The holiday season often brings out the worst in advertising, as companies know that they need to make a holiday push to get themselves into the public eye, but they don’t take the time to do it right because they figure that everyone is already in the buying mood, so there’s no need to put effort into motivating sales.
However, standout (and unique) ads will always prevail, so I’m going to highlight some of the best from this holiday season, and look at why they succeeded when others failed.
The first campaign to catch my eye was Vodafone Christmas Clones. For this campaign, Vodafone teamed up with Cubeecraft, which is the leading designer of papercraft toys, and made a set of holiday characters that users could customize right on the Vodafone site using built-in tools. If you’re not familiar with Papercraft, it’s the art of printing, cutting and folding a single sheet of paper to turn it into a custom toy, and through interlocking tabs and clever construction, the toys don’t need any tape, glue or other messy adhesives to stay together, so you can make them easily and then take them apart and rearrange the pieces to form new characters or creations.
For the Christmas Clones project, Cubeecraft designed a set of ten papercraft characters that were all themed around various parts of the holiday season. There’s Santa, a Snowman, an Elf, Mrs. Clause, and an Angel for traditionalists, a Beach Babe for those that like to escape the winter weather, a Turkey and a Cook for those that enjoy time spent in front of the stove during the holidays, and a Cricket Player for those that are die hard Australians. Each is selected via a rotating page that changes its background to match the theme of the character, and the overall experience is very fluid and easy to use.
Once you’ve made your selection, the real fun begins as you can upload a photo of you or a friend to customize the face of your character. The upload process is also very easy to use, and then you’re presented with a few simple tools to move, rotate and stretch the picture to match the position of the face. The site provides a live preview of the end result as you change each setting so that you can keep an eye on what it’s going to look like, and each tool works as expected without a lot of extra explanation needed. Finally, when you’re finished adding the photo to your character, it ‘clones’ you, and then you can either print out your character to make it yourself, or send it to a friend as a holiday card so that they can print out and make their own little clone of you.
It might seem like a loose connection to the product, since papercraft toys and cell phone service are pretty far removed, but Vodafone’s current slogan is that you can share the love and be everywhere you want to be this Christmas with Vodafone, so a little cloned version of you that your loved ones can print out and keep close by is about as close to being everywhere you want to be as possible without the aid of time travel.
Lastly, Vodafone did all the right things that they needed to do to help this campaign go viral by offering a $5,000 prize to one lucky clone maker, getting Cubeecraft to market and promote the campaign to their own users on their own site and adding in social media and social bookmarking buttons that are a focus of the page and are easy to access and use. The buttons aren’t perfect, because there’s no way to tell what each one does without clicking it unless you’re very familiar with each site’s logo, but it’s not a terrible mistake either, and could have been remedied with a simple rollover title or other such hint. Though you can’t force a campaign to go viral, you can take a good campaign like this one and help it along the way, which is exactly what Vodafone has done with their Christmas Clones.
- Unique, little-known but fun and easy craft art grabs attention and provides value to the user.
- Partnering with Cubeecraft allows Vodafone to leverage that name and its existing community while focusing on the marketing and allowing Cubeecraft to focus on creating a quality product that many will enjoy.
- Easy, simple navigation provides a low barrier to entry.
- Social Media, Social Bookmarking and Send to a Friend features further extend the virality of the campaign.
- Campaign was a natural extension of an existing slogan.
- Christmas focus eliminates non-Christian users, even though some of the characters were religion-neutral, and the site could have been easily converted to be more general holiday themed.
- Lack of a campaign specific URL on the TV ad misses out on additional, easy to capture opportunity for extension.
- Customizable but still desirable knickknacks allow companies to cheaply and easily provide added value to users and increase virality while high value partnerships bring over an existing audience and keep creative costs low.
Photo Via: kevindooley