Yesterday’s mega print advertisement splash by OnePlus to promote the soon-to-be-launched OnePlus 7 took me back to August 2011.
In August 2011, Volkswagen released its #anything4jetta print campaign. The campaign was by DDB Mudra and Grey Digital.
The ‘success’ numbers proclaimed by the agency back then seem quaint in today’s times, but that’s expected, with the growth of internet and internet users in India since 2011.
The digital artifacts created by the agency back then lies in ruins now! So, the @anything4jetta handle still exists, but in a frozen state. The microsite created has not even been redirected to Volkswagen’s India website – it just goes nowhere!
Two things common between both campaigns: they have a call-to-action tied to one social network – Twitter; and one product is up for grabs as the prize (one Jetta car, and one OnePlus 7).
However, the differences and missed opportunities are quite stark.
The Jetta campaign pinned its engagement on a hashtag. It asked people to answer a question, using a hashtag, on Twitter. The OnePlus campaign asks people to answer 4 specific questions, and answer them as a tweet-reply to OnePlus’ India handle on Twitter.
Here are the missed opportunities.
 No hashtag! This is a surprise missed opportunity by OnePlus. Hashtags are usually used to ascertain the reach of a message based on the number of times it is used. The tweet by OnePlus clearly uses a sponsored-hashtag (which brings up an emoji too) – #OnePlus7Pro. But that is missing from the print ad. The call-to-action doesn’t even bother asking people to use the hashtag.
While Volkswagen used the hashtag to decide the spread and reach of their campaign, I’m assuming OnePlus would simply use the replies for metrics.
Imagine creating a separate hashtag for this campaign (for instance, #PowerOfOnePlus7) that is added as an ask in the call-to-action. OnePlus could do away with the need to reply to its handle and simply let people tweet, using the hashtag as the connecting glue (even for tracking responses).
 Twitter-centricity! This is a missed opportunity more for OnePlus and not for Jetta. Both campaigns use Twitter for engagement. Not Facebook. Not Instagram. Only Twitter. Given that Instagram was in its early stages in 2011 (launched in 2010), Jetta campaign’s Twitter-focus makes sense (but not the absence of Facebook!). But OnePlus? Why tie yourself to one platform, I wonder.
Ironically, if you notice the Instagram numbers for the same post by OnePlus, they outnumber Twitter engagement effortlessly! Facebook seems similar to Twitter numbers.
So, why say, Tweet to OnePlus_In in the print communication? Why not ‘reply to OnePlus India on ‘any’ social media platform…’? (where you list the platforms that you will be sharing this post on, or are present in).
Why is Twitter given print-level prominence, while Facebook and Instagram are expected to ‘perform’ on their own with no print support? The one contrarian way to consider this is that Twitter is the smallest and least used among the 3, in India and hence needs print-support!
 Feedback loop. This is a missed opportunity for all the other brands out there. Call-to-action in advertising is usually tuned towards product/service purchase: visit us (offline/online), buy this, call us (for more), avail this (offer) and so on.
The power of social media allows brands to be more inventive with their call-to-action, and use people as a media vehicle to promote their products and services, beyond just mainstream media. This is precisely what Jetta and OnePlus have attempted here. The print investment is step 1. Letting people do the brand promotion is step 2. Print broadcasts, while people promotion is a bit more personal than that. If my friend (on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – they are ‘people like me’) is interested in the phone, my interest level spikes up too, at least mildly.
But not enough brands use this power. At one level, this is a direct way to ascertain the efficacy of mainstream media and the agency. If the communication (and the offer of a freebie/s) is compelling enough, enough number of people would respond. If not, few would respond and it’d be a telling statement of how poor the response was, directly on the brand, the media vehicle and the agency in question.
In a way, this both Jetta and OnePlus are gaming the engagement by dangling a freebie. If all it takes to win a car or a new phone is ‘just a tweet’, wouldn’t you spend half a minute of your life to participate? Earlier, they created interactivity through,
- ‘Mail us to this postal address in a competition post card’
- Email us to this mail ID using this as subject ‘__‘.
Now, it is ‘tweet to us…’.