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Diageo’s CMO said recently that 'all marketing is digital' and that his company aims to embrace innovation.

The business currently spends 20% of its $3bn marketing budget on digital channels, though this doesn’t take into account the amount spent on content that is then shared and promoted through digital.

Diageo is due to announce its financial results tomorrow, so investors will be able to judge whether the digital strategy has started to bear fruit.

It also seems like a good time to round up some of the company’s most noteworthy digital campaigns of recent years, beginning with the viral success of Guinness' latest TV ad...

Guinness

Guinness scored a viral hit with its latest ad, racking up 3.5m YouTube views before it was even shown on TV. It now has more than 7m views.

The video ad shows a group of friends playing wheelchair basketball, finishing with an excellent twist that will tug at the heartstrings of even the world’s biggest cynics (including me).

The ad is the first in a series of ‘Made of More’ commercials that will highlight individual accomplishments for those who help others.

Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project

The Smirnoff ‘Be there’ campaign has been rolled out regularly over the past few years to promote the vodka as an exciting, international brand.

At the centre of the campaign are nightlife exchanges, where Smirnoff hosts parties themed around a particular country. It then invites its fans and followers and encourages them to shares their experiences through social.

This video from We Are Social explains the thinking behind the campaign when it was launched back in 2011. 

The aim was to tell the Smirnoff story and encourage fans to share conversations, videos, images and recipes that tie into the brand’s values. 

By analysing the conversations going on around the brand online, Smirnoff and We Are Social found that people liked to share the ‘be there’ sentiment, which is about transforming ordinary moments into extraordinary ones.

Therefore the marketing team set about creating shareable content focusing on this overall theme.

Smirnoff also ran competitions aimed at bringing the best of international nightlife to different cities around the world.

Over the four months that the campaign ran in 2011:

  • It engaged more than 1m fans across the competitions, nightlife exchanges and daily competitions.
  • The number of fans on the Facebook page increased by 427% to more than 1m.
  • Smirnoff became the third largest brand page in Brazil and the first alcoholic beverage to achieve more than 1m fans.
  • Smirnoff Brazil was the 17th most engaging brand on Facebook in September, with 1,009 posts, 362,498 interactions, 307,822 ‘likes’ and 54,676 comments.

Guinness NFC

In August this year Diageo gave drinkers the chance to win a free pint of Guinness by tapping their NFC-enabled smartphone against the harp logo on drink pumps in certain bars and pubs.

People engaging with the promotion could also win special offers, vouchers and exclusive content.

The marketing platform is set to complete its rollout until 2015, by which time NFC might actually have made some headway with consumers.

Smirnoff Mindtunes

Mindtunes was an innovative project that enabled three disabled musicians to create a dance track using their brainwaves.

Smirnoff worked with an ElectroEncephaloGraphy device (EEG) device to measure activity in the brain and turn it into musical beats and sounds.

DJ Fresh then reworked the sounds into the finished track, which was then published on iTunes with all proceeds going to fund a state of the art assistive technology group home.

It formed part of the £7m #yoursforthemaking initiative that used influential individuals in the UK music and nightlife industry to identify new nightlife ideas and experiences. 

These ideas and experiences were then shared globally by the brand across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Johnny Walker QR codes

This is an interesting case study as it involves the ‘internet of things’., an emerging trend based on the idea that digital technology can be used to connect everything in the physical world to the web.

In this campaign Diageo allowed sons to personalise a whiskey bottle bought as a gift for Father’s Day.

It was driven by a desire to take advantage of increased consumer use of smartphones in-store, so the solution Diageo came up with was to put QR codes on the back of whiskey bottles that allowed the buyer to embed a personalised video message using a web app. 

The recipient could then access the video by scanning the code.

As a result, the use of digital media transforms the whiskey into a unique, personalised gift rather than just any other bottle. 

The specific results of the campaign aren’t available, but in a talk at our Jump New York conference Diageo revealed that the brand met KPIs on sales increases from the previous year and outperformed its ROI targets.

Smirnoff’s shoppable videos

As part of the aforementioned ‘Yours for the Making’ campaign, Smirnoff partnered with Amazon to launch a YouTube channel where users could purchase the items on view.

By making use of YouTube’s annotation feature Smirnoff enabled viewers to click on items that appeared in the video so they could then buy them from a ‘Nightlife Experiences’ page on Amazon.  

The videos featured ideas submitted by consumers using the hashtag #YoursForTheMaking, which had then been recreated by a team of influential individuals from the UK music scene.

The best idea was used to create a series of experiential events across the UK, Ireland and Germany at the beginning of this year.

Baileys ‘Let’s do it again’

This Christmas campaign involved traditional media as well as banners, pre-rolls, and social media. It was themed around the fun people have when spending time with friends and the role that Baileys can play on social occasions.

The TV and print ads were scaled down for digital channels to make them shareable, with a new YouTube channel launched in order to host the content. 

Consumers were also offered the chance to win a trip to a VIP party in New York by sharing their own Baileys moment.

Bundaberg Rum

To help the town of Bundaberg recover from the devastating impact of local flooding, Diageo launched the ‘Road to Recovery’ campaign to raise money as well as help boost tourism in the area.

A new bottle of Bundaberg Red was created with the names of the 171 streets affected by the floods listed on the label, however it was only made available in the town of Bundaberg. 

The campaign included a Facebook page that acted as an online hub and calendar for the event, housing the Bundaberg Rum ‘Road to Recovery Guide’. The campaign eventually helped to raise $300,000 for the town.

Red Stripe

This Red Stripe campaign saw a Dalston corner shop turned into an all-singing musical instrument when shoppers opened a fridge.

Different products around the shop played out the tune ‘Rudy, A Message to You’ while cameras caught people’s surprised reactions.

It’s a clever execution and fits well with the Red stripe brand. So far it’s had almost 1m views on YouTube. 

David Moth

Published 16 October, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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