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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How text messages brought Peta2′s “Animals Don’t Smoke” campaign to the Vans Warped Tour.

Even if you prefer Frank Sinatra or Johnny Cash and can’t stand the latest punk and rock bands on your local airwaves, it’s hard to ignore the Vans Warped Tour and how it’s become one of the defining events in the modern music scene. With a combined 500,000 tickets sold in 2013, any marketer would be more than happy have a message that reaches this massive audience from stop to stop. The unfortunate truth is that most people showed up to the tour for the music and sports, not to listen to sales pitches. However, Peta2, the youth movement associated with animal rights activists PETA, broke through last year and showed us all how powerful SMS marketing at the Warped Tour, and other music events, can be if you pull it off right.

The Message behind the Campaign

So what exactly was Peta2 trying to promote? Like most of the issues covered by this organization, the focus was on the fair treatment of animals. The campaign, known as “Animals Don’t Smoke,” took up the issue of cigarette testing on animals by tobacco companies and how this practice constitutes animal cruelty. Regardless of which side of the fence you stand on when it comes to animal rights issues, the message behind the campaign is a key part of understanding Peta2′s process. It also showed that the organization believed a more youthful, active audience, like the guys and girls dancing in the mosh pit, was highly likely to resonate with this message. As we’ll see later, Peta2 was right on the money with this choice.

The Basic Premise

As the tour got under way, Peta2 hit all the major stops on the east coast of the U.S. At each event, banners, a booth in the merchandise section, and members of the Peta2 ground team worked the crowd, getting interested concertgoers to text “BUTT” to 73822. After doing this, two things happened. First, the newly acquired SMS list member sent a message to the FDA asking the organization to put a ban on this type of testing. Next, these same individuals received a follow up message entering them into a giveaway that included buttons, sunglasses, and bags. The last part showed that the organizers at Peta2 understand a key truth in the marketing world – people of all walks of life can’t resist free stuff.

Taking It a Step Farther

However, Peta2 didn’t just call it a good day after each concert event. Instead, they continued to push the overall campaign with some eye-popping visuals and infographics, as well as regular updates via text message to the new contact list members. When coupled with the face-to-face interaction found around the Warped Tour and at the booth where participants picked up their goodie bags, these tools added an extra boost to the already powerful campaign and kept the message rolling long after the bands hit the road for the next tour stop.

Big Time Results

By the time the East Coast tour stops came to an end, Peta2 had added an extra 25,000 members to its mobile campaign. Considering that these numbers only reflect the concertgoers that interacted with Peta2 members or saw the organization’s banners, and not the people who checked out the website later or told their friends after entering themselves, that figure becomes even more amazing. With that kind of perspective, it doesn’t take a marketing genius to label this one as a major SMS success.

What’s It Mean for Your Brand

Even if your message doesn’t spark a debate as heated as Peta2′s, there is still plenty you can take from wrapping all of the lessons of this case study up into a few key points. First, picking the right audience, and finding the right way to interact with them, be it in person or across a virtual channel, is your biggest asset. From here, having a fun gimmick, like freebies and giveaways, goes a long way. After this, keeping the good vibes rolling and your message on the consumer’s mind requires updates and a continued push for the overarching theme of the campaign. If you can hit all of these targets, you may just find your own brand standing in the limelight of a mobile marketing success case study one day.

Peta2

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