed back into the identity of the brand.

Experiences and Interactivity

Static ads or messages won’t cut it anymore. We have to involve the consumers in our ad messages. We are already attempting this on social networks by making our audiences part of the conversation, but 2011 will require marketers to step up their game. We’ve got to make the actual ad an experience. Think Tippex.

E-Commerce on Social

Facebook has become the hub for consumers everywhere. We all know that their ad network is great, and that if you break away from the norm, it can be a place for brands to live and interact with their consumers. But lately, we’ve seen actual purchases on Facebook. Marketers are beginning to understand that people are comfortable on the Facebook platform, and will bring online merchandise to them in that sphere.

What do you think? Are these the future of online? Where do you think digital marketing is going in 2011?

Have a WOMderful Thanksgiving!

The Cyphers Agency team is ready to get down on some turkey, how about you? Before we all head off for the long weekend, we thought we’d share awesome finds of the WOM persuasion with you. It’s always a good idea to have some light reading material on hand over the holidays so your social media know-how doesn’t get rusty, or just so you can have an excuse to not talk with Aunt Joan about her newest ailment.

“The Two Sides of Marketing” – We are unashamed followers of the Chris Brogan cult, and for good reason. Brogan has a knack for reminding us marketing folks how psychological our job really is without getting bogged down in research. His anecdote drives home the point about bridging the gap between what people want and need – a worthy read!

Did you know that Facebook now accounts for 25% of all U.S. pageviews? Because it does. Mashable conjectures about what Zuck and company will do to keep up this insane pace. With new Messages and Groups still in their infancy, 2011 could be an interesting year for Facebook!
The headline on this Ad Age article says “From Web Video Phenomenon To In-Demand Pitchman In One Year”. You don’t have to look far to find awesome stories of regular folks using Web 2.0 to showcase their incredible talents. This guy was a bike mechanic and now he’s doing sponsorships and endorsements in his YouTube videos. At the risk of sounding dorky, its stories like these that make me love the Internet.

We’d love to hear what you’re reading over the break! Leave a comment about your favorite blog post of the week or your thoughts on these. Happy Thanksgiving!

Social Good for a Social Media Generation

These days, it seems like everyone is “going digital” and leveraging social media to communicate their message. But, as we’ve mentioned before, it goes way beyond just Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. We’ve noticed that Web 2.0 is emerging as a way for newer generations to change the world without even leaving home. People are already making friends and doing things online based on their interests – its a natural next step to use social networks to connect to causes you care about.

Being A Part of the Online Experience.

Non-profits and corporations alike are embracing the web to get their message to millions of people. These groups can have enormous success by taking their causes online. While non-profits traditionally promote one fundraising event at a time, social media allows charitable organizations to become part of the online experience, enabling more frequent interactions with their audience. And if organizations make it is easy to get involved, people are more than willing to contribute.

It could be on a Facebook page where you can “like” an initiative you’re passionate about. In the case of Pedigree’s “Become a Fan, Help A Dog” campaign, fans can actually make a difference with just one click. Or you could use Twitter hashtags like #AmericaWants to share information with like-minded people and get your cause noticed. You can donate online, and not always just with your money – you can find volunteer opportunities through search engines, message boards and online communities like Jumo. It’s never been easier for people to support a cause.

So what?

Companies are seeing big results from engaging in social good. For example, Pepsi took their Super Bowl advertising budget and turned it into a social good phenomenon. Their Pepsi Refresh program has engaged thousands of regular people by giving them the opportunity to win grants for their grassroots projects. Even more so, Pepsi set aside an additional $1.2 million for projects dedicated to helping the Gulf after oil spill crisis occurred. Since January, more people have voted for Pepsi Refresh causes than voted in the last presidential election. Amazing, huh? And the best part? Pepsi hasn’t suffered from taking their Super Bowl ad money and setting it aside for good – they’ve received a tremendous amount of publicity for encouraging others.

What We’re Doing.

Here at The Cyphers Agency, we’re engaging in some social good of our own by support a local Annapolis grassroots effort, Carol for a Cause. The mission of this community project is simply promoting goodwill, and so we leverage social media and word of mouth tools to engage with people and spread our client’s message. Right now, we’re building some meaningful relationships with bloggers who care about the same things we care about and become ambassadors on our behalf. We’re also running an awesome contest where Carol for a Cause fans can show what “doing good” means to them. The winner will get money towards their favorite charity.

We’re happy to be taking part in social good. We’ve seen some incredible things happen through the web, and we’re glad that we can help businesses use such a powerful and multifaceted tool to make a difference. Have you seen anything like this online? We’d love it if you shared it with us by leaving a comment below.

