$25,000 in Visa gift cards sound good? To 500,000 people, it sure did – and about 50% of the traffic that came to the site was complements of bloggers. This educational site was sponsored by Dean Foods, and the “Start Right, End Right” promotion really put the company’s brands out there. In addition to the multiple Visa gift cards winners received (after entering an entry code, found on the caps of participating milk brands), the site included healthy tips, coupons, custom calendars and fun facts about milk. Add some fun graphics and you get the gist – it’s a branded site that offers helpful health information to families. And it really worked – milk sales went up five percent for the month of January after flat comparisons for months before.
Each of Dean’s 26 regional milk brands across the US had its own branded version of the site, and Kraft Foods worked with each to promote snack suggestions to go with a glass of milk. But back to the aforementioned bloggers, who were a driving force behind this campaign. Dean’s and its allies employed the use of “mommy bloggers,” reaching out to about 30 of the biggest influencers via phone or online conversations in the hopes they would blog about the campaign. “We paid extra attention to the bloggers, early on, and made them aware of the promotion and didn’t try to trick them,” said Rodney Mason, chief marketing officer of Moosylvania, the St. Louis-based agency that handled the promotion. And blog they did… Moms loved the idea, and the educational Web site was a hit for Dean’s.
Now it’s time for my two cents: While reaching out to bloggers was a great start, I think the campaign’s effectiveness could have skyrocketed if some simple social networking elements were added. Nowhere on the site are there “Share This” capabilities… which means while bloggers are included, there was no way to incorporate viral sharing on Facebook, Twitter or any other viral sites. Considering more than two thirds of Facebook’s users are outside of college, and 75% of Twitter users are 18-49, the additional spread could have hit double the amount it did. Bottom line? Great start to a campaign involving social media… but had Facebook and Twitter been involved, Dean’s “Start Right, End Right” campaign could have ended even, er, righter.