Sony Ericsson Promo, Case study XPERIATHON by Volontaire

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Industry Mobile phones, devices & accessories
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Sweden
Agency Volontaire
Released October 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Best Use of Digital PR
Product/Service: XPERIA ACTIVE
Media placement: Digital PR/consumer PR - Running Bloggs, Twitter, Sports News - Oktober 20 - November 25
Media placement: Event/Digital PR - Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Sports News - November 26
Media placement: Digital PR/consumer PR - Blogs, Twiiter, Facebook, Sports News - November 26 - November 28

Summary of the Campaign
The news about the world's loneliest marathon and Sony Ericsson's new smartphone Xperia Active was spread through running forums and blogs on running and training. Through Twitter and Facebook, Sony Ericsson motivated runners and built anticipation until the race. To generate even more viral effect, a series of films were produced starring internet phenomenon/meme 'Forever Alone Guy' (the loneliest person on internet). The films spread through internet forums such as 4chan, reddit, know-your-meme and generated over 120,000 views on YouTube. During the race, visitors on could track runners around the world geographically, in real-time.

The Situation
Among many higher profile phones being launched during 2011, Xperia Active did not receive a lot of media spend. Therefore, we needed to create an idea that could travel on its own merit. At the same time, few mobile phones have targeted a specific interest group: in this case, hardcore runners. This target group spends a lot of time and money competing in different races throughout the year, so we saw an opportunity to give them something no-one else had: the opportunity to race in a marathon, on a global level, without having to leave their local area.

The Goal
Primary objective: get runners from different parts of the world to participate in the race. The goal was 50 runners from 4 countries.

Secondary objective: as much digital PR (blogs, twitter, etc) as possible within the global running community.

Target group was hardcore runners. Prior to launch we interviewed both professional and amateur marathon runners from different countries as well as organisers of marathon events.

The Strategy
Sony Xperia Active is a mobile phone developed specifically towards work-out-oholics. We needed to impress this target group and prove that we understand their world. We decided that the best way to achieve this was by helping them with what they love: racing long distances against others.

Xperiathon was created as a simple way of using modern technology to create a community feeling among runners without them having to travel and pay a lot of money to compete in ordinary marathon events.

Phase 1 - September 2011
Planning the campaign involved learning everything about how to organise a marathon race, as well as interviewing expert runners and organisers. The website was prepared with rules and regulations and a count down to the race.

Phase 2 - October 2011
The website was launched and the count down began. E-mails were sent to running forums/blogs. Internet films were launched on the website and YouTube to spread the word. During this phase we added/changed content to the site on a daily basis, based on the interaction with the target group, and changed some of the rules after popular demand.

Phase 3- November 26th 2011
Race day! The runners' GPS position was displayed on website in real time on a global map.

Phase 4 - December 2011
Winners were announced on the website, Facebook, and on running forums/blogs. Personalised participation T-shirts could be ordered from website.

Documented Results
The campaign generated an ROI of approximately 2,500% (earned media) in relation to total campaign investment.

The race gathered over 500 runners from 17 time zones and 37 countries, had a deep impact on the running community and re-invented the concept of what a marathon could be in a connected age. The initial target was 50 runners from 4 countries.

Approximately 400,000 twitter accounts reached. Initial target was 50,000

Youtube films got over 100,000 views. Initial target was 20,000.

SonyEricsson are so happy with the results that they have decided to make Xperiathon a yearly occurring event.