Bringing online and offline worlds together

Kraft recently launched one of its largest digital campaign efforts for its Philadelphia Cream Cheese brand. The campaign, which aimed to broaden the appeal of the food item, included a strong social media component but it also incorporated offline tactics, such as event marketing and advertising.

By combining various digital elements including online video, e-mail and banner ads with offline tactics, the company hopes to elevate its Internet marketing strategy in order to truly reach consumers where they are located – be it on a social network, in front of the TV or out grocery shopping.

While more and more online tools and communities emerge every day, marketers are finding that integrating offline and online tactics creates a more consistent marketing message but also achieves a better acquisition rate.

The Kraft “Real Women of Philadelphia” campaign launched in March with celebrity chef Paula Deen as the voice of a contest that encourages real life cooks to engage with the Philadelphia brand.

The campaign includes two parts: an online casting audition for cooks to show off their best Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipes by submitting their videos to in April. This was followed by a competition in which 16 finalists competed in a live cook-off in Savannah, GA, in May.

“We’ve done digital in the past, but not quite like this,” says Adam Butler, senior associate brand manager at Kraft Foods. “The idea was how do we elevate our digital marketing and not just do banner ads and search, but build big platforms that can expand and continue to live online.”

Tip Box: Coordinating a
cross-channel approach

Coordinated and effective integration across an organization’s marketing strategy is often considered the ultimate achievement. Here are a few tips for bringing this kind of thinking into your marketing program.

  • Use interactive features to speak to consumers across channels, such as encouraging social media followers to make use of an online coupon or printing online reviews for in-store signage.

“The Internet is an interactive medium, and we have the tools to reach out and talk to people on our website,” notes Adam Butler, senior associate brand manager at Kraft Foods. “You should make your creative campaign take advantage of these tools.”

  • Use out-of-home signage to build your e-mail and mobile list as Southwest Airlines did for a recent campaign, promoting its new destination of Panama City, FL.

Dana Williams, director of Southwest’s marketing and communications, notes that using multiple touchpoints can also show you how a customer would like to be communicated with in the future.

  • Drive traffic to your offline events through social media

Kraft took a recent campaign 360 degrees when it leveraged social media to drive interest in a live cook-off competition that began with online video submissions.

  • Use popular search terms in e-mail subject lines

Lisa Hendrikson, VP, retention and customer experience at, points out that you can take findings from one channel and apply them to another. If a keyword performs well in search, try testing it in an e-mail campaign.


Later this summer, the four winning cooks will be named the “Real Women of Philadelphia,” which comes with a talent contract for $25,000. They’ll also have the opportunity to host their own weekly online cooking show on and be featured in a cookbook that highlights the community’s favorite cream cheese recipes, which will be released in November.

Social entertainment agency Eqal created the campaign, and digital agency Digitas, DEI Worldwide, OgilvyAction and The KraftOne team also worked on various components of the campaign.

The team hopes an integrated campaign such as this will energize consumers to get involved with the brand. The public has submitted 5,500 videos so far, and the microsite has received more than half a million views, reports Eqal.

“If you can get these consumers to interact with the creative rather than just passively seeing a television commercial, you have a more engaged consumer,” says Greg Goodfried president of Eqal. “Word-of-mouth advertising is the most valuable advertising. We are tying to engage this community and encourage them to become the evangelists so that they are telling their peers.”

Butler adds that the brand hopes to build a new group of customers that it can continually market to in the future. It expects that Deen will help it to tap into her existing community. “We would really like to build a database of people that we can remarket to,” he adds.

Banner and TV ads and a YouTube homepage takeover are encouraging consumers

to participate. On the day of the takeover, the initial ad received 51 million hits. Deen also sends out her own tips and tricks, and weekly videos with recipes featuring the cream cheese, through her and Kraft’s social networks.

Other integration models for the campaign include a social media component that will solicit consumers to sign up for Kraft’s regular e-mail newsletters. Kraft also plans to begin a Philadelphia Cream Cheese-specific e-mail program that targets this database later this year.

For its Velveeta brand, Kraft also integrated social media — a tactic that is driving much of the company’s future digital efforts, says Butler — with various digital channels to help expand its perception as an ingredient for any meal. The goal was to increase sales to women under 35 who were buying Velveeta around the holidays for one or two specific dishes, but did not consume it on a regular basis.

Kraft worked with its digital and PR agency Edelman to create a social media campaign called “Velveeta it!” that incorporated the voices of popular food bloggers, which it dubbed “Kitchenistas.” The bloggers posted daily recipes using Velveeta to their own blogs as well as the brand’s social media pages and a dedicated campaign microsite. The five-week, $180,000-campaign, which ran from late September 2009 to the end of October, also used daily contests and sweepstakes to help build its customer list and increase engagement.

“The Kitchenistas program was about making personal connections with our consumer and giving her information about how to use Velveeta and the ability to connect with other Velveeta consumers,” says Sherina Smith, brand manager at Velveeta.

The chance to win a prize pack containing groceries and cooking tools encouraged consumers to share their own recipes and to comment on each others’ recipes. The blogger audiences were also encouraged to become fans of the Velveeta Facebook page. Velveeta now has about 8,000 Facebook fans.

Velveeta is now remarketing to this audience and using this database to keep up an ongoing social marketing program, says Smith.

