AToMiC Awards: Getting up close and (very) personal

PFAFF, WWF and Google offer personalized experiences to woo consumers.

The intimate outreach of über-personalized marketing has only just begun.

“With technology evolving the way that it is, and people starting to expect a personalized experience online, it’s [become] the future of marketing,” says Monica Ruffo, CEO at Lowe Roche.

This time last year, Ruffo’s Toronto agency went personal for PFAFF Automotive Partners, taking photos of Porsches parked in the driveways of affluent Canadians and then leaving them with the photos as part of a direct mail campaign.

“This is a target that appreciates, if not expects, personalized service,” says Ruffo, adding that the campaign paid off, with 32% of those who received a photo responding by visiting the website where they could book a test drive.

When the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) launched the second iteration of its “National Sweater Day” campaign last year, it too went personal, enlisting older retired actors to personally call Canadians (instead of pre-recording messages) days before Earth Hour to remind them to turn down their heat and put on a sweater. Over 1.6 million Canadians participated in the program – a 55% increase from the previous year.

“By having a real live granny call, you increase the odds of your intended audience remembering and acting on it because it’s done in an unignorable and entertaining way,” says Angus Tucker, partner and co-CD at John St, the agency behind the campaign.

Google also went personal to reach a niche audience, with the help of  Zulu Alpha Kilo, when it launched the “Open Kitchen+ Project” for its platform G+.  Google partnered with Jamie Kennedy and seven other top chefs to broadcast an exclusive live cooking event via G+ and YouTube for Toronto’s local food community. Prior to the March 2012 event, the brand documented the chef’s meal planning and posted the footage to the page. The community grew to 6,000 and is still cooking on G+.

The Hardware

Best Niche Targeting: Gold – PFAFF “Instant DM” / Lowe Roche
AToMiC CSR: Silver / Best Digital Engagement: Bronze – WWF “Sweater Day” / John St.
Best Niche Targeting: Silver – Google “Open Kitchen+ Project” / Zulu Alpha Kilo