Earlier in the year, Wrigley's Extra had launched a new campaign called "Time to Shine". It was a complete repositioning of the brand, moving from a purely functional promise to a highly emotional one. This relaunch had become necessary because the brand lacked relevance amongst its young franchise.
The new campaign was all about confidence: achieving your personal ambitions and a can-do attitude. As part of the initial launch campaign, it had used a famous Chinese film director as brand ambassador; for phase two it switched to an athlete: Asia's fastest sprinter, Su Bing Tian.
The objective for this second phase was to really boost awareness of the new campaign and to create engagement. MediaCom had identified the Olympics as a highly relevant occasion to get the brand and its new message into the minds and hearts of its audience: of course, the games the time where athletes really do shine. But equally important: it is where they show their brightest smiles when they are winning (a bright white smile being the functional brand promise).
The challenge, however, was to create a strong association with the Olympics without being an official sponsor. It had an athlete, but officially it was not allowed to use him in conjunction with the Games. Moreover, it felt that one athlete was not enough to really leverage this occasion properly.
Challenge accepted: a content partnership with Tencent allowed MediaCom to find a solution. Tencent had bought the right to use both athletes and Olympic content on their platforms and the agency forged a deal that gave Wrigley's Extra access to this content. In total, the Tencent deal gave it access to 15 different famous Chinese athletes.
The strategy was to make “Time to Shine” literal and focus on “the time when athletes shine” – not a day or a week later, but really to be “in the moment”. Thus, it wanted to create content in “real-time”. Moreover, in order to make it truly relevant, it had to feel more like “news” than advertising. Thus, it had be reactive to the live events. So the agency set up a "virtual content factory" that would produce highly agile content that would “respond” to the events as they were happening.
This strategy truly brought the new brand positioning to life. On the one hand, it created a new, highly relevant context around the “Time to Shine” creative idea: sport competitions, specifically the Olympics, are the most straightforward manifestation of confidence leading to success. In China, the Olympics (specifically as they are broadcast on TV and elsewhere) are much more popular than in most other countries – so content responsive to the events is among the most relevant during the games.
Secondly, by making the content real-time and reactive to the actual sports events it was able to create lots of buzz and word-of-mouth. This greatly enhanced wear-in on the “Time to Shine” message and allowed it to generate significant reach across its digital ecosystem.
And lastly, by leveraging famous athletes and the Olympic Games was able to quickly build new associations with the brand (“memory structures”) that increased “mental availability” (or TOMA) that drove sales.
It had developed a scenario system that allowed the agency to pre-produce some of the content. It distinguished between known outcomes (e.g. athletes starting in a given discipline), unknown outcomes (e.g. our athlete either winning or losing a match of, say, ping-pong) and unforeseen outcomes (e.g. the swimmer Fu Yuanhui winning Bronze and going wild). Thus, MediaCom was able to prepare some but not all pieces of content. All other content was produced “live” by the "virtual content factory": immediately after the events, the digital creative agency designed highly agile content and MediaCom got it into Tencent’s ecosystem within 1-3 hours. The content was posted across WeChat Moments, Q-Zone, Tencent News and Tencent Video and reached millions of social users.
But this was only the starting point for a much smarter way to generate reach. Together with its social team it activated 55 highly influential KOLs on Weibo and got them to talk about the content it had already seeded on Tencent. So while officially it couldn't use the Olympic content outside of Tencent, nobody could prevent KOLs on Weibo from mentioning the content in their posts. In the most positive terms they talked about the way EXTRA was celebrating Chinese athletes – which generated even more buzz.
The execution on Tencent alone would have been big. But in combination with the amplification on Weibo and through PR it achieved an amazing 60% reach across all digital channels. And that was the time to shine.
Not only was the content extremely agile, it was also highly engaging: it achieved a CTR up to a phenomenal 7.9%; in total, it generated the highest CTR of any Branded Content on Tencent platform, outperforming more than 30+ brands.
As mentioned above it generated 60% 1+ reach across social, digital and PR alone.
Across the entire two months while it was on-air Wrigley's Extra became the third most talked-about brand of the Olympics: on Weibo it generated 530 million views outperforming the official sponsors of the Olympics, Nike and P&G.
With this activation it generated the highest buzz in brand history: 290 million impressions on Weibo in just two weeks. And the activation was sustainable: in a pre- and post-Olympic social buzz went up by +32% and stayed up. Overall, it generated 7.5m RMB ($1.1m) in Earned Media.
Very importantly, the brand was able to really ignite its young target audience: with Time to Shine it entered the Top 20 list of the highest brand interaction ever on QQ-Zone (Tencent’s YoungGen platform).
And finally, the activation had a significant impact on sales: in August, Extra market share grew +2ppts vs. YA.