Seven games of football at twilight.
Seven incredible locations.
As product launches go, this was a little unusual. “For Sony, it was revolutionary,” says Ruth Speakman, head of consumer PR and social media at Sony Europe.
Historically, campaigns for Sony cameras had followed a traditional model/ press, TV and cinema advertising in the peak sales months from October to December. “We wanted to get away from that peak and trough mentality,” continues Speakman. “We knew that consumers were willing to purchase cameras all year round. We just had to work out a way to reach them.”
Sony Twilight Football launched
To highlight the cameras’ ability to shoot breathtaking images in low light, footballers from all over Europe were recruited, using social media, to play in football matches at twilight. The games took place at seven spectacular locations around the world including the Australian outback and a floating football pitch in Venice.
To capture all the action at these unique events, photographers were recruited via online competitions and issued with Sony cameras featuring the new Exmor R CMOS technology. Influential bloggers known as ’Twilight Hunters’ were also recruited from each participating country to ignite online chatter and build momentum ahead of each match.
Social media used to recruit participants
Social media agency immediate future handled all aspects of the social media activity, including recruiting all the participants, managing the online conversation and measuring coverage.
“With social media it’s about setting measurable goals from the outset,” explains Katy Howell, MD at immediate future. “It’s not just about ’raising brand awareness’. That’s too simplified. At the start of the Twilight Football campaign, we knew exactly what we wanted to achieve and how we were going to achieve it.”
The recruitment phase lasted three months, during which time IF recruited football teams via Sony’s Twitter account @sonyeurope and posted their entries on to branded Twilight Football pages on YouTube and Flickr.
The ’Twilight Hunters’, those influential bloggers recruited by IF, not only became ambassadors for the brand, they also gave Sony valuable feedback into its business operation and performance. “They have proved invaluable,” adds Speakman. “We still have relationships with them, long after the events have finished.”
Sales exceed forecasts
The Twilight Football campaign ensured ongoing chatter for nine months and videos were viewed over two million times. Sales of Sony’s Cyber-shot TX1 exceeded forecasts by 27% while sales of the Cyber-shot WX1 exceeded forecasts by 45%. “The ROI was an outstanding €12.5m,” says Speakman.
What was the most important aspect of the campaign? “We had to ensure we had time for conversations,” explains Speakman. “In a traditional campaign we would buy creative time and air time. With social media we had to buy ’people time’. Because when bloggers or journalists are asking for back stories, graphics, buttons, video clips or images you have to respond quickly. That was a real shift in how things are done.”
“Social media success comes down to careful preparation and planning.”
Katy Howell, managing director, immediate future
“The best results cost us the least money.”
Ruth Speakman, head of consumer PR and social media, Sony Europe