The Celebrity Tweeters Are Alive Again

Alicia Keys, Kim Kardashian and Lady GaGa are among several famous tweeters who died a “digital” death last week on World AIDS Day. For what has been referred to as the “digital death campaign,” several entertainers with Twitter followers in the millions, vowed to stay offline until they raised $1 million for Keep A Child Alive, a charity founded by Alicia Keys that provides first class AIDS care to families in Africa and India. To support their pleas, the celebrities filed a “last tweet and testament” video and appeared in ads showing them lying dead in coffins. With donations received by the public, the celebrities involved and a hefty donation from a wealthy philanthropist, the charity reached its goal in just over a week.

Not only did the initial headlines of this promotion grab my attention, I was intrigued to follow the campaign because one of our clients, GameDay Rugs, recently took part in a virtual stunt over Thanksgiving weekend, which proved to meet its goal as well. With Thanksgiving weekend welcoming some of the most historic games of the season, we convinced the newly launched online collegiate sports rug retailer to take part in a virtual stunt with the goal of capturing broader consumer awareness while playing on fan’s enthusiasm for rivalry and competition. Based on a play-on-words and symbolism of the #1 foam finger, we virtually ambushed several collegiate stadiums hosting some of the most celebrated matchups of the weekend. These ambushes, which were supported by photoshopped images shared on the company’s official Facebook Page, included blanketing stadium fields with giant rugs giving the home team “the finger,” which turned out to be a pointer finger -- fashioned as a #1 foam finger -- featuring the opposing team’s logo. Being equal opportunity offenders, we also helped the opposing team retaliate by designing similar images of the home team covering an area of the opposing team’s campus.

                                                 Auburn Gives Alabama the FingerAuburnAmbush_Bryant-Denny
To prepare for the campaign, research was our first step. Which games are the most historic? Which teams need to win to become bowl eligible? After a thorough analysis of the college football season, we focused on four critical Thanksgiving weekend games. With the games finalized and the design process in full swing, we drafted a timeline to support the campaign, including both a social marketing and media relations schedule beginning the week of the official rivalry weekend.

When the highly anticipated weekend arrived, we placed an image and tonque-and-cheek caption over the wire and outreached to relevant national and regional sports media. With the stunt happening online, we supported each ambush via social media, utilizing Facebook for advertising and sharing the images with the official social media properties of each school. Both platforms played a big part in getting the word out. Lastly, in the spirit of rivalries everywhere, big and small, we developed a promotion code to offer to fans nationwide for 30 percent off all orders (Promo code: GDRFinger).

As part of the campaign, we also wanted to connect with consumers on a face-to-face level. We worked with a staffing firm and secured onsite ambassadors at Atlanta area viewing bars, sporting custom sandwich boards and advising them to mingle with the fans, give away rugs and pass out promo cards.

In the end, the weekend’s events generated nearly 20 million media impressions and helped GameDayRugs.com have a stellar week of website traffic, up 228.6 percent from the previous week.

What are your thoughts on virtual stunts? Do you think they are worth it? Are there any recent stunts that caught your attention?

By Melissa Warren

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