Case Study

PR, Marketing and Star Wars

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SMALL BRAND EARNS BIG MEDIA EXPOSURE WITH INTEGRATION OF ONLINE MARKETING INCLUDING SOCIAL MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS

OVERVIEW/INTRODUCTION

A private technology University leverages social media, and integrated marketing and public relations to drive a professor-led student project and the brand into the national media spotlight. The case study begins with the small University’s Digital Video Professor singing along to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on the freeway one day when the idea of rewriting the classic Freddie Mercury lyrics to fit the Star Wars universe was born. The idea was realized by a student-faculty team and the community in stride. Released on YouTube Dec. 4, 2013, the epic video already is considered by some as one of the great tributes to Queen and Star Wars.

Following is a case study outlining how the University’s branding, positioning and online search rank as an innovator in private technology education offering digital video degrees was heightened as a result of working with FabCom, a top integrated marketing and online advertising agency based in Phoenix with offices in L.A. and O’ahu. The advertising agency, in partnership with the client, deployed a targeted social media and public relations strategy helping to catapult the client’s brand into the national spotlight as a leader in one of its programmatic offerings: Digital Video degree. Ranked among the top 10 Phoenix interactive marketing firms and as the number 2 social media firm by the Phoenix Business Journal, FabCom is a full service integrated strategic marketing and advertising agency serving clients and industries across the globe who desire to drive their offline and online brand relevance.

SITUATION/NEED

Students reworked the song with the professor’s guidance and input—retelling the key moments from the Star Wars saga including the Original Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy and the Expanded Universe of novels and videogames.

The advertising and marketing agency client desired to strengthen online brand visibility on a national and global scale for their advancing technology education degrees, including the highly recognized and critically acclaimed Digital Media degree program, through the smart leveraging of social media and public relations channels.

The marketing and advertising agency instantaneously stepped up to help fill a capacity void for the client created as in house staff leaving for the weekend as the opportunity transpired. The agency provided the strategies and implementation resources necessary to capitalize on the windfall and emerging opportunities. This is a prime example of how FabCom’s expertise served as an extension of the in-house marketing department’s resources, going beyond their internal capacity to leverage the full power of public relations and integrated marketing in both social and traditional media.

GOALS/OBJECTIVES

  • Maximize local, national and international visibility for the client and its products through online social media and public relations channels.
  • Generate tangible results in the form of greater interest measured by an increase of targeted traffic to the University’s website degree pages, affiliated online social media assets and subsequent lead generation.
  • Create greater online brand awareness of the Technology University and its capability during the recruitment periods to drive enrollments.
  • Capitalize on a fleeting and emerging timing sensitive opportunity and extend the capabilities of the brand by leveraging the existing relationship between the integrated full service marketing and advertising agency and the client.
  • Provide the marketing strategies and implementation phases necessary to uncover additional social media, online media and traditional media outlets to maximize brand reach.
  • Leverage the tactical activity to help guide and coach the clients in house teams how best to capitalize on the emerging opportunity and build protocol for future social media opportunities for the brand.

THE METHODOLOGY

FabCom, as a dynamically integrated marketing agency, harnessed the power of the technology University’s natural resources—in this case the student-professor project that resulted in the creation of an epic video tribute to Queen and Star Wars—with development of a integrated social media and traditional media strategy and resulting implementation of a targeted and swift moving public relations and social media campaign. The three-part social media strategy includes targeting online and offline media distribution channels to major outlets both locally and nationally. As well as swift and time-sensitive media placement follow-up measures, and executing multi phased coordinated implementation. That helped drive media relevancy to more media segments to achieve the marketing goals and objectives:

  • Angle 1 – Epic student-faculty collaborative video creates something special with video production.
  • Angle 2 – The wildfire public response to the video in both social and mainstream media.
  • Angle 3 – Leveraging the news of the project itself to illustrate How the project and the Digital Video program exemplify the ongoing innovation and excellence of the University’s advancing technology education brilliance.

Phase 1

Strategy: In partnership with the client, the Phoenix Advertising Agency announced the video release while also positioning the brand and its Digital Video degree program as the leader in advancing technology education and digital video innovation.

Tactics

  • Before the weekend, the Client’s in-house marketing department distributes initial press release via PR Newswire to announce YouTube premier:
    • University of Advancing Technology’s Digital Video Program Creates Star Wars / Classic Rock Mashup With “Bohemian Rhapsody: Star Wars Edition” — Premiering on YouTube December 4, 2013
  • Advertising agency prepares clients for media interviews by developing key message points document for in house contacts to coach faculty interviewee.

  • In-house marketing director coaches key internal media contacts on key messages.

  • Marketing and social media agency coaches client regarding in house press release missing syndication opportunities by detailing how subject and theme sentences crafted into
    the in house press release could have been written to aggregate and propel clients on line residual SERP rank by reflecting semantic architectures within the brands online asset nomenclatures.

Phase 2

Strategy: Integrated marketing agency stokes the fire beginning to rage across online social media directly with the media outlets to increase (At the time the video was moving quickly toward a milestone of 100,000 views in just 24 hours) attention for the video and the technology University in both social media and traditional media to help further position the brand and its program for innovation.

Tactics:

  • Develop targeted media lists to drive media relevance and “seed” the niche outlets connected to national and international media to influence and facilitate further interest. Demonstrating initial coverage to main stