Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country that has, ironically, its own national drink. The multicultural background of the country has led to a unique combination of traditions among its people. One of those traditions is drinking Raki, the strong anice-based liqueur with %45-50 percent alcohol. Yes, that strong.
As the leading alcohol manufacturer of Turkey, Mey Alc. Beverages holds almost %90 of the Raki market, thanks to its flagship brand Yeni Raki, which is the specific brand we did this campaign for. Yeni Raki, although not the smoothest of all Rakis, is the oldest and therefore the most preferred brand of all.
Yeni Raki traditions dictate that you drink it during a meal, in the company of loved ones, taking time to finish each glass while leaving enough room for long, respectful conversations. This makes it a different drink than others where the object is usually to get drunk or relax. With Raki, the objective is to converse with others and enjoy their friendship. Because of these reasons a Raki drinking table lasts a minimum of 3-4 hours. At these tables, getting drunk is frowned upon. The quality you bring to the table and the conversation states your standing among mates.
There are very strict regulations and limitations on how you can promote alcohol in Turkey. Ads are only allowed on print; magazines and newspapers. No TV commercials. No billboards. And lately, with the new law, no more sponsorships of any kind. In addition to these, there are very high taxes on alcohol products. Therefore, we drink the most expensive drinks in the world, although GDP per capita is lower (around 8,500$) than that of many, many other countries.
Because of all these reasons, PR is the most important contributor for Mey’s success in Turkey. And internet is the most important medium. We are therefore applying with this campaign we did for Yeni Raki, which has since attracted attention from many media organs, competitors and contests.
Around this time last year, at the beginning of 2010, Yeni Raki told us about their new ad campaign. It was called “THE NEW COMMUNICATION GIANT”. The whole campaign was based on posters that were slightly mocking GSM service providers, who are always claiming to be the “best communicator”. Yeni Raki’s approach, along with many smart plays on words, was to say that “We are the best communicator, not phone companies.” And the campaign started with teaser posters all around cities, hinting that a “New GSM provider is coming”.
The campaign also had a webpage, on which there was a very traditional looking man, called Yakup Abi (on the right), saying to every visitor things like: “Leave this site and go talk to your friends” or “Stop being on the net all the time and go have a drink in the real world.” He was, in a way, the face of the campaign, telling people that real communication happens in the real world.
It was at this point, when the campaign was first launched, that the brand managers asked us to encorporate it into social media.
So we came up with the idea to use this Yakup Abi character to mobilize bloggers.
1. We asked bloggers, through the Yakup Abi character, to write an article about what “real conversations” mean to them and then spread the call in social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed and Forums. The prize was a free dinner and a real published book consisting of their articles, for the first 100 contributors.
2. We did not tell them to specifically write about Yeni Raki, but %90 of them mentioned the brand, with no enforcement. Also, we did not just tell this to a few popular bloggers, we counted every one of them as equal, so even the small-time bloggers thought we cared and there was a very positive perception of the brand in social media conversations.
3. In just 2 weeks, we received 108 articles.
4. These articles were all published on www.yakupabi.com , a blog we created for the fictional character created. There were backlinks to all blogs.
5. Project visuals (posters) were shared a total of 143.238 times and the Facebook page for the campaign gathered 1578 fans.
6. In the end, 94 bloggers participated in the dinner we organized at a traditional style Turkish restaurant.
7. The character Yakup Abi was present.
8. All bloggers were presented with a copy of the “Book of Real Conversations”, with their articles in it.
9. The conversations around the event still continue to this day, after almost 1 year.
10. All bloggers shared photos after dinner on their blogs.
11. The articles written are still alive on www.yakupabi.com and the page ranks on the first page of a google search with the brand name “Yeni Raki”.
12. KEY FACT: The ad campaign was based around the idea of making people talk to each other face to face. Our campaign made digital junkies leave their computers and have a wonderful night together, which was in perfect harmony with the ad campaign idea. We also presented them an ever-lasting memory, a published book with their articles in it.
13. For the first time in Turkey, more than 100 bloggers were involved in one event. They were all equals and had an equal chance. We did not choose them, they chose us.