Lot’s of social media is still so-so

Digging into a case study on the re-launch of Martini in the UK highlighted the challenge of really making social media work for your brand.

Screen shot 2010-10-18 at 17.20.07 I like Martini's press ads with movie star Thandie Newton. The brand idea has a good call to action, "Stay Beautiful", and is based on an interesting finding that some young women are tiring of the "ladette" culture (young women drinking too much, getting drunk and behaving badly).

So, I was interested to read an article by the brand's PR agecy, Shine, trumpeting their role in the re-launch. They secured Ms. Newton, who I agree has 'the ideal balance of elegance, style and composure to embody the "Stay Beautiful" concept'. And its seems plenty of good press coverage was secured. So far, so good.

However, when I followed up the agency's claims of online amplification, I found the social media to be so-so.

– Lack of buzz: the article talks of how 'behind-the-scenes footage from a Thandie Newton photo-shoot was seeded online". True, but when I found the footage on YouTube it had been seen by only 4,200 people. It just lacked the buzzability needed for a seed to grow into something meaningful.

– Online presence not updated: When I googled "Martini Stay Beautiful" I ended up on a website that had expired. Which is very strange when this is the brand idea. But it gets worse… Screen shot 2010-10-18 at 17.04.38
– Online dead-ends: the closed down website suggested I got to a Facebook page, which I did, only to get this result:

Screen shot 2010-10-18 at 17.04.20
– The only Facebook presence there was for Martini Stay Beautiful was a page with 77 friends put up by a pub chain.

All in all pretty poor. And a shame given such a great brand idea. And leaves me seriously doubting PR agencies' claims in the same magazine that they are best placed to lead social media efforts for brands.

In conclusion, if you are going to try and use social media for your brand you have to at least do this with some real resource and continuity, to prevent mistakes like Martini's. And to get any real benefit, you need something buzzable to generate word-of-mouse. More on that later…