Festival of Media Asia: Why look beyond advertising?

By , Marketing-Interactive, Singapore | In Media | November 16, 2011
Consumer engagement dominated the morning session at the Festival of Media Asia, with Unilever's Rahul Welde and Facebook's Carolyn Everson, talk about how they ensure an ongoing rapport with the consumers.

Huge changes are taking place within the communication ecosystem and according to Rahul Welde, vice-president, media, for Unilever Asia, Africa, West Asia, Turkey, and Russia, these are exciting times as it gives marketers the opportunity to connect with their consumers in multiple ways like never before.

Welde was speaking at the morning session on 'Driving value through innovation' at the inaugural Festival of Media Asia.

Experiences and interaction are two key focus areas for Unilever, Welde added, citing the examples of its campaigns for ice-the cream brand Magnum, and shampoo brand Clear.

In promoting the new Belgium chocolate flavour, the brand wanted to build a consumer experience around the new product, and to do this it launched the first 'Magnum Cafe' in Jakarta. The cafe was successful in creating over half-a-million conversations on Twitter within days of its launch.

"This was not just a one-off campaign, but we are able to engage our audience through a long-term brand experience. We even had people approaching us as they wanted to franchise the Magnum café," Welde said.

Another example Welde cited was that of Unilever's shampoo brand Clear, in China. Hoping to make the brand part of the popular culture, it built a 36-episode TV drama around it. The programme 'Unbeatable' followed the workings of a PR agency, with the shampoo brand being the agency's client.

As an extension of the series, the brand also created a music video, mobile magazine, and a MSN social game. The TV drama was a hit among the Chinese consumers and resulted in building a large following for the brand both online and offline.

"We love success, but we love experimenting more," he said.

In the previous session, Carolyn Everson, vice-president, global marketing solutions, too, touched upon the topic of engagement and how Facebook was pioneering that in the social media space.

There are over two billion comments posted on Facebook daily, and it's now the number one site for photos, Everson said. And, with new features such as Facebook Timeline and Sponsored Stories, the level of engagement is only going to go up.

According to her, offline and online worlds for consumers are coming together at a scale we've never seen before, and thus marketers are losing out on value if their TV or outdoor campaigns do not have social media elements woven in.

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