Influencer marketing is well past its experimental phase. It is now firmly established as an important type of online marketing, and it is for more than just small businesses and startups, who can’t afford traditional advertising fees. Quite a few A-list businesses realize that influencer marketing helps them reach their target audience. It is digital marketing’s next best thing, that is making a huge impact already.
Here are 12 recent examples of firms (most of whom are family names) who have seen influencer marketing work for them.
Summary: Quick Jump Menu
- 1. Motorola’s Launch of the Moto Z Family and Moto Mods
- 2. Sony’s Xperia Z5 on Instagram
- 3. The Pepsi Emoji Product-line at Walgreens Stores
- 4. Anthem of Us Campaign for Bedrock Real Estate, Detroit
- 5. Dunkin’ Donuts on National Donut Day
- 6. Häagen-Dazs BOGO Promotions at Duane Reade and Walgreens Stores
- 7. M&M’s 2016 Flavor Vote
- 8. MTV Pants Off
- 9. The Rare Country Awards
- 10. “Sickhouse” SnapChat Film
- 11. Chase Sponsoring the US Open
- 12. Clash of the Corps - an Original Fuse Docu-series
1. Motorola’s Launch of the Moto Z Family and Moto Mods
Motorola decided to launch a new range of smartphones call the Moto Z family and Moto Mods. The key differentiating factor between these and the standard commodity smartphone is that you can swap “mods” in and out of the phone, to make them exactly how you want them. You can even latch a projector onto your phone if you so choose.
Motorola marketed these phones to a young demographic, and they realized that their target audience spent much of their time on YouTube. They saw the possibilities for YouTube influencers to demonstrate the possible uses of the Moto Z Force of YouTube … even strapping it onto a 10’ rocket!
Agency partner Weber Shandwick developed a YouTube influencer program to drive awareness around the Moto Z products. They worked with 13 influencers across multiple verticals and target audiences to reach a broad range of consumers.
Each influencer created one "partnership announcement" post, one "hero" YouTube video that featured a unique use-case for Moto Mods and two or more extra social posts.
The 13 videos that the influencers created were all very different, ranging from the one that launched the phone attached to a 10’ rocket to a video showing how to survive a haunted high school.
The videos generated 11.6 million views and 38.1 million social impressions. This led to 122,000 clicks to motomods.com (80,000 of them first-time visitors).
2. Sony’s Xperia Z5 on Instagram
Sony Mobile France created a new Instagram account - @sonyxperiafr - which they wanted to promote. The Sony Xperia Z5 has the most powerful cell phone camera, with a five times zoom, and Instagram is, of course, the perfect site to promote photography.
Sony created the first zoom on Instagram (#InstazoomZ5) to help Instagramers appreciate the power of the phone’s camera.
They took a highly detailed zoom photo taken with the Z5 and cut it into hundreds of smaller shots organized into five layers. They created more than 100 Instagram accounts, tied together by tags, that effectively let you zoom into any part of the original photo and find more than 50 hidden surprises.
Sony then used 30 influencers to help spread the photos as part of a competition where people could zoom in five times on parts of the original photo (i.e. look at five of the detailed pictures) to find a secret code.
It was a highly successful campaign, with 17 million potential contacts.
3. The Pepsi Emoji Product-line at Walgreens Stores
Pepsi aimed to increase its sales at Walgreens, so they created limited edition packaging and the #SayItWithPepsi hashtag. They chose to target millennials, so decided social media engagement be the best promotion - even for in-store purchases.
The purpose of the campaign was to demonstrate that incorporating the specially-packaged Pepsi emoji bottles - found exclusively at Walgreens - into your summer activities made everything more fun.
Pepsi used influential creators to develop original organic-style content about the 200 Pepsi emojis who then distributed the content to their Millennial-age followers. The shared content included original blog posts, photography, and branded video content. It drove the teenagers to Walgreens and Duane Reade stores to buy Pepsi Emoji bottles to help them have an exciting summer adventure.
Pepsi then analyzed the performance of all of the content that these primary influencers had created and shared. They selected the best performing content and arranged for 40 secondary influencers to share this high-performing content with their audiences - again they were targeted at Millennials. This second stage resulted in an additional 26,000 clicks on the shared content.
The campaign was topped off with two Twitter parties celebrating #SayItWithPepsi and the Pepsi Emoji bottles.
The #SayItWithPepsi campaign ended up receiving 46 million impressions, and there were more than 50,000 engagements with campaign content.
4. Anthem of Us Campaign for Bedrock Real Estate, Detroit
Bedrock Real Estate wanted to produce a film showing that the cliched downtrodden views of Detroit are wrong. Detroit is not a broken-down city of the past. It is a positive city that is going places.
Bedrock wanted to produce a film that would make Detroit residents feel proud of where they live. They chose to use local influencers like Shinola, Detroit Bikes and the creator of Slow Roll (a local bike tour phenomenon) to help create the film, Anthem of Us, using striking images paired with a powerful, yet unscripted, narrative.
Local celebrity, Big Sean, made an emotional endorsement, which lead to more media impressions, both traditional print and broadcast, as well as online. Other local influencers like Pure Michigan and Quicken Loans helped with the outreach.
Bedrock relied on their influencers’ organic reach to communicate their message, and the video received 500,000 views before Bedrock activated a paid strategy.
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5. Dunkin’ Donuts on National Donut Day
Dunkin’ Donuts and their agency, Trilia, wanted to create an awareness of National Donut Day. They partnered with digital talent network and entertainment studio, Collab, to create a national Snapchat campaign, featuring visually enticing creative content.
Dunkin’ Donuts made a special offer for the day, and Collab selected lifestyle creators to spread content about the offer in their cities on SnapChat. They chose eight popular influencers to create and distribute teaser content.
The eight influencers then “took over” the Dunkin’ Donuts SnapChat channel on National Donut Day. This covered more than 24 hours because they ran the campaign across three time zones and three cities across the USA. The influencers used their content to drive their supporters to the Dunkin’ Donut Stores and take up the special offer. Also, Dunkin’ Donuts supplied the influencers with Snapchat Geofilters which people could use in-store.
The result was that Dunkin’ Donuts gained ten times more followers to their SnapChat channel on National Donut Day than they usually did in a month. The campaign reached 3 million people, with 40,000 cases of engagement.
6. Häagen-Dazs BOGO Promotions at Duane Reade and Walgreens Stores
This campaign aimed to remind New Yorkers that ice cream is an essential part of summer. It promoted the Häagen-Dazs BOGO (buy one get one) promotions and sampling events at Duane Reade and Walgreens New York stores.
Häagen-Dazs partnered with New York City local influencers who targeted the millennial lifestyle. The influencers created content around the theme "Häagen-Dazs Open Container" - #HDOpenContainer – which was a play on words connected with current events in New York at the time. It positioned Häagen-Dazs as the indulgent yet mature treat to enjoy with friends.
The campaign included covering rooftop parties and live social updates from sampling parties. The content was given a highly New York-centric feel.
Additional influencers helped disseminate the posts, segmented by digital zip codes. They specifically targeted people on their phones in the vicinity of the stores.
They then widened their influencer campaign to cover Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. This ensured that an even wider audience shared the content.
Overall, the campaign generated 14.3 million impressions and 27,400 social engagements.
7. M&M’s 2016 Flavor Vote
For the first time in its 75-year history, M&Ms decided to let the fans decide its new peanut flavor. They had to choose between Honey Nut, Chili Nut, and Coffee Nut. They decide to run the vote like a mini-election.
M&Ms appointed Emmy award-winning actor and Veep star Tony Hale to act as the official Campaign Manager for the Flavor Vote. They also partnered with nine social influencers to help spread their message and to rally support for each of the three flavors. These were considered to be Campaign Managers.
A further 20+ influencers created visual content to encourage people to trial the flavors and vote. M&Ms considered these people to be Campaign Staffers. They developed the hashtag #MMSFlavorVote to drive social awareness and voting.
The influencers amplified the campaign across their networks and they geo-targeted social posts to generate excitement and participation across the United States.
Ultimately the voters elected Coffee Nut to be the winning flavor. The campaign resulted in 269 million public relations/social media/Influencer impressions, 216 influencer partner posts, 14.4 million social engagements, and more than 1 million votes.
Spreading the word about M&M's U.S.A. Flavor Vote is the easy part. Explaining it to Yellow makes me tear my hair, that I don't have, out. It's simple...Honey Nut, Coffee Nut or Chili Nut...who's going to be Yellow's new friend?? Vote now and daily! http://bit.ly/25uzlNr #MMSFlavorVote #ad
Posted by Tony Hale on Monday, April 18, 2016
8. MTV Pants Off
MTV Pants Off is a SnapChat sex ed show, hosted by Laci Green, best known for her sex ed channel on YouTube, which has more than 2 million subscribers. The aim of the SnapChat show was to provide sex ed information to young people, giving real information and advice.
MTV’s aim was to use Laci, already known as a sex ed influencer, to give help to confused teenagers on what was a different medium for MTV - SnapChat. Every Saturday for eight weeks Pants Off “played” on SnapChat - just like a regular show.
MTV decided that the best way to build an audience was to ensure that the show contained relevant subject matter for the teenage audience, to use influencers as guests, and to create stunning graphics.
