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Special Project

Special Project
From the 6th Annual Shorty Awards

Cisco's Network Convergence System Launch Campaign

Entered in B2B


To promote one of its biggest new product launches in the last five years, Cisco took a unique and creative approach to humanize the new megarouter called the Cisco Network Convergence System (NCS). The NCS was designed to meet the demands of the Internet of Everything (IoE), Cisco’s flagship campaign defined as connecting people, processes, data and things. In its first step to a more creative approach, Cisco used three Internet videos that capture hilariously unsuccessful attempts to solve problems as a way to illustrate how the current technology offered by Cisco competitors are not set up to meet the increasing demands of the IoE and why Cisco NCS is the solution for today’s big Internet service providers. The first video shows a boat dragging a crane into the water, versus the other way around. The copy reads: “The Internet of Everything demands the ability to handle workloads we can’t quite imagine. So we’re introducing a system that redefines workload capacity." The brand idea is then reinforced with the tagline that NCS is “Built for the workload of everything." The two other YouTube videos were equally as funny (one shown below), highlighting how NCS is “built for the intelligence of everything." In just the first six weeks, social promotions around these social videos garnered more than 5,000 total video views. In its next step, Cisco partnered with Vine celebrities to develop artistic interpretations of the benefits of the NCS on the consumer level to showcase when IoE is done right, service providers can impact even the smallest aspects of the consumers’ lives. Although they were abstract, all four Vines took a unique perspective on the prompt “Cisco NCS can support trillions of transactions." While each Vine was distinct, one common theme came up, that the IoE requires a system pretty substantial to withhold the ability to connect everything from ambulance to phone to even a banana. This fresh content from Cisco was eye-catching, interesting and helped establish Cisco as a creative thought leader in an innovative new field. The campaign led to great results with more than 11,000 revines, 1,400+ “likes" on the Vines and 1,600+ comments combined on all four Vines. In addition to the creative social videos and Vines, Cisco ran social graphics on its Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages as supplements to further hone down the key messages to its target audience and to drive excitement for Cisco’s innovation. Social graphics ran for two months to highlight NCS’ capabilities in everyday life—how a traffic signal can alert your alarm clock of traffic congestion--- as well as three months of Trivia graphics to better engage the audience to better understand how Cisco enables some of the most common household electronics such as tablets, TVs, and smartphones. The team truly approached this campaign from all angles and its results proved successful. The campaign generated 14 million impressions and more more than 6,300 online conversations. Trying to tell a story with a very technical product is challenging for many B2B brands. Many struggle to get their message across in a succinct and efficient way, but most of all, many of these brands struggle with creativity. Creativity is an essential component of effective marketing, and creativity was definitely the route Cisco took. Cisco took a chance and actually humanized their new router, the Network Convergence System (NCS). By incorporating user-owned videos with humorous scenarios, popular Vine celebrities and making the router’s benefits visual, Cisco was able to thoroughly tell its story and make it relatable to everyone – not just the technical crowd. The campaign was all encompassing of all things social. The integrated campaign used Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Vine, community, blogs, Storify and SlideShare. If there was an audience that needed to be reached, Cisco was going to reach them. Cisco knew they needed to find a creative way to showcase the campaign’s key messages that made sense to the global audience as they were targeting many regions, including, Latin America, Middle East, Europe, Asia-Pac and the United States. After sifting through a few dozen ideas and thousands of different humorous clips from around the world, Cisco decided on the top three clips that resonated best with all the different countries. This is one of the reasons why you won’t see anyone talking in any specific language in the series of three videos. Schadenfreude is also a sort of humor used in these family-friendly videos that are well understood and well-received by the global audience. It was the one humor the world has in common. A similar approach was used on the Vine effort. Rather than have Cisco create something new, they went straight to the source – the consumers who will see the most impact when everything in their lives are connected in the Internet of Everything. So Cisco asked four Vine celebrities located around the world (one from Singapore, and three from different parts of the U.S.) to provide their take on what this statement means: “Cisco NCS can support trillions of transactions." In total there were 32 social graphics, all of which were translated and localized by the Japan, Latin America, and the European teams. The regional teams’ overall feedback was considered for the graphics to make sure the content was relevant. Every aspect of the campaign always had something that was relevant for each demographic. The disruptive tech graphics appeal to the more technical audience. The IoE graphics appeal to the business decision makers. The Vine videos appeal to the tech-savvy consumers. The YouTube videos were specifically made to be easily shareable for the press and analysts who write industry articles (our secondary audience), and the trivia graphics were good for anyone who subscribes to services from a service provider. At the end of the day, while Cisco’s message resonated extremely well with their service provider audience, Cisco also made sure that this campaign was tied to their larger brand campaign – the Internet of Everything – and demonstrated that this product launch so obviously has real world implications for everyone and that this campaign was something that can be extended to a wide audience. Campaign tactics including teaser videos, announcements, blog posts and more were just the beginning of this very successful campaign. In its first six weeks of the campaign, Cisco garnered more than 14 million impressions, 17,000+ click-throughs and 1,100+ uses of the #SystemForIoE hashtag. The team’s Twitter following also grew by 650 while Facebook fans grew by 924. When compared to similar-caliber announcements from key competitors, Cisco created much higher results on all social networks almost multiplying impressions by four over the next closest competitor. Lead generation was a huge focus for this the social media team this year. Out of all the people who saw the Service Provider promotional posts driving to the NCS webcast registration page, 351 signed up by social media referral traffic. That means we added 350+ marketing qualified leads to Cisco. This is a true testament that strong social media efforts when executed properly can result in business leads.

Strategy and Execution


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Cisco and Golin Harris (agency) and Gyro (agency)


Entry Credits