Holmes Report 17 Aug 2011 // 11:00PM GMT
This project was not just about product PR, it was a social experiment demonstrating the power 21st century technology places at our finger tips, encouraging Poles to embrace this new era of social and digital communication. In doing so we aimed to eradicate the conventional perception in Poland whereby consumers consider themselves to be either ‘online’ or ‘offline’ at any one time: plugging the gap by proving that with an LG smartphone there is no such distinction.
Grayling devised and coordinated a PR campaign for the LG mobile phone division showcasing the technology capabilities of its smartphone handsets. The campaign was titled: The LG Social Experiment, with the key objective being to demonstrate the powerful range of web and social network functions for LG. The central concept involved a well-regarded Polish blogger being enclosed in a glass cube in central Warsaw for a week, with an LG smartphone and their pioneering SNS web access as his sole contact with the outside world during his confinement. The online presence the blogger was able to create in the digital space, including an impressive online network and following, was central to the campaign and communicated throughout the media, both online and offline, as his digital ‘onLife’. The volume of online noise he was able to generate powerfully demonstrated the power of LG devices.
• Promote the market-leading mobile solutions presented by LG smart phones and the power of connectivity of their its handsets, driving sales
• Demonstrate LG’s leadership as a fresh and effective communicator of its products; engaging with an alternative free thinking audience to enhance the brand through original PR and marketing techniques
A key challenge was preparing a campaign for LG’s smartphone range that leveraged as much buzz and coverage for the product as possible. This is despite the fact that handsets and their tech features were effectively ‘old news’ to the majority of journalists and media, having been available in the marketplace for some months prior to the campaign launch.
Additional market considerations included:
• Polish consumers are not as well educated on smartphones and their capabilities as in other Western markets: laptops and PC’s currently dominate digital communications
• LG is a market leader in the mobile phone sector, but company was not the “go to” brand for the smartphone segment.
Built around the hook of LG’s Social Experiment, LG wanted to prove, via the online activities of the incarcerated blogger, that the connectivity capabilities of LG smart phones are limitless: users can engage, communicate, interact and have fun in the online space without constraint and beyond the boundaries of regular web browser use.
For the PR roll-out, the campaign was supported by Grayling through both traditional media relation and dedicated digital communications, for which there was significant interest given the nature of the stunt. PR platforms included: two press conferences (held at the start and end of the event); 1:1 interviews with key media and LG spokespeople; and a host of online interviews, games and activities held with the blogger within his onLife space. This included an online puzzle whereby the online-public helped the blogger solve a riddle to secure his release from the cube.
To avoid any kind of Big Brother negative connotation or having the project dismissed by the media and public as a ‘marketing stunt’, the campaign was positioned as a social media experiment throughout, with Grayling securing the involvement of the renowned Polish sociologist and researcher, Tomasz Sobierajski, who oversaw all scientific aspects of the project.
1. Grayling recruited and cast the candidate blogger, selecting Patrick, to live in the glass cube in the heart of Warsaw for one week. As a well known tech/social media voice in the blogosphere, this was an ideal departure point for gaining early online traction for the project.
2. The only permitted contact with the outside world would be an LG smartphone with a web browsing and Facebook application. Outgoing / incoming calls and other functions (SMS, MMS etc.) were blocked on the device. The aim of our incarcerated blogger was to secure the biggest volume of new Facebook friends and followers of a custom-built blog, additionally encouraging people to play an augmented reality game which finally led to Patrick’s release from the glass cube. The experiment was controlled by the sociologist who was testing a hypothesis, pitting the strength of virtual relationships against conventional ones.
3. Patrick went into the cube in the first week of July 2010 after the launch press conference, which was attended by 60 journalists from the national dailies, TV and radio stations, weeklies and lifestyle media. Upon entering the glass house, Patrick switched to his online mode and began building his ‘onLife’. Grayling promoted Patrick’s Facebook profile and fan page, arranging interviews, providing quotes and positioning speakers from LG Electronics within the spectrum of Polish media presence.
4. One week later, we gathered journalists once more, as well as some of Patrick’s Facebook fans, who entered the 12 digit code revealed in an online puzzle to open the doors and release the subject of our social experiment. This was the first opportunity to speak with Patrick in person (beyond the online interviews conducted). Following the event, Grayling distributed press releases and leveraged multiple opportunities to promote the LG brand, its smartphone product range and the project itself using spokespeople and pre-prepared media content.
5. One month after the launch, additional media collateral was prepared and distributed summarising the sociological findings of the study by Tomasz Sobierajski.
a. The biggest advantage of the LG experiment was to emphasize the role of social networking vortals. It was possible to reach only by organizing an attractive, extraordinary event, that could be touched and observed by people.
b. Another important element of the LG experiment was to show that in a relatively short time, an unknown man can gather a big group of fans around him, that was showed on example of his Facebook profile.
c. The third important conclusion is the fact that it was not Patrick in the transparent ‘kubik’ room who was the most important part of the experiment but social networking site and almost thousand people who joined the action.
LG Electronics don’t reveal any data of increased sales of its products.
LG onLife campaign reached the advertising equivalent tenfold exceeding the value of the investment.
The experiment successfully demonstrated the advances of smart phone technology and the limitless opportunities provided by LG’s SNS access, successfully positioning the company as the market leader for mobile device connectivity.
70 target publications featured coverage, not only on the experiment itself, but also its proof points: that LG technology gives you infinite digital freedom, no matter what your circumstances!
Additionally the stunt was recognised as a brave and original project for demonstrating the important role social media has come to play in the 21st century.
Foot flow traffic to the bloggers glass home as a marketing ploy was also significant; becoming a minor tourist attraction in itself, thus further promoting the LG brand.
Additionally 16 1:1 interviews with Patrick and LG spokespeople featured in leading dailies / lifestyle media as well as full variety of additional TV and radio coverage across the media spectrum. In addition, Patrick gained more than 900 new friends on his Facebook profile and almost 2,500 fans on his fan page.