Mentos Campaign Proves the Value of Consumer Generated Branding

It’s becoming more commonplace to see campaigns that leverage the strength of the consumer’s viewpoint and deliver a spectacular product from a grassroots view. Mentos is among those that has succeeded in this realm.

Yonge-Dundas Square on August 13 was a scene of fun in the sun, with giant slides, gladiator challenges, and hilarious Sumo wrestling competitions. This was an adult fun park, conceived by Toronto resident, Danielle Lamarche, winner of the 2009 Mentos Campaign, “Make your World Go Rounder“.

Cossette was the agency responsible for this campaign. The premise: Make Your World Go Rounder was meant to be light-hearted and fun, and make Canadians smile by reminding them about life’s simple pleasures. According to Alison Neil of Cossette, “In the competitive and cluttered gum market we wanted to bring attention to a product feature of Mentos Gum, their roundness (the only round gum on the market), hence “make your world go rounder… we certainly consider this campaign to be non-traditional. We decided to develop an experiential/User Generated Content campaign to engage consumers, develop a dialogue with them and enhance their brand experience.”

Danielle Lamarche, who received a cash prize of $5000 summed up the day this way: “The event was extremely well received. An unbelievable amount of people came to the fun park. It was so well set up and had blow up games that even adults loved to participate in. It was steady all day and fairly long lines actually began to form after 6pm.”

Lamarche’s winning response : “Put up an Adult Fun Park in Dundas Square with blow up slides and more. We all want to be kids again!” Says Lamarche, “I really wanted to give a suggestion that would be something adults could do to let loose. I knew that it also had to the affordable and executable. It also needed to be an idea that could be Mentos Gum branded. I always watch out of the corner of my eye when kids play on the blow up toys these days and wish I was still able to do it as well. I’m sure many other adults feel that way so why not give them a chance to do it for a day?”

What does she think of the Mentos brand now? She sees a brand that tries to encourage positive thinking. “A lot of the responses that I saw were about giving to others, donations to charity, and making a mass audience happy. … People want to be happy and want to see the world become a better place. We’ve come to a time now where people are becoming much more aware of what is going on in the world and I think it’s important for brands to be aware and responsive to it.”

The campaign focus was the website: ( and but was heavily supported by out of home, transit, radio and web advertising. The latter also included social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr to support the contest, communicate the new line of products, begin developing brand loyalty, and help with Mentos Gum SEO.

The response to the contest was overwhelming. Close to 20,000 idea submissions in Canada were received.
According to Neill, “We feel that we’ve accomplished our goals of increasing brand awareness and communicating that Mentos Gum is a great, fun product that is close to consumers.”

In using consumer generated content to help fuel conversation, Neill agrees that UGC (User-generated content) works. Says Neill, especially ” when you listen to your consumers, participate in the dialogue and give back to them. We are big believers in experiential marketing at Cossette.”

The Case of the Missing Wallet: How to Use Social Media to Save the Day

I thought this was a really important article to repost on my blog and I’ve kindly asked the author, Kyra Savolainen to grant me permission to do so. If you’re still wondering about the power of social media, look no further. This one says it all. Thanks Kyra

Social Media win starts with a walk in the park

In late August, one of my most innovative clients successfully turned to social media to execute a manhunt. The man they sought was Steven Neil Crawford.

After lunching in Toronto’s Brant St Park, I returned to work holding a wallet with Steven’s name all over it.  A call to notify Toronto Police that the wallet had been found proved frustrating. So, I fired up my personal social networks in the hopes that at least one of my friends would be able to connect me with Steven. After a round of Google searches and call outs on Facebook and Twitter, a mutual acquaintance had yet to be found.

Meanwhile, Steven, a young post-production assistant at a local animation studio, was busy cancelling cards and wondering if his identity would turn up on some no-fly list in a year. He knew he had lost his wallet sometime during an exciting night out with friends, but didn’t know where. It looked like Steven might just have to pass the long weekend without his identification and other cards. (No lost wallet report was filed with Police.)

Social savvy Client to the rescue

Realizing that my own social reach wasn’t broad enough, I eyed the brand’s social media channels with hope. What better way to help establish this self-proclaimed ‘edgy and bold’ brand in the social space and prove the value of its motto based on non-conformist thought than to find Steven through its community of friends and fans online and reunite him with his property before the long weekend.

With one Tweet, the real social media rescue mission began.

“Hey Toronto, one of you lost your wallet (and I found it).  Anybody know Steven Neil Crawford?”

The brand’s friends echoed the call. Even @PepsiCanada threw in its support.

Success by numbers

The same message was posted to the official Facebook Fan Page. Results came fast, once the brand took up the cause of finding Steven. Within a day, a fan named Maria saw the call for help on Facebook and dug up a profile. It was a winner. (The requested reward? Gift cards from the brand.)

After contacting Steven and adding him as a friend on Facebook in order to verify his identity, I sat down with the eloquent youth in the same park where the wallet had been found. We chatted over a Client-sponsored lunch, touching on the lost/found/social media connection coincidence before barrelling off into more expansive, timely topics – it had been a full two days, afterall. (Aside: Who says there’s no such thing as a ‘free lunch’ or that social media is merely ephemeral hype? I pity the foo.)

In a matter of only 2 days, my client’s commitment to connecting with Canadians at the personal level clearly demonstrated the value of social media for brands and the public at large.  With just 220 Fans on Facebook and a Twitter following of less than 500 at the time of the event, Client X managed to demonstrate the true, simple value of social media to brands and the public at large.  We were personable, we were adventurous, we were helpful, and above all, we were social. And it worked. (And when I say ‘worked,’ what I really mean is ‘eat my dust, yammering display media.’)

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