For its 2008 autumn campaign, Jacob's Creek wanted an "engaging and entertaining" campaign to promote its brand positioning of friendship, sociability, warmth and inclusion. It wanted to make an emotional connection with consumers in their downtime, via media channels with which they had an existing relationship. Jacob's Creek and its media agency, Vizeum, chose The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline for this cross-platform campaign as it was their audience's key weekly bible, providing a multitude of touch points to reach juggling mums that no other publication could offer. The campaign was put together by Mail Newspapers' Creative Solutions Team, headed up by Dan Levitt.
Mail Newspapers created a media first in the national press market: an online drama series, Katie & Co. Produced by Big Balls Films (known for its KateModern Bebo production), ten four-minute webisodes were created starring a cast of five main characters with whom the target audience could identify: Katie, a restaurant reviewer on the verge of hitting the big 4-0, and her "gang of four" - Bella, Max, Freddie and Aimee. An entertaining group of believable characters, designed to appeal to the Jacob's Creek target of "time-poor juggling mums". From October to November 2008, Katie & Co broadcast on MailOnline and was marketed through Mail Newspapers.
Online, the drama was hosted on a lively and interactive microsite. The story, featuring subtle product placement for the brand, built to a cliff-hanger in the penultimate episode and viewers were invited to vote for their preferred ending. More than 900 people voted.
In addition to the weekly webisodes, visitors could read Katie's diary, e-mails, the restaurant reviews, bios of the characters and product info on Jacob's Creek wines. Competitions to win meals at the featured restaurants and trips to the Yarra Valley, Australia were designed to boost audience involvement.
Depth was added to the online element with print content across The Mail on Sunday portfolio: weekly restaurant reviews in TMoS2 (with a wine recommendation, naturally), Katie's diary columns in You magazine, male style guides and fractional traffic drivers on the TV listings pages in Live magazine. All print executions included the microsite URL and a panel showcasing Jacob's Creek. For the duration, a heavyweight campaign of print and online traffic drivers across Associated platforms (Daily Mail, Metro, ES, MailOnline) directed readers to the microsite. Significant traffic drivers ran across the Associated digital network to promote Katie & Co.
The Katie & Co microsite received 56,000 unique users generating more than 200,000 impressions with an average dwell time of 11 minutes. The competition itself generated more than 26,000 entries - a visitors' conversion rate of 47 per cent with 61 per cent repeat visitors. Awareness and recall of the campaign were extremely high with awareness of advertising for Jacob's Creek more than doubling after the campaign. The originality of the campaign helped to gain standout, with 79 per cent of respondents regarding the ads as "original compared to other ads" and 65 per cent as "standing out from advertising for other wine brands" (according to pre- and post- online research conducted by Synovate).
The campaign was successful as a call to action; 54 per cent agreed that the "ads would encourage me to buy the brand", 28 per cent said that they had either bought or ordered Jacob's Creek and 27 per cent went online to find out more. Katie & Co helped to drive positive perceptions for the brand, with 74 per cent agreeing that "Jacob's Creek is the most friendly and approachable wine brand".
The campaign won the best consumer campaign at the 2009 Drinks Business Awards.
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