Hashtags are quickly becoming a social media calling card for leading agencies and their Fortune 500 clients. M80, one such agency, is a good example with it’s 2011 Super Bowl campaign and the unique hashtag #ProgressIs.
We asked M80‘s Joe Quattrone, Account Lead for Audi of America’s social media business and Senior Account Director at M80 about the campaigns they have run for Audi and got some general best practices for utilizing hashtags.
Joe also explores their newest campaign for Audi and tells us how you can raise your hand for a chance to fly out and drive an Audi R8 at Sonoma’s Infineon Raceway in California or have an R8 delivered to your doorstep.
One hint, I really #WantAnR8.
Q: Audi is a featured client of M80, what media channels does the agency support for Audi?
- As social media agency of record for Audi of America we manage multiple communities. While the focus lies with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube we cultivate content and create tone of voice for roughly seven additional networks.
- Some of the other networks we manage include: Flickr, Google+, Instagram, Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Empire Avenue, and foursquare.
Q: Tell us about the execution of the Audi Progressive Luxury Trade Up Contest?
- “Luxury Has Progressed.” This simple but powerful message was the punch line of a 60-second action-packed spot “Release the Hounds,” which made its debut during Super Bowl XLV. The spot was created by our partner agency Venables Bell and Partners, and it told the story of two men attempting an escape from a luxury prison ends with a twist: Bill makes a getaway in an Audi A8 while the hoodwinked Lancaster wins a chauffeured ride back to prison in a Mercedes S Class.
- The spot took many pointed jabs at the symbols of old luxury. But it stopped short of fully defining the concept of progressive luxury. For that, Audi decided to turn to our social communities. We wanted to create a conversation on the topic of old versus new that would engage Audi customers, fans and car enthusiasts alike. And, so, we called on the Twittersphere to help us define progress.
- We developed a comprehensive communications strategy around Twitter and a unique hashtag, #ProgressIs. To achieve the level of integration and visibility necessary for success, we supported the #ProgressIs campaign with earned, bought and owned media.
- The Audi Progressive Luxury Trade-Up contest was born: A Twitter contest that tied thematically with the spot and extended its message. Audi supported the #ProgressIs contest with the groundbreaking concept of appending the hashtag to the Super Bowl commercial. And to build buzz before the commercial, Audi purchased the Promoted Trend #ProgressIs on Twitter on the Thursday before Super Bowl.
- In the contest, we asked consumers to submit their definitions of what #ProgressIs via a microsite (http://audi.us/ProgressIs), from which people could submit their 140-character entries. During the second phase, in a head-to-head tweet-off, the top 10 contestants were assigned “old luxury” goods and had an opportunity to trade up to “progressive luxury” prizes. They campaigned with Retweets and creatively used Twitpics, blogs and YouTube videos to further spark conversation. The Grand Prize was a $25,000 charitable donation and a trip to the Audi Sportscar Experience at Infineon Raceway.
- Audi public relations played an important role in getting the media and consumers talking about Audi’s innovative use of the hashtag in its Super Bowl commercial – a first ever.
Q: The Audi campaign hashtag that was developed for the 2011 Super Bowl, #ProgressIs, received more than 27,000 mentions. What makes Twitter campaigns that lead with a hashtag successful?
- It really depends on if the television spot in question is tied to a major event. Having used hashtags at the end of two consecutive Super Bowl spots we’re starting to notice a strong correlation between the creative itself and the kind of conversation that can be started on Twitter when prompted.
- With a major cultural event like the Super Bowl or the Academy Awards hashtags work very well because the user behavior lines up nicely. There are already tens of thousands of micro conversations going on in Twitter during the event so really you wind up injecting your creative concept into the conversation for people to debate openly.
- It is also very important to know beforehand what you are looking to achieve with your spot before deciding to use a tag over a URL. If adding buzz to your creative is your goal, a tag during a big event is likely to enhance your chances of gaining that additional conversation.
Q: What general demographic groups are considered knowledgeable enough about Twitter for a hashtag campaign?
