Creative marketing

Nivea's standout marketing campaign

Every year two or three companies will show us just how creative mobile marketing campaigns can get. Sometimes, you’ve just got to sit back, take notes, and bask in a job well done.

In 2014 Nivea was one of those brands, with their award winning mobile campaign – Nivea Sun Kids, The Protection Ad.

The main goal was to win attract new customers to their Nivea Sun Kids product. To do this, Nivea wanted to reinforce the idea of protection. Instead of focusing on the sunscreen to fortify their message, however, they tweaked their lens to gain a broader perspective on their product. In doing so, they realised that when at the beach, parents’ concern reaches beyond merely wanting to protect their children from the scorching sun. What else they need to do is protect their children from getting lost.

Inside the ad is a detachable protector strip, something like an adjustable bracelet. The bracelet can then be strapped around a child’s arm. When the parent downloads Nivea’s app, which prompts the parent to identify the bracelet with a numbered code, the parent can set the parameters to which his or her child is allowed to travel. If the child breaches that distance the app starts beeping, alerting the parents of their child's misadventures.

Now that’s some innovative mobile thinking

The success of the campaign speaks for itself. It was featured in ten press articles and 40 digital ones. It’s won awards, caused a stir, and even become a sort of desired fashion accessory. According to this article, Nivea still receives requests for it today.

It’s clear to see why this campaign was so successful. The answer is simply because it doesn’t feel like marketing. It feels more like a useful gift that a concerned company is offering its adored target consumer. It’s creative, it’s fun, and it doesn’t reek of maligned corporate intentions. It’s a way of saying Thank you, customers… but remember, we’re still here, and you NEED our products.

They key to take away from this message is that you have to know your customers. The reason Nivea's lateral thinking in this case worked so well is because that style of thinking was applied to what they know about their customers. Protection is the name of the game. Sure. But what what Nivea did was look beyond what their product can offer, and instead at what their target market might additionally need.

Although not everyone has access to the absurd budgets that Nivea does, this ad is a good demonstration of the sort of thinking that creates not ripples, but waves.

Small budgets aren’t the only thing constraining these endeavours. There’s a need to be brave and daring, adventurous and imaginative, in landscaping marketing campaigns. And especially mobile marketing campaigns.

Let's say, for instance, you were setting up an SMS campaign that offered free coffee vouchers redeemable at any Starbucks. Sending out those coupons won't work unless doing so fulfils your audience's needs. For example, delivering a voucher for a free coffee to a mid-twenty-something guy or girl at 7.30am will work wonders. Apply the same strategy to an audience in their 60's by parceling out those vouchers at 6pm and... hear that? Crickets.

The sweet silence that follows when you don't know your customer.

Mobile technology has opened the doors to new and exciting marketing possibilities. With so many platforms and options to choose from – SMS of course being our area of expertise – the time to step out of comfort zones and into the murky woods of unknown territories is now. Peg the thinking process that fueled this Nivea campaign into the centre of your mind’s eye. Let it sit there; let it flap about. Know your customers. Know them well. And explore the creative potential.