Skype campaign derides the lack of social in social media

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Skype seeks to bring the "human" side back to the conversation
Skype seeks to bring the "human" side back to the conversation

The Offer: Skype is aiming to give consumers in the U.K. what it calls a “one way ticket back to humanity.” In a campaign developed by full-service agency Pereira & O'Dell, Skype portrays itself as providing a more enriching and focused social experience than Facebook or Twitter. The goal is to demonstrate the breadth of Skype's communication services, which extend beyond face-to-face video calling. A landing page (itstimefor.skype.com) delineates Skype's full range of offerings, including mobile calling, screen sharing and instant messaging. A Facebook app will allow fans to create their own “Humoticons:” a sharable personal emoticon based on their own facial features.

The Data: Spend for the multichannel push is roughly the equivalent of $12 million.

The Channel: The global initiative kicked off with out-of-home collateral, including posters and bus wraps in the London Underground, and digital posters on bus shelters throughout the city. The company even hired a “town crier” to read aloud all tweets tagged with #SXSW and #Skype at Austin's SXSW last March.

The Creative: Skype regularly tweets “Rules of Human Engagement,” for example rule #11: “Tell stories with gestures and expressions,” and rule #24: “Reply all is not a group discussion.” All tweets include the hashtag #timeforskype.

The Verdict:

Yuchun Lee is VP of enterprise marketing management at IBM Industry Solutions and also serves on the DMA's board of directors. Lee, founder of Unica (now part of IBM), began his first software company while still in high school. He was also a member of MIT's notorious blackjack team. Read our Q&A with Yuchun for more.

This is an interesting and witty campaign, and I like Skype's efforts to bring the “human” back to the conversation. Yet, by demonstrating the negative aspects of social media interaction, Skype limits itself to using only traditional marketing efforts. It could also cause Skype to miss out on targeting its key demographic where it spends the majority of its time.

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