Friday, April 23, 2010

Frito-Lay and GM Get Integrated Marketing and Leverage the Power of Consumers in a Big Way!

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GM and Frito-Lay and their agencies have recently figured out a great way of getting consumers more engaged with their brands, leveraging the new found power of the consumer. It's a great lesson in integrated marketing communications and engagement for all marketers.

Both brands are running contests for consumers to create homemade commercials (also referred to as consumer generated content) for their products, the winning entries will appear as commercials during this year's Super Bowl (XLI).

Now, of course, primarily hardcore brand advocates and video enthusiasts will enter these contests. But, the media attention and word of mouth these contests and the commercials will generate (and already are generating) for these brands is significant. 

I am confident that, executed well, these campaigns will capture a great deal of consumer attention (and it should, as a spot on last years Super Bowl cost around $2,500,000 USD). With reality TV still hot and consumer generated media getting the public's attention, the timing is right.

Now, in and of themselves, the increased visits to each brand's websites won't make them any money. However, it does represent increased time consumers spend engaging with these brands in (mostly) very positive ways which these marketers hope and believe will eventually pay off in increased awareness and brand preference. But there's more to these campaigns. 

Done well, these commercials can send a message to viewers that slick commercials with beautiful actors and models cannot: that real people love these brands. In a world where consumers increasingly distrust advertising messages, these messages can convey something that polished professional messages cannot do as well. Authenticity. 

This is also a very good example of a marketing communications campaign that is not bound by functional silos of online and offline marketing communications that well, for most companies is a prevalent, and even outwardly obvious problem. Let's face it, today's standard for marketing communications integration is often not much deeper than slapping a web address into an offline ad with no value proposition for visiting the site -- not even a few words. If marketers can't think up a good reason for targets to visit our websites, why would we expect the consumers or business decision makers we are targeting to do so? Some companies/brands have done a great job of integrating offline and online and leveraging offline advertising and packaging to drive visitors online -- FedEx, Intel and IBM immediately come to mind. Now I'm adding GM and Frito-Lay to the list.

Kudos to GM and Frito-Lay and their agencies for the idea. Now go execute this as well as my expectations so I don't look back on this post with regret come February!