A Marketing Mastery Poster Child

September 5, 2011

Here’s a marketing campaign I really like. Many marketers could learn a thing or two from it: how to carpe diem, how to mingle online and offline, how to entertain and how to engage.

The story begins with an art student doing her diploma and wondering whether an individual could buy ad space outdoors. She wanted to see something else in the city than the everyday ad clutter. In December 2010 she contacted JCDecaux, a leading outdoor advertising company in the world, and got an OK for her idea. Haluan nähdä muutakin  (“I want to see something else”) campaign was born.

So she made a Facebook page her project, and got 3500 fans in 10 days. She and her fans funded the project, in other words the ad spend for JCDecaux. The participants also collaborated on the poster that was to be placed on the JCDecaux frames. Each participant got to write her own ending to “I want to see…”, and all of the greetings were then made into one collage (see below, click to enlarge).

So this is the art part. Now, to the marketing. (Because, no matter how much you’d like marketing to be art at times, the former always serves a purpose – to be more precise, creating and delivering an offering of value to the customers – while the latter serves only itself. Glad we straightened that now, too).

A little after the before-mentioned “campaign” JCDecaux decided to jump on the bandwagon and do a spin-off. They called it simply Muutakin (“Something else”) and had 11 young designers do their own posters of which the public could vote their favorites on Facebook and decide what “else” they wanted to see in the cityscape this time (some of them below).

Although the original master-mind of the idea didn’t totally approve of the approach JCDecaux took, it was a nice approach from such a huge global player: to be able to take the chance and make a rather bold step to the arty direction, away from commercialism (which, to a great degree, is the core of their business).

And JCDecaux didn’t stop there with the Muutakin campaign. Next up was summer and its festivities in the city.

Muutakin teamed up with Helsinki’s no. 1 urban festival, Flow Festival. And this time they didn’t only engage the public in voting, but also in the creation of the posters. And they even topped the execution of the original collaborative artwork: this time the participants got to do their own artwork straight to the canvases at JCDecaux’s “bus stop” at the heart of Flow festival. Not only did they get “bus loads” of visitors, but also good publicity.

After the festival, they posted the posters on their Facebook page. After that, took them back to the streets. Then they further mixed offline and online with a contest where they encouraged people to share photos of Muutakin posters at bus stops to the Facebook page. The competition ended a month ago, so we’ll see what’s coming up.

The results aren’t counted in Facebook likes. They are more in the general “Like” points. The company that previously was just those frames now has a more humane side too: it’s part of the city life with its own story to tell. Sharing a link about an ad space company didn’t seem that likely before Muutakin.

And for the lessons for marketers:

  • Embrace ad hoc opportunities. See the opportunity in surprising issued that come up. Be ready to adapt your approach / plans / visions.
  • Offline and online are one. There isn’t likely to be online activity without something remarkable happening offline. And offline needs online to gain momentum and spread.
  • Engagement needs commitment. Commitment to your customers / fans / stakeholders. Understand them and add value to them — only then can you earn engagement.
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One Response to “A Marketing Mastery Poster Child”

  1. NU-THING Says:

    […] “But the result isn’t counted in Facebook likes. It’s more in the general “Like” points. The company that previously was just those frames now has a more humane side too: it’s part of the city life with its own story to tell.” – prototypo.wordpress.com […]


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