While it bears no relation to the movie “The Ring”, Organic’s recently launched online campaign for Sony Ericsson’s new line of Walkman phones does dispel its own sense of mystery and adventure.
Playing off the concept of community-centric “Web rings”, Organic marked its first marketing endeavor with Sony Ericsson by implementing what it dubs an “ad ring”, wherein users experience a chain of interconnected conversations that take place in video ads on 18 different sites.
“This really came about very naturally,” Matt Rosenberg, Engagement Director at Organic, tells ADOTAS. “We were approached about building a face site to promote the Walkman phones. Starting with the existing tagline “Where Will it Take You?”, the thinking that we [did was] around how the cell phones are really the connective tissue of our current social existence. So when we started to actually sketch it out, it became clear that this did not need to just have a life as a media site, this could be the ad campaign.”
Within the ad ring, users are led to 20 different individual ad units, or “episodes”, showing a chain of conversations and connections of twenty characters using their Walkman music phones while slyly demonstrating their features—each episode serving as a building block to a larger story line. When users click-through the ad unit on one site after watching the video, they are whisked away to a conversation on a different site.
“The tagline, “Where Will it Take You?”, allowed us to envision a story that takes the user not only on a tour of the phone, but also on a tour of the Internet,” Rosenberg explains. “Each individual episode would drive [users], not necessarily back to the website but also to the website, but to the next surprise destination. It was a little difficult to convey that through media because sites are very used to driving traffic back to an advertiser site, but they’re not completely used to driving from their property to another advertiser’s property.
He continues, “So we had to do a lot of analysis around who would be willing to drive to another site, and we had to take out a few potential competitive issues—this is not one of them, but you can imagine that Yahoo would not want to drive to an AOL.”
Instead, Organic provides the example whereby users clicking on the ad unit on Maxim.com are lead to another ad unit on ComedyCentral.com. Included among the other 18 websites in the “ring” are TheOnion.com and Backpacker.com. Additionally, Organic states that to ensure the user finds the next video in the sequence, Sony Ericsson owns a 100% share of voice on the destination pages, in addition to run-of-site and targeted advertising.
Initially launched on October 12th, Organic’s “ad ring” promoting Sony Ericsson’s W810i and W300 Walkman phones will continue leading Web users in circles through the end of the year. For Rosenberg and the Organic crew, paving the pathway wasn’t easy, but it’s paid off in the end. “We had to use pretty careful plotting of the route our tour would take,” he says. “It is a complete ring right now. If you start at episode 1, and you get through episode 20, it will go back to episode 1. It is a long train that you can ride, and we think it is really exciting.”
And to make it easy on the more time-pressed Web surfer, Organic has also created a one-stop microsite that features all 20 videos…but then again, that defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
Take a trip around the ad ring, beginning at Wherewillittakeyou.com