Now, I'm sure a lot of your out there at the apparel companies are salivating over the whole online thing, but you're probably pretty uncertain how to go about doing it. After all, you're already beset with fickle consumers whose whims seem to change with the season and who are constantly pounding on the castle door with cries of "More! More! More!" so why move into the web where EVERYONE is fickle and decisions are made in less than a nanosecond?
Well, consider this example.
That "Jumpin' In" campaign—which features online videos of teens, well, jumping into their jeans through a mélange of backflips, roof dives, etc., and launched May 5 to build buzz for the "Live Unbuttoned" global campaign for the brand's flagship 501 collection—snatched some 3.5 million hits in 10 days. And if that doesn't factor into your media membranes, here's some more traditional fodder: The spots got play on "Good Morning America" and coverage from the Grey Lady's new style challenger Wall Street Journal.
Here's our comic-strip style flip book of a scene from one of the viral videos, which by the way, we think are totally stunning in an "I can't believe he freakin' did that" kind of way.
"[Jumpin' In] was supposed to be a small seeding activity," Robert Cameron, vp-marketing at Levi Strauss, San Francisco, told journo Gregory Solman at our sister-pub Adweek. "We didn't know it was going to blow up. So we're meeting with BBH on how to chase this. What do we do to adjust the strategy and ride the wave?"
Listen, you've heard this from us and our friends a million times already. The online space, and viral videos in particular, don't necessarily guarantee the kind of success that you can see here with Levi's version. But they do allow you to experiment, without the expense of a real test market, with some creative that just might pique consumer interest in a similar way. And you know who can explain this better than we can? Kevin Kells, the CPG sales head over at Google. Kells might be more in the niche of beauty and, well, packaged goods marketing, but what he has to say about the online thought process for ad creatives is, in our humble estimation, universally applicable.
Here's an exerpt from our convo with him a while back:
Brandweek: What do you tell CPG marketers who still rely on traditional print and TV buys? Kevin Kells: I tell them that online advertising is more efficient, but that they have to look at sponsored links as doorways that take your consumer where they want to go, where you can add
value to their life. The problem is that traditional media is ingrained for many of those CMOs and
marketers. They have 30 years of data on TV and magazines. So even though it's easier to get ROI
figures from online ads, you’re up against 30 years of market data.
BW: Would you revolutionize those departments to have them doing it all online?
KK: No. It’s not to say that they should stop doing that stuff, but there’s a way to go a little deeper online around consumer insights. Instead of focusing on a small amount of creative, they should be making more. They should be making 1,000 digital assets a year as opposed to three television assets.
BW: Does what you’re suggesting require multiple times the amount of creative?
KK: Yes. That’s an obstacle and that’s paralyzing to them. Conceptually now we’re beginning to get them to know that they need to be online with different stories and they have the infrastructure. But in order to put all of those assets in the right place, someone does have to make them. That can be solved by more efficiency. There’s a clunky system right now between the client and their multiple agencies. That’s why you see the emergence of agency networks like WPP.
OK, class dismissed for now. Next time, we'll take a look at those other web items that are probably giving you both a surge of excitement and perhaps some sweaty palms: widgets, the online applications that you've no doubt seen on your kids (or hey, maybe even your own) Facebook and MySpace profiles, or, if you're chic tech nerds like us, those wonderful things that pop up when you hit F12 on your Apple computer.