- Once upon a time Twitter was a network used by an exclusive demographic, but I think all of that is changing along with smartphone adoption. Younger, tech savvy, lives in major cities, educated, early adopters are some adjectives that one could have used to talk about who is on Twitter.
- Nowadays, mobile adoption is so pertinent that social networks like Twitter are becoming more useful and relevant to a wider segment of society.
- This year’s #SoLongVampires hashtag was also very highly engaged with and we didn’t wrap in a contest like we did last year, which tells us that the overall conversation is growing on Twitter. This goes a long way towards making that channel a viable solution for campaigns.
Q: What advertising media fit best when considering use of a Twitter hashtag?
- Right now major Television “live” events are proving to be very valuable
- Television in general is proving to be important, but time and practice will tell how effective it can be used
- After that I think you have to look at using hashtags in online video and OOH (billboards and experiential marketing) One thing to note is that hashtags on billboards would be best suited in major cities where foot traffic is your audience as opposed to on highways where vehicle traffic is your audience.
Q: Part of the Progress Is campaign featured a “Tweet Off” between users. Does peer-to-peer help to propel campaign messages faster and farther than a brand controlling every interaction would?
- It can but it really depends what your brand is and who your audience is. We enjoy the benefit of being able to talk to a very tech savvy consumer, and tech savvy consumers generally have pretty good scale when it comes to their social graph.
Q: What new Audi social media campaigns from M80 should we watch for?
- M80 created a campaign back in September 2011 that was more of a reaction to one of our Twitter followers desire to drive an Audi R8
- She tweeted at us for several months last summer about how much she wanted one that eventually she coined the term #WantAnR8
- We actually seized the opportunity and decided getting a select few people behind the wheel of an R8 could create massive buzz so we arrived on her doorstep with an R8 for her to drive for the weekend.
- Next, we took our video footage and purchased a promoted trend on Twitter and asked people far and wide why they #WantAnR8
- That hashtag was the third most successful promoted trend of all time and we actually wound up with tens of thousands of people raising their hands and engaging with the hashtag.
- Audi selected four more Twitter users based on creativity and allowed them a chance to drive an R8 for the weekend.
- This March, that campaign is evolving to become part of a new campaign called “Legendary R8” which plays on the notion that the R8 came out of the gates as a legend and didn’t take a century to build on its reputation. #WantAnR8 fits in nicely as a campaign extension because it plays of the raw desire of Audi fans.
- #WantAnR8 is now going to be seen on TV, online video, and other media properties
- For the balance of 2012 we will be selecting more Twitter hand raisers and either providing them with a weekend drive or they have the option of being flown out to Sonoma California where they can drive R8’s around Infineon Raceway.
Audi R8, photo courtesy of M80.
M80 (www.M80.com) is the leading social media-marketing agency to Fortune 500 companies. We maximize a brand’s investment in social media and ignite their social ecosystem to increase brand engagement across multiple channels. Our programs empower consumer evangelists, create affinity and build community. Solutions include social network channel management, conversation marketing, social listening and analysis, interaction optimization, influencer outreach, video seeding and content syndication. Since 1998, the company has worked with hundreds of clients, offering innovative solutions and producing quantifiable ROI. M80 is a founding member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and was acquired by WPP’s GroupM in 2006 (LSE: WPP and NASDAQ: WPPGY). The company is headquartered in Los Angeles with offices in New York, Chicago, Seattle and Washington DC.
About Joe Quattrone
Joe Quattrone is the account lead on Audi of America’s social media business. He joined the team in August following successful stints as account director on several other clients of M80 including GSK, Powermat, Intercontinental Hotel Group, and Tim Horton’s. Prior to joining M80 he served as an on-site account manager for Audi of America’s lead creative agency Venables Bell & Partners. While on-site for VB&P Joe was integral in drafting Audi of America’s first social media strategy, leading to the eventual social media cross-functional task force that exists today. Joe has a deep level of passion for brands, which was one of the motivating factors in his decision to attend the VCU Brandcenter from 2006 to 2008 where he obtained an MS in Creative Brand Management. He currently lives in New York City with his wife Lea Anne.
Author Carol Glennon