Going Digital? Don’t Forget Strategy

I always do my grocery shopping at the Safeway just around the corner from my house. It’s location can’t be beat, but if we’re being honest, most of the time their prices can. I regularly use my Safeway discount card, but a few days ago I googled “Safeway discounts”, hoping for a little extra money in my pocket after my shopping trip. Right away I struck gold! At Safeway.com, you can electronically load coupons onto your Safeway card. No printing, no clipping, just click “clip” and you’re racking up the discounts! Alright, I only ended saving about $6, but it was enough to make brag about my discovery to everyone I met.

While coupons may not seemingly relate to social media or WOM, the truth of the matter is that I couldn’t stop myself from telling my friends and colleagues about it. It got me thinking of how something as old-fashioned as a coupon could go digital, draw me in, and create buzz.

“Going Online”

Recently, every company is interested in “going online” to reach their customers and generate more business. It allows for an additional arena to interact with consumers. What we often see is that this foray into the World Wide Web takes shape as a Facebook page or a Twitter account. While those tools can be effective, they might not be the perfect tactic for everyone.

Social media may not be the answer to every question, but there are a multitude of untapped opportunities to reach your customers that don’t involve joining a social network. It may be offering coupons online, like Safeway did. It might involve the creation of an online store to sell your products. It might even be a contest.

Take it to the next level.

Creating unique and different online experiences for your consumers encourages interaction with your product, brand, and messaging. It may even encourage a new audience, who may not have interacted with you in the traditional sense, to experience your brand. And if your digital experience is good enough, it’ll keep ‘em coming back for more. It may even get them hyped enough to tell their friends, just like I did. What company doesn’t dig consumer loyalty and buzz?

Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t saying to abandon traditional offerings. They are still meaningful and worthwhile. However, it is dangerous not to think of ways to encourage online interaction. If you aren’t doing it, know that your competition is. Sometimes revitalizing your brand is as simple – yet revolutionary – as adapting a time-tested marketing technique and turning it into something fresh online.

What ways are you going digital? Are you taking the opportunity to revolutionize your brand by engaging consumers online?

Cut the Crap – No More Lofty Social Media Terms

So we’ve been just as guilty as the next for using those lofty and abstract social media terms that drive everyone mad: transparency, engagement, content generation, conversation monitoring, blah blah blah. I think it is time we all shut up.

I don’t mean that we stop talking about social media or social influence marketing. I just think we need to re-evaluate the way we speak about it. We (as marketing professionals) need to move from the general to the specific and actionable. We need to move from “motivational speaker” to “business coach.”

Step back for a moment.

While we’ve got more and more people jumping at social media, we’ve also got some seriously bad lingo that follows. Let’s look away from jargon and look to stimulating specific, strategic social media dialogue. Saying that each client is different doesn’t cut it anymore. Let’s take these lofty ideas and break them down.

There are countless more ways to impact your audience: Need a flashmob? Don’t know how to pitch bloggers? Want to see how geo-location features can help your business? Need some social media resources? We try to give you resources to see how social media really works, and if you can’t do it yourself, well, that is what we are here for.

Setting Proper Expectations & Follow Your Plan

As an agency, its important to take a look at what is on our plate and strategize. Who is the client? What do they need? Are we working with a Business to Business (B2B) client? We can use social media tactics to locate key influencers in that company. Working with a Business to Consumer (B2C) client? We can locate their audience online by doing an in depth online audience scan and find their consumers, whether it be on blogs, forums, or Facebook, and leverage that community.

So can we please stop talking about lofty, abstract social media terms? Let’s cut to the chase and get working.

Stop giving “social media” all the credit

I was just reading an article about how Starbucks used social media to drive 1 million people to its stores on one day. But these stories are misleading, because it’s not really social media that got all those people through the doors of Starbucks. Those people came to get something that was valuable to them (in this case a free pastry). And as for how they heard about it? Yes, an important TOOL involved was social media, but the STRATEGY was what got them there. The strategy was based on the concepts of word of mouth marketing.

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) operates on certain concepts that underlie the new ways that consumers think about and interact with brands. WOMM recognizes that the consumer has more power because they have more of a voice. So don’t think I’m discounting the importance of social media, because social media is the entire reason that consumers have more power. But I want to emphasize that you can’t “do” social media. And if all you do is interact on social media because you heard that Starbucks just made a gazillion dollars, you won’t get anything out of it.

To be successful with social media, you need to be successful in word of mouth marketing. You need to give people someone to talk about, or you need to find what people are talking about and get your brand in the discussion. There are tons of other ways to take advantage of word of mouth marketing concepts, but they all relate back to this:

– The consumer is tired of you interrupting them and yelling at them.

– The consumer has so much information thrown at them daily that they are quick to stop paying attention. You know what they will always pay attention to? Their friends and people that they respect.

– If you want their attention you better be telling them something a lot more valuable than “hey look it’s us! buy our product!”

– The consumer will call you out if you have a bad product, and they might have 100, 1,000, or 100,000 people listening.

Respect word of mouth. Start with these concepts and you are bound to get people talking about your brand.