Their guest strategy was to invite influencers with huge audiences, who were comfortable enough to talk about sex and relationships, to be filmed for the show. There were many authentic conversations with guests from across social media.
Each episode received between 3 and 5 million views and was shared hundreds of thousands of times. In total there were 13.9 million unique views and 439,000 shares, not counting additional cross-posting to Facebook. There can be no doubt that MTV managed to help many young people’s sexual understanding as a result of this campaign.
9. The Rare Country Awards
Cox Media Group wished to draw attention to its country division - Rare Country. They decided to create the fan-voted "Rare Country Awards," to expand their reach to more country fans.
Rare Country already had a strong Facebook presence but was in its early stages of running a Twitter account. They asked Insightpool, an influencer marketing platform, to set up an influencer campaign for the awards on Twitter.
The Insightpool team identified and engaged with suitable influencers to spread the Rare Country Awards message. They segmented influencers into the following categories:
Current @RareCountry Followers
General Country Fans
Country fans that followed the @Rare account but not the @RareCountry account
Press- Media/Bloggers/Radio Stations
Insightful then created relevant Twitter copy and engaged with influencers in each category. Each influencer was tasked with both voting for their favorite artist and stirring up their own audiences to vote in the Rare Country Awards.
Insightpool invited 20 top influencers to participate in a Twitter takeover - changing their accounts to match the Rare Country Awards branding.
The awards quickly gained recognition, and top country artists then began to share links about them with their fans.
Insightpool then selected three “superfans” to create videos announcing the winning artists.
In all, 5,151 influencers helped with this campaign, with a spread of more than 55 million followers. The campaign generated 1.8 million impressions and nearly 1 million votes.
10. “Sickhouse” SnapChat Film
Indigenous Media focuses on producing video for a variety of platforms, from traditional television to new-style social media. One of their filmmaking teams created a project they called “Sickhouse.”
“Sickhouse” is a film in the same vein as “The Blair Witch Project,” in the sense that it is not clear to viewers, as to whether it is scripted or real-life (in reality, it is scripted). The whole film was shot in real time, in chronological order, on iPhones. Indeed it was the first scripted SnapChat film. Influencer, Andrea Russett, posted 10-seconds Snaps over a five day period, questioning how real this film was, and opening up discussion with her audience. Although Andrea Russett was chosen to a large extent because of her 2.5 million YouTube following, she was also asked to participate because of her strong acting skills. “Sickhouse” had to look as if it could be real, with Andrea sharing her “home video.”
To add to the illusion, all the other actors avoided social media during the production of the film - the only updates of their whereabouts were posted on Andrea’s SnapChat account.
Eventually, Andrea was able to share with her fans that she had survived “Sickhouse, ” and there was a 70 minute extended version on Vimeo.
“Sickhouse” was viewed 100 million times on Snapchat alone.
11. Chase Sponsoring the US Open
After sponsoring the US Open Tennis Championships for 35 years, Chase wanted to try something different in 2016. They wanted to ensure that all tennis fans, including those who could not physically make it to the matches, could fully enjoy the experience.
They partnered with Periscope and Andy Roddick, a huge name in professional tennis, to give fans the ultimate viewing experience. To tennis fans, Andy Roddick is a huge celebrity influencer. Fans were effectively able to watch the games beside Andy, hearing his real-time reactions. He was also able to answer fans’ questions live.
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Chase was able to provide six Periscope sessions to fans for free. Andy Roddick broadcast from his couch, and two further periscopes were hosted at the Chase Lounge, to give fans an on-site experience.
There were nearly 9.1 million impressions, and 2.5 million video views. In total the campaign provided 385 hours of Periscope video for fans to watch.
12. Clash of the Corps - an Original Fuse Docu-series
Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, definitely has a huge following. He has 57 million followers on his Facebook page, alone.
When Fuse created their Clash of Corp docu-series, which documents the lives of drum corps members on the road to the Drum Corps International Championship, they wanted to expose their series to as many people as possible.
Another brand new episode of our hit Seven Bucks Productions series #ClashOfTheCorps airs TONIGHT at 11 pm on Fuse. Make sure to tune in and see what all of the noise is about. We're talkin' FUSE's most DVR'd show in history and the records don't stop there...#ForwardMarch 🎼🎺
Posted by Dwayne The Rock Johnson on Wednesday, October 19, 2016
They decided the best way was to work with Dwayne Johnson and encouraged him to broadcast the first episode of their series via his Facebook page. Dwayne also recorded an exclusive video introduction to the series which fans also watched on his Facebook page.
This was the first time that a series premiered on Facebook Live, and more than 7 million people watched it - 835,000 on that first showing. It generated more than 55,000 Facebook likes and 7,000 comments.