An interview with the team that created the Little Gordon campaign

@Kevin | Strategy

Last month I did a post on Marketing Pilgrim that was critical of the Little Gordon campaign. I felt that the campaign had great content but faltered a little in the execution. Of course this analysis was based off of looking at it from an outsiders perspective. In order to be fair and garner some insider knowledge of the campaign I reached out to the creators of the campaign to ask some questions. With the help of Emma Stockley I was put in contact with the proper people. (Thanks Emma!) When you hear the internal thought process about the campaign and what Rebel Virals, the company behind the campaign, were shooting for it sways my position to say the campaign was a success and my vision was limited in seeing what they accomplished.

The concept and execution of the video on this campaign was amazing. How did you come up with the concept?

Research indicated an industry with teamwork and rich personalities at its heart. We wanted to bring that out, while giving it a newsworthy twist – in this case by leveraging one of the most talked about chefs in the industry.

This was briefed as a single-shot viral campaign, but our concept enabled us to create three videos and an outtakes film within budget – maximising impact by turning it into a series. Although this was a low-budget campaign, high-production values were essential.

The child actor that played Little Gordon was pretty much perfect. How long did it take to find the right kid to play Little Gordon?

Finding the right kid was key – he needed to be confident and very responsive to direction. We held a nationwide casting to find him. He was an absolute pro and we were delighted with the results.

What were/are the goals of this campaign? Do you feel like you achieved them?

Driving traffic among active job seekers is something Caterer.com does well – through SEO, direct response and advertising. In this campaign our primary objective was to raise brand awareness among those not currently job-seeking, so that when the time came to look for employment, Caterer.com would have increased familiarity.

Brand awareness was judged against the following metrics; number of views, blog coverage and PR. PR was delivered through international online and offline coverage and a 10% increase in site traffic was seen deriving from brand search. We totally smashed our ambitious target metrics for both views and blog coverage.

This wasn’t just about online – we also wanted to connect with less web-savvy audiences, and particularly those who currently find recruitment through offline channels. Reaching them through editorial content in newspapers was crucial – and why the campaign needed to be PR-worthy.

The PR coverage the viral received was outstanding, achieving radio and TV inclusion – even Jay Leno’s tonight show featured the viral –  indicative of the extent and quality of PR the viral generated. Gordon Ramsay himself referenced and promoted the content in interviews and at live events, and considering there’s no official relationship between Caterer.com and the chef, that was incredible exposure for the brand.

In addition to the viral a campaign microsite was developed, not as the core focus or destination for mass traffic, but a page created to serve Caterer’s eDM database and deliver continuity from the emails. In the main, rather than seeding a low-key corporate microsite, we focused on seeding well-known channels like YouTube that our target audiences were familiar with.

Data capture wasn’t a campaign metric, but the microsite delivered significant numbers of relevant leads – which is testament to how the campaign resonated with industry professionals. The microsite’s popularity was hugely encouraging and in development of future campaigns may take a more central focus.

According to (Compete, Alexa, Quantcast) the videos have seen another recent upswing in traffic, what do you attribute that to?

Little Gordon has been signed by Gordon Ramsay’s TV production company and will soon feature on TV. The coverage and promotion is driving renewed interest in the videos.

Where do you think the areas of improvement  are in this campaign? What lessons have you learned from this?

As we all know and are experiencing, this landscape is changing very quickly – what seems obvious now was less so a year ago. Twitter for example was in its early stages in the UK back in 2007 when the campaign was pitched – let alone among our target audience.  We would have loved to have given more of a bookmarking push; it was included in the campaign, but the budget to give it more emphasis would have been ideal.  With hindsight, we would definitely leverage the microsite more, making a greater play of sharing.

In answer to the comment about a more sustained social media presence, we made the decision not to create numerous social network accounts/groups and in the long-term under-service them. Similarly we were determined not to capture loads of data on the promise of future comic instalments – as there were no more films in the pipeline.

Bottom-line, there’s always more you can do. A mobile marketer would probably ask why there was no iPhone app, or a promo marketer would blast us for leaving out a competition mechanic. We had to make choices that were right for our target audience – promoting it as hard as we could with the resources at our disposal.

What we are left with are outstanding campaign results and a case study both Caterer.com and Rebel Virals are very happy with. We also have masses of ammunition in the bag to demonstrate ROI going forward – and help companies to justify and take the leap with integrated social media activity.

I want to thank the people over at Rebel Virals for showing us some of the strategy behind the curtain. It is much appreciated.

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