For Old Navy’s 20th anniversary, they asked fans to share their birthday wishes with a selfie for a chance to have those wishes granted.
“We were challenged to do something that would not just speak to the brand or to ourselves, but really celebrate our consumer,” says Angela Scibelli, Old Navy’s Associate Marketing Manager of Digital and Social Innovation.
The campaign encouraged their fans to share birthday wishes and selfies on Twitter using #selfiebration with a chance to win whatever they wished for. But according to Angela, this campaign wasn’t just confined to social.
Their creative team developed a 20-foot tall machine to create selfie portraits from balloons.
Here’s how it worked: A customized tool pulled tweets to Old Navy with image links and #selfiebration, and a team of community managers worked around the clock to manually crop the photos and approve them. Once approved, the selfies were sent to machines set up in Times Square or Hollywood which inflated the balloons to recreate the photo.
As each portrait came to life, Old Navy captured it with a video, created a GIF, and tweeted it back to the consumer.
“Consumers weren’t anticipating getting a response like this, and we saw a lot of retweets and sharing. This was a really light way to reward everyone for participating even though we were only picking three contest winners.”
The winners: A single mom who wanted a new car, a newly engaged couple who needed their student loans paid off, and a family going on their first vacation.
To integrate it all, Angela’s team worked months in advance.
I truly don’t think we would have seen the numbers that we did had we not partnered with the rest of the marketing department.
For mobile and email integration, they sent email blasts internally to their entire consumer-facing distribution. Online, OldNavy.com included a splash page for the #Selfiebration that included a Twitter stream, explained the rules, and featured winners. And at Old Navy stores, they included a call to action on the bottom of their window advertising.
“In-store was tricky because we have so much in store signage already, but we got feedback from the field that people were asking questions about what the party was and how they could join in on Twitter.”
“PR was a really big win for us in this campaign,” says Angela.
She explains that to create a tech innovation like the #selfiebration machine, they had to go outside of their comfort zone.
“We didn’t know how we would be perceived as a brand trying to go into tech. Most people know us for performance fleece or fun commercials — nobody really sees us as innovative,” she explains.
So they took a two-pronged approach for PR, sending videos and content explaining the tech behind their #selfiebration machines to the likes of TechCrunch and Engadget, and sent marketing videos to the usual PR outlets like Adweek.
“We reached an entirely new audience we’ve never even tried to speak to before.”
Then, they split their media dollars between traditional promotion and influencers.
With half of the media budget going to social media influencers, they hired a total of ten people to generate hype online and in-person.
“We expected to get a lot more digital participation. What we didn’t expect to see were the mobs of fans waiting to meet the influencers who showed up,” Angela explains.
She says, for example, “Vine fans are a completely different breed. They are so engaged, they love the people they follow, and are such fanatics.”
In the end, she says having influencers on site was a big success.
As for opportunities for next time, Angela looks forward to broader reach and better logistics.
For example, she says small improvements like getting longer permitting periods for their on-site parties could have helped make the campaign smoother. She also looks forward to getting more store-level employees involved next year and extending the campaign to Instagram.
But for their first fully integrated marketing campaign, Angela says it was a success.
“I truly don’t think we would have seen the numbers that we did had we not partnered with the rest of the marketing department.”