“The whole program is built around the idea of getting consumers to interact with the brand and the community,” adds Christine Beardsell, VP group creative director of Digitas. “We were regularly seeding the site with new and engaging content to give them a reason to keep coming back for more.”

For Kraft, it doesn’t matter what kind of grocery product they are selling; online marketing will continue to play a big role.

“This is a strategic shift,” says Butler. “It is a challenge for Kraft to do digital bigger and better and think about growing and germinating digital communities online.”

Like Kraft, Southwest Airlines finds that a crosschannel approach to marketing is the best way to speak to customers no matter where they are. The airline uses e-mail, mobile, social media, TV, airport signage, offline events, loyalty programs and print to reach its passengers.

“Our target market, which is 25 to 54, is using all these different channels, and we want to make sure that they’re getting our messaging no matter where they are,” says Dana Williams, director of marketing and communications at Southwest Airlines. “We want to make sure we are communicating across channels.”

In April, the airline ran a campaign to promote its new destination, Panama City, FL.

The “Win the ultimate city Panama City beach vacation” campaign included social media, e-mail marketing, radio, TV, a tweetup in Panama City, as well as airport signage and special T-shirts donned by Southwest employees.

While Southwest finds offline marketing tactics, such as out-of-home and events marketing, remain core to its integrated marketing mix, the brand has been doing less print and direct mail in recent years.

“We do out-of-home but we don’t do as much print anymore, because it is not as effective as it once was,” says Williams.

The emerging mobile channel, though, plays an important role in Southwest’s integrated digital strategy. Earlier this year, the airline launched an iPhone app and began providing mobile flight alerts. It promotes the mobile flight alerts with airport signage and on flights. In addition, users are encouraged to opt-in to receive e-mail alerts through this signage.

Case study: A visual brand promise

When your product is more complicated than cream cheese, part of your brand challenge is teaching potential customers how the item functions before they tune out.

That was the case for Wacom, a Japanese manufacturer of digital pens and tablets. Although the company is more than two decades old, it found it needed to raise additional brand awareness among the design community and then to teach people how to use the technology.

The result was a cross-channel approach that it called “Power of the Pens.” Wacom worked with digital agency to create an online community where designers could see artist profiles to learn tips on how to use the Wacom tools. Twelve participating artists with different specialties documented their creative process and then showed their final work in Wacom’s “Artist showcase.” Wacom sent e-mails to its list of 200,000, ran banner ads and used social media to promote the effort.

“Our goal was to get people back to the site where they could learn how to use the products,” says Dylan T. Boyd, VP Sales & Strategy at (Wacom representatives were not immediately available for comment.)

The campaign ran for 14 days. It saw more than 61,000 visitors from across the globe; 2,000 users uploaded photos to share; and Wacom added more than 2,000 new subscribers to its e-mail list.

“We are in such an interesting time right now in the way that we are consuming our media and this can help improve the customer experience while traveling,” says Williams. “Most likely when you are traveling you have your smartphone with you and can use it to keep up on flight information.”

Another Southwest campaign called “Bags Fly Free” ran during March Madness. The campaign included social media, TV and an interactive banner ad. The banner ad that ran across the Web asked consumers to share what they thought airlines would charge for next. Consumers could write their response directly into the banner ad and once approved it would show up in a scrolling feed. The online component tied into an ongoing marketing platform for the airline.

“Our brand positioning is about giving our customers a great experience,” says Williams. “So why would we charge for bags like other airlines?” Southwest works with a variety of agencies to take this cross-channel approach, including its agency of record, Austin-based GSD&M; Wunderman, which handles its Rapid Rewards loyalty program; VML, which does digital advertising for the airline; and Responsys for e-mail marketing.

Traditional direct marketer 1-800-Flowers champions an integrated approach and says it is constantly testing to tweak its approach to marketing. The brand uses a combination of direct mail, catalogs, e-mail, search, display, social media and mobile.

Experian’s Cheetahmail handles its e-mail, while Digby handles mobile responsibilities and Nitro does digital.

“We are constantly testing these channels, and we try to be as nimble as possible,” says Kevin Ranford, director of web marketing at

In its recent Mother’s Day campaign, the company used the tagline “Spot a Mom” across channels which included social media, display, e-mail, mobile and TV. The campaign, designed by Nitro, encouraged consumers to find the moms in their lives, be it their own mothers, friends or family members that are moms, and treat them to a special Mother’s Day gift.

“You’ve got offline, traditional online, and new and emerging channels rallying around this central holiday theme,” adds Ranford. “We like to engage with our shoppers in an interesting way to celebrate the holiday and having a brand theme rather than a discount message helps us to rally an emotional connection.”

Despite using a number of channels, the company says it remains mindful of sending too many messages, too frequently. The brand watches for un-subscribes and opt-outs in e-mail and mobile, as well as de-“likes” on Facebook. Ranford says that the brand changes messaging and frequency to address this issue.

Like many other brands, the flower retailer uses different channels to inform the others. For example, if a search term is very popular and doing well, the brand will use this term in an e-mail subject line or if a mobile message has success, it will likely makes its way into social media. Finding a way to capture and then merge the lessons from all of these channels is what makes for a great Internet marketing — and an overall marketing — strategy, say experts.

“If there are consistent learnings in two or three channels, then we’ll push that messaging across the other channels,” says Ranford. “That is the great thing about digital. You can learn in real time and strategize across channels.”

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