The integrated effort is the latest from the 80-year-old American business to try and convince 18 to 25-year-old males it is “modern” and “humorous”. It is launching its first dedicated digital campaign tomorrow (3 April) after finding that many fans are posting “unprompted” accounts of their lost Zippo lighters on various social networks.
It has created the macho “Jax ‘No Pain’ McFlame” character, in partnership with DeVries Slam and Architect, to respond to the trend through light-hearted interactions with online fans. Zippo will play on the idea that Jax only feels pain when it comes to losing a Zippo lighter, commiserating with consumers who have done the same. Personalised real-time responses will be dished out to consumers who tag their lost Zippo posts with the #ShareThePain hashtag over the next three months.
The most heartfelt account will be posted on an outdoor advert over the coming weeks. Fans will also be directed to an online hub where they can spark automated video replies from Jax when they type in what they have lost. Responses switch between tongue-in-cheek dismissals to messages of condolence depending on whether the item is Zippo-related.
David Warfel, global marketing director for Zippo, admits the campaign bears a similarity to previous “Old Spice Guy” efforts but adds upcoming fan interactions will be global. While the Old Spice stunts were only available in English, Zippo’s ‘Sharethepain” campaign will be translated into seven different languages.
Warfel adds: “This is the first time we’ve created a specific marketing programme for the digital space. Most of what we’ve done in the past has been about responding to fans globally on various topics.
“We found that when people were talking about their lost Zippo lighters on social sites that there was an element of real loss. It wasn’t like they’d just lost their car keys; there was a real sense of personal attachment to their Zippo lighters behind many cases. We’ve tried to turn that insight into something we hope people think is fresh and funny so that we can then drive high brand awareness from the younger audience.”
The effort will be supported by additional PR activity, while Zippo will continue to support its “Encore” music platform.
Zippo has spent the last six years looking to forge stronger ties with younger consumers. It has primarily focused on music, specifically its experiential activity and media partnerships with magazines such as Rolling Stone to shift perceptions.