Posts Tagged ‘sample’

When is an ad not an ad?

November 3, 2008

Social media advertising: an oxymoron? When many marketers learn about social media, they ask themselves either: “How can I get involved with this?” or “How can I advertise here?” Many people think that you should never “advertise” on social media or social networking channels. But others have proven that smart advertising or marketing does work on social avenues.

Enter Ben & Jerry’s and Starbucks. Both companies have a new campaign, conducted online, and propogated through social networks such as Facebook, that give away a free sample tomorrow, November 4, U.S. election day, if you provide evidence that you have voted.

In Ben & Jerry’s case, the offer is a free scoop of ice cream between 5 pm and 8 pm. While there is no B&J very near to me, I will make the drive with my son, after voting, to get a scoop. In Starbucks case, there is a free tall brewed coffee, good any time on November 4.

Both Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s are marketing via two important avenues on Facebook simultaneously. The have both used the Sponsored Ad space on Facebook’s new home page, AND, they have both created Facebook events for their one-day specials. With a head start,Ben & Jerry’s currently claims 197,985 people attending (14,601 people have posted a comment on the event wall), while Starbucks has 65,498 people attending (and more than 5,000 posts on the event wall). I’m not sure how much the Facebook ad cost, but the cost for an organization to create a Facebook event is zero.

Facebook itself is doing it’s part to encourage voter turnout by enabling people to “donate” their status to become a message to vote at midnight on Election Day. (So far, 500,653 have done so.)

Facebook initially missed an opportunity, by only allowing three choices in the “get the vote” message. The choices were a.) Obama, b.) McCain, or c.) a write in candidate of your choice. I immediately looked for an option to “vote for the candidate of your choice”, but had to kludge my answer that people should vote “their conscience” which becomes ungrammatical in the different settings in which the answer appears. Facebook has since added a “just get out the vote” option.

Do the Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s campaigns count as “advertising” because they are both campaigns that promote doing your civic duty to vote? Can your shop come up with as creative a marketing campaign that is also doing its part to promote the social good?


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