Skype are known for 1-2-1 video calling but far fewer people know about Skype’s paid services – which included ‘pay as you go’ prepay cards. Skype were keen to raise awareness of its newly launched prepay cards. Skype’s prepay cards are physical cards sold at retailers that allow users to top up their Skype credit or paid subscriptions. Skype wanted to engage a socially savvy mobile audience with a campaign that emphasized how Skype can be used to help people share smiles with friends and family whenever they are apart, and from anywhere. We partnered with renowned artist Mister Batlow to create a series of five 100 square feet painted murals. The artwork took inspiration from Skype’s iconic emoticons – each depicting a specific kind of smile. The murals were spliced into small pieces and applied to the back of 3,500 Skype prepay cards. Effectively, each card became a small piece of original artwork but remained a redeemable voucher. We then created an interactive art wall at one of London’s key commuter hotspots outside Waterloo station consisting of five calling card murals layered one on top of each other. As each passer-by took their piece, the emoticon below was slowly revealed. Each layer featured an even bigger smile – a visual manifestation of the smiles the cards would help spread when converted into Skype minutes. Street teams on-site were on-hand to answer questions about Skype’s services, help people to redeem credit and locate retailers nearby stocking the cards. The interactive display attracted more than 10,000 people in a single day and 3,500 of them took away a piece of Mr Batlow’s artwork with attached Skype credit. We filmed people who took a piece of credit and asked them which friend or loved one they planned on making smile over Skype can captured some wonderful customer stories we used to generate a storytelling video hosted on Skype.com’s product pages. Our community team ran live updates across Skype’s Facebook and Twitter presences – live tweeting and posting throughout the day as the mural changed expression, reaching 2.1 million UK based targeted fans across Skype’s channels. To spread the word further in social media, we developed an interactive themed widget and distributed to UK-based bloggers. The widget appeared as a digital mural that bloggers could host in their side bar as a game exclusively for their readers. Most of the time, readers would simply see a sidebar ad for Skype credit. However, at certain times a day the digital mural came to life with a smile. When the widget was active, the bloggers’ readers could click on the tiles revealing the layer beneath. Clicking on all the squares displayed a code that could be immediately redeemed for Skype calling credit directly from the widget. Leanne Johnson. Head of Social at Skype, had this to say: “Launching prepay cards represented a tough brief from a creative point of view. While awareness was our major focus, we knew we needed to turn heads and start conversations. What we loved about this campaign was that it used our actual product and made it into a conversational experience in real life and in social. Despite limited budget and resources, I’m particularly pleased that prepay card campaign is now used internally in case studies of great marketing with Microsoft brand family." Pay-as-you-go top up cards are not inherently conversational or covetable objects, and there was and there was an awareness challenge to overcome, without a paid media budget. The activation took something as relatively uninspiring as a ‘pay-as-you-go’ top up card and turned it into a social and sharable experience with the product at the center. The offline elements: The prepay card mural attracted 10,000 people in a single day, with 3,500 of those engaged taking away credit in the form of artwork to call a friend or family member. The online elements: There were 1,400 mentions of the activity across social media on the day – over 25x the average daily quotient of Skype / pre-pay card conversation – successfully driving awareness among target UK consumers. This conversation resulted in 2.1 million people being reached on Twitter and Facebook through social posts (organic – with no media spend). Widgets created for UK bloggers received 28,800 organic interactions and ensured 450 virtual cards were put in the hands of users during the campaign period resulting in increased awareness. We effectively reached our target audience with consistently surprising experiences across multiple channels and achieved a CPE of $0.50 – beating pre-campaign KPIs by 500%. The campaign is now being used as an example of creative social marketing within the Microsoft (Skype’s parent brand) global marketing team.
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