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February 23, 2010

Canadian marketers score with social media
Integration is key to successful campaign

This year's Super Bowl provided ample examples of how to successfully integrate a traditional TV media buy with social media to drive online visits that promote consumer interaction. Advertisers that scored big with this strategy included Budweiser, which invited consumers to vote on Facebook for their pick of three possible Super Bowl spots.

While much of the attention Budweiser received was related to this campaign, which ran in the American market, Canadian consumers got their own taste of the brand, and it was just as reliant on social media.

In the Canadian campaign, the brand used a one-day contest to further encourage visits to the Budweiser Canada Facebook Page. The brand ran a series of four 0:15 Super Bowl spots related to Bud Canada's ongoing "Bud Plane Flight Attendants" effort. Each ad drove viewers to Facebook where they could sign up for a chance to win premium seats aboard the Bud Plane – a jet that takes winners from Budweiser contests to the Super Bowl – to next year's event.

According to Labatt Breweries of Canada, the campaign, which was created with interactive agency Grip Limited of Toronto, generated more than 30,000 new Budweiser Canada Facebook Page fans in a single day (for a total of about 126,000) and several thousand contest entries. Although the brand officially launched the contest at the beginning of the day, the huge jump in entries came only after the first spot had aired during the game.

This week, of course, the focus has shifted from the Super Bowl to another kind of game – a whole series of them, that is. The 2010 Winter Olympics opened in Vancouver not only with international fanfare, but with some interesting integrated ad campaigns from Canadian marketers as well.

Among them is the Canadian Tourism Commission's (CTC) "Locals Know" campaign. This isn't the same Canadian tourism campaign you're seeing on the American networks; this one is geared toward the country's residents and invites them to explore Canada's many exotic and exciting sights, from Québec's ice hotel to British Columbia's hot springs. Like any modern-day cross-media campaign worth its salt, this one, created by DDB Canada, includes TV spots airing on local stations during the Olympic coverage, print ads, and an online presence. Offline creative acts as a teaser for the online reveal, with enticing imagery of a mystery location and messaging like, "Where is this? LocalsKnow.ca."

This microsite does a terrific job of relaying the campaign message and integrating social media. Visitors to the site can view specific destinations from across the country, read consumer-generated reviews and commentary, and even upload their own photographs and videos to help build out the site in the style of a wiki. Travel offers provided by the CTC's partners deliver the impetus visitors need to go from idly browsing the site to actively planning a vacation.

To further encourage consumer-generated submissions, site users are invited to tender their own picks for must-see Canadian places in an "Ultimate Upload" contest that could win them a vacation to one of the site's locations. But the use of social media extends beyond CGM; the microsite also links to a Twitter feed featuring daily photos and promoting the contest, a Flickr gallery, and a YouTube channel that plays to out-of-country visitors in addition to Canadians.

Like Budweiser with its Super Bowl contest, the CTC gives consumers a good reason to visit its Facebook page. Fans can take a quiz about local spots to determine how well they know their country and post their score to their Facebook Wall or directly to Twitter as a tweet.

The "Locals Know" effort isn't new; it's an extension of a campaign that ran last summer. While the CTC hasn't yet released data on the results of this winter iteration, reports state that the original microsite attracted 55,000 unique visitors each week and, according to the CTC, ultimately resulted in about 200,000 Canadians choosing to plan domestic vacations instead of going abroad. And just in case those stats weren't enough, "Locals Know" was also named one of the top tourism campaigns in the world by Forbes.com.

Increasingly, social media is proving to be the missing link between television and the Web. Whereas past initiatives drove consumers to a site and left them at a loss for what to do next, social media allows marketers to entice their target audiences with any number of interactive activities that extend their engagement with the brand.


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