There are a lot slick opportunities out there in search marketing. The wheels of progress have never been greasier. Yep, since people first started paying to be included in search results, a lot of smooth transactions have taken place.
Yet, for a whole lot of good reasons, search lacks certain criteria for brand building. Over the years, more than a few studies have measured engagement, and many brands have attempted to overcome the very simple transactional relationship search advertising has with its pay-for-clickers.
Paid search does not exist in a creative void. The process of enticing the click, encouraging engagement, and creating a relevant experience has led to more than its share of imaginative executions, and to be candid, I thought I’d seen it all. That is, until a recent search for “date night ideas.”
The only Google commercial result for date night on my mobile phone offering ideas was Johnson & Johnson’s K-Y Brand. Since my mobile screen grabber isn’t what it should be, let me offer you the pleasure of my text recreation of the ad:
K-Y DATE NIGHT Packs – facebook.com
Stay In & Enjoy A Free $40 Date Night Compliments Of K-Y Brand.
As if Valentine’s Day and the made up marketing romance holidays weren’t enough to bankrupt you, along came the date night concept. You can’t just go out anymore; couples have to have “date night,” because we all need more pressure to plan a good time.
K-Y’s date night campaign speaks to everyone fed up with the pressures of pulling together a special night beautifully. Stay home and for $40, you get good fun and entertainment all rolled up in a neat little package. Pretty smooth.
The campaign also wins because it pokes fun at the date night concept. Even if you don’t click on the ad, it will make you giggle — and a laugh always takes the brand up a notch.
I loved almost everything about this campaign, and I would nominate it for an award if not for one gigantic fly in the ointment.
The only thing I would question here is the Facebook landing page. It’s really hard to reconcile connecting the dots between a search, personal lubricant and the relationships I have on Facebook for the following reasons:
- My mother is on Facebook. So’s my aunt. And many of my friends. And people I work with.
- I don’t want to know these things about my friends… or people I work with.
- I don’t even want to know these things about total strangers.
- I’m 100% certain I don’t want my mom, my aunt, cousins, friends, and coworkers to know these things about me.
Since the good people at Johnson & Johnson weren’t immediately available for comment, I can really only guess as to the campaign’s motivation. Of course, the ultimate motivation is keeping lubrication sales moving; but, I can’t imagine a world in which people are forthcoming on Facebook about their “experiences” — well, forthcoming in a way that would be beneficial to the brand and the people using the product.
Just imagine heading to the drug store to pick up some personal lubricant and hanging out in the aisle to have a chat with other personal lubricant buyers. While you’re at it, invite your mom over for an opinion and (for some reason) your niece, aunts and uncles, cousins and colleagues as well. I think I’ll pass.
If you want a visual example of what I mean, just visit the K-Y Couples Place page and scroll through the responses to K-Y’s Valentine’s Day follow up question: “How was everyone’s Valentine’s Day? TELL us how you and your partner spent the night!” Nope. I don’t want to know.
Sensitive subject matter requires a sensitive destination. I would call this initiative a win if it weren’t reliant upon Facebook to augment the engagement cycle. This is a classic example of a cute, funny campaign idea that headed south of the border in its execution.
I would have loved to see a landing page directing me to content with interesting ideas for planning a fun date night. We have a million and one tools that can give us content generation ideas. Producing content is cheap. It would have stayed cute, funny and may have had a prayer of getting shared, which (I have to guess) could only be the motivation for paying to send traffic into Facebook instead of their own community.
Warren G. Bennis said, “Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work.” Packaged goods (CPG, if you prefer) are a natural choice for advancing the cause of proving search has much more than a transactional relationship with advertisers. However, you have to complete the campaign with making sure the trust relationship your constituency has with brand and product is appropriately represented.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.