Iris Digital tries no advertising conversation-only strategy

LONDON - Iris Digital is experimenting with bypassing traditional media buying and using only social media conversations to promote a competition for football fans to win tickets to a Sony Ericsson VIP party.

The strategy involves the agency seeking people out on Facebook, Twitter and football forums and blogs instead of buying targeted media.

The invitation-only April 1 party is based around the Fifa World cup trophy coming to London for a few hours. Tickets to the party can be won at a competition taking place at Lakeside shopping centre in Essex on Saturday.

The Kiss The Cup competition will involve 25 people pressing their lips to a World Cup structure for as long as they can; the last three left will win a phone and tickets to the party.

Iris' work has been led by digital strategist Luis Carranza, who has been communicating with people through a Kiss The Cup (KTC) Twitter account and Facebook group.

The Facebook group has just 180 followers but Carranza's updates are being picked up by another group, called Essex, which has 23,000 members.

On Twitter KTC has 671 followers and Carranza has just recruited an official Twitter journalist who will cover the VIP party free of charge.

Carranza said: "Twitter is misunderstood by many, but if you look at the growth rate, you can see that many people are starting to get it. It's not all about what you had for breakfast."

He said that the strategy was great for fuelling engagement but one key issue is estimating the time required is very difficult. "Social media campaigns don't start at 9 and end at 5. Constant monitoring is required."

Carranza's list of advantages and disadvantages of the campaign.


  1. Knowing that there is a person, someone with a heartbeat behind a brand is good for business.
  2. People will look for you if they like what you have to say.
  3. People have names, and too often we simply refer to them as consumers. It's more difficult to think of someone as a consumer, when they tell you their name. This approach is more human.
  4. Reaction time is faster. You can make adjustments on the fly if something isn't working.
  5. People opt-in and out as they wish.
  6. Engagements and experiences more memorable than page views.
  7. Consumers have more control and input.


  1. Finding the right people takes time. You can't talk to every single person, so you have to spend time finding the right ones.
  2. Social media campaigns don't start at 9 and end at 5. Constant monitoring is required.
  3. It's not easy. You can't just say you want to use Twitter and just start doing it. Expect obstacles and set backs, but push forward.
  4. Bud Caddell said it best in his slideshare presentation: "Digital Media isn't Mass Media for Cheap".
  5. It's complex.
  6. Much of the value added by a campaign like this isn't measurable in the traditional sense. An offline conversation as a result of something online doesn't register until after the campaign is over.
  7. What worked today doesn't always work tomorrow. There's no cookie cutter way to be honest with your audience.

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