Social Media Successes in Latam

This post is also available in: Spanish

Despite lots of searching, so far, I haven’t found a ton. Why? First off, more than half of Latin American companies say they don’t have a social media presence, so adoption is far from total. Second, many firms may not want to share their secrets of social media success and lose a competitive edge. However, the successful case studies I did find offer some interesting insights into what works.

Pepsi Strips Down
At the most recent World Cup in 2010, Pepsi was not an official sponsor with all the benefits (and costs) that this would entail. But its ad agency noted that Diego Maradona, coach of Argentina’s team, promised he’d do a naked victory lap around Buenos Aires’ obelisk if his team won. So Pepsi created a campaign in which it promised to also go nude if Argentina won: it would strip its labels off of its bottles for a week. The company ran print ads that showed a Pepsi-shaped bottle with only a blue label that featured the promise to go “nude.” Pepsi complemented the print campaign with a Facebook contest. Fans could upload photos of themselves wearing only a tag that had the message from the print campaign: “Si DT se desnuda, nosotros también” (If the director técnico—coach—strips, so will we). Fans uploaded around 14,000 nearly nude photos. And while avoiding heavy-duty sponsorship fees, Pepsi ended up being one of the four soft drink brands that consumers associated with the World Cup—the other three were paying sponsors.

Bancolombia Reaches Out
Rather than create a social media effort tied to a specific campaign like Pepsi, Bancolombia’s efforts are ongoing. Basically, they use Facebook and Twitter to allow their customers to tell them about problems—and they offer solutions, right away. It’s not much different than what Best Buy did with Twitter a while ago. Bancolombia also tells its fans and followers about special promotions, posts its commercials on YouTube and spreads the word out about current campaigns running in other forms of media. The combination of one-way communication (promotions supported by ads in other media) plus two-way communication (answering customer questions and solving problems) has earned Bancolombia 49,000 Facebook fans, 14,000 Twitter followers and 114,000 views of their YouTube videos.

Doritos Feeds Social Media
In Argentina, Doritos didn’t start out with a specific social media campaign. Instead, it researched its target audience of young people and created a media campaign to bring them closer together via slow dancing. Blogs, social media chatter and other sources suggested that this is what young Argentines wanted. As it turns out, clubs in the country favored pulsating techno music, not exactly a romantic choice. So the campaign centered on bringing back slow dancing to the clubs with ads in different media and a website where people could sign a petition that Doritos would show club owners.
This campaign spurred a spontaneous social media campaign by the audience. An event sprung up with a specific goal: get together to slow dance in Buenos Aires’ Planetarium club. Social media, acting like high-tech word of mouth, spread the word. Eventually 4,000 people got together to dance. In the process, the cause sparked 33 Facebook groups with 20,000 members and 200,000 views on YouTube, as well as TV coverage for the actual event. The social media coverage lifted the brand’s profile while helping spike sales.

Lessons Learned

  • Social media does not take the place of “traditional” media—it complements those campaigns by reaching people another way and letting them interact with the brand
  • Social media spreads the word—and what grabs attention is a benefit for end users like discounts, contests or special sales
  • Think about your customers’ general needs when creating a campaign—even if it doesn’t directly or obviously relate to your brand
  • Create a positive, creative event people can participate in—airline Colombiana Aires ran a Facebook contest in which people uploaded videos and photo montages to win tickets to a Peter Manjarrés concert held in the air on a Bogotá to Cartagena flight 

To learn more about how we can help you reach Latin America with a customized campaign, contact us at info@usmediaconsulting.com.

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