Don't you take me to 'Funky Town'

Nestle in Australia have launched a promotion called Take Time Back with the Kit Kat Desk Jockey - who is working like a machine so you don't have to.

The concept is based on the idea of having a virtual assistant (I suppose to save you time - a tenuous connection to the long running position of 'Have a break, have a Kit Kat').

Visitors to the site request the assistant to perform tasks on their behalf. It's obviously not serious. The tasks include celebrating something Mexican style to which the assistant attacks a Pinata (in Kit Kat colours) with a rubber chicken - while wearing a sombrero - in Kit Kat colours.

The 'show' is live cast for four hours a day, with a highlight reel and interstitial promotion run the rest of the day. Viewer requests are shown in a stream below the video window. The requests are a little haphazard such as 'Could you get me a Wii' or 'Could I have a family pass to Taronga Zoo'. There is also a twitter feed and Facebook fan page and the concept is supported with a national television campaign.

Aside from all of the fun, there is a sales activation promotion where people who buy Kit Kats earn rewards which increase in value depending on the number of chocolate bars consumed (from digital downloads to time saving home services)

What is interesting to me are Nestle's comments on their media selection for the campaign, reported in AdNews magazine. They express the view that television is still the medium to reach the mass audience needed for a product like Kit Kat but that the way forward is to engage on a far more personal level with consumers. Being the hard-nosed marketers they are Nestle also ensure that their is a mechanism for producing a tangible return on their investment. The budget to produce the Desk Jockey campaign was taken from the pots that would otherwise have been spent on print and outdoor advertising.

Putting aside any value judgment about the creative execution (which is cringe worthy to me but probably hilarious for some) the strategy seems to be the perfect approach for FMCG marketers to deploy social media and branded content campaigns. Combine the power of TV with interactive web content and a sales promotion to extend it beyond a 'feel good' experience for the brand.

In New Zealand we have seen campaigns for Yellow directories that have taken a similar approach to content on TV and the Web - but the missing ingredient has been the integration of a component to activate sales. It could be argued that the intention of the Yellow campaigns has been to increase awareness of the brand (or some other nonsensical non-metric), but Yellow doesn't need awareness. Everybody is aware of the brand. Indeed the process of creating a Yellow chocolate bar probably only confused many Yellow customers who spend all of their marketing money every year on a simple listing. For them the campaign probably incited confusion and anger - serving only to remind how costly the listing is and how profligate the company. Ironically the Yellow business is in dire straits while the ad campaign has been picking up accolades.

The risks in embarking on campaigns that have significant online components:

Assuming 'if you build it they will come'.
It pays to remember how big the web is. The chances of randomly stumbling across any content are about the same as finding a needle in in a nebula. SEO, Facebook and Twitter will all help bring traffic to your content (assuming it is worth talking about), but television is still the killer app in media if your goal is mass reach. Why have kick-ass content that no-one sees?

Failing to leverage the investment or assign real goals 
In the second half of the 20th Century, the hay-day of modern advertising, brands were in the ascendant - in many cases the brand's positioning was the only thing that separated one product from another. Advertising that centred on the notion 'love my ad, love my product' prevailed. Today the choice of brands is all but infinite. You need to give people a reason to buy your product. Branded content is all well and good, but it should be placed in the context of sales activation. The best engagement with a consumer is for them to trial/use your product or service. Who cares how many friends and followers you have if they don't buy what you are selling?

Being led down the garden path to 'Funkytown'
Because digital and interactive is relatively new and requires a skill-set that is sometimes arcane it is easy to assume that only kids in pork-pie hats and pointy shoes can plan and implement a campaign or that they understand what the online audience wants.
What is true is that sound understanding of your audience transcends fashionable execution and development of quirky doodads.
Don't be sucked down into a rabbit hole. Keep a firm hand on the tiller and expect that any bell or whistle proposed is going to serve some purposeful utility. Online audiences are less forgiving of irrelevant things than in legacy media because of their active engagement - pulling the content towards them.

Link: Take Time Back - Kit Kat Desk Jockey


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