I think the campaign theme is brilliant and choosing the Republic Day to kick-start it…even more so!
Here are some other observations on how the campaign seems to be progressing and what could have been done differently.
1. To give the campaign long legs, the brand seems to have opted for 3 online channels – a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter handle. The website also lists an Orkut logo, but it is linked only to Orkut.com – wonder why! Strangely, the website is booked by a person on behalf of Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd and not Nicorette India or Johnson & Johnson. Would it have been better if the domain was owned by the brand itself, I wonder? Even if normal people visiting the site may not care who owns the domain, does the awareness of it not being owned by the brand seem to you that this effort looks more like an add-on to the very expensive print and TV campaign and not a serious one? I’m just extrapolating here – feel free to disagree.
2. The Twitter handle seems like an after-thought. Most of the Facebook status updates are shortened to 140 characters and re-posted here and it is languishing with 30 odd followers and 0 (yes, zero) people under ‘following’. This looks like the Social Media Ghost Town. If there is no content plan for Twitter and more importantly, no strategy for Twitter to drum up engagement, there is no point in even starting it. Brands should know this better, more than people, since a brand property getting orphaned on Twitter is a bigger worry than an individual losing interest due to non-activity.
3. Engagement on Facebook is on expected lines, and takes on very similar themes like the global Nicorette campaign. There are some local ideas too. The themes carried from the global tactics include a quitting pledge, a quitting calendar, savings calculator and adopting a smoker to help him quit (much like the Twitter movement started by @b50,Â called #bigloser that sees Tweeters adopting other Tweeters to help them lose weight). The Indian ideas include a few games on the website and a quitter anthem that will be promoted via Radio Mirchi (what else…an FM station owned by Bennett Coleman & Company Ltd).
4. On Day 1 (January 26th), I noticed that the Facebook page had no updates at all from the moderator/community manager even though there were 50+ enthusiastic messages from people by the end of the day. In fact, the first status update from the moderator happened only on the 27th – a thank you note to those who responded on 26th. While that is a perfectly valid strategy (could fall under ‘Collaboration’ under my ‘5cs of Content‘), I’d have looked at populating the community with sample inputs on Day 1 so that it gives interesting ideas for the people who land up on that day after seeing the newspaper ads. I’d perhaps treat it much like how they do testimonials for advertisements – need not make them sound obviously fake, but infuse enough genuineness in them or, if possible, get real friends/connections to tell their real stories so it works as a great conversation starter right on Day 1, online.
5. The content on Facebook seems extremely repetitive. Besides the lone thank you note referred to above, the other updates are centered entirely around what is available in the website – pledge, benefits, how to quit ideas, anthem, calendar and games. There are multiple plugs for the twitter handle (in vain) and a post on a poster contest. I would have perhaps spent a lot more time thinking of upping engagement through listening to people’s stories – there are tons of personal stories already shared. They require constant feedback for the effort and some more motivation to share them with others they know who may want to quite – isn’t that the point of the campaign…to spread the word about quitting smoking, virally? That happens when the effort is driven less towards what the website has and more when ground-level engagement happens. Every person with an interesting story around quitting is a brand ambassador for the Quit India Movement – he could be engaged actively and can bring in other friends who may want to quit. That will not happen merely by regurgitating the content put in the website.
I really like the campaign theme – it is thoughtful, clever and places more importance to a real cause while also building a wonderfully relevant context to the brand. But, just like a hyper-active, socially conscious friend who goes around his friends’ circle in encouraging them to quit smoking, the online properties need to be equally active in drumming up support from people who have volunteered with their experiences. It’s still not too late – the community has been online for just under a fortnight and they could still learn a few tips from this post and turn it around to be really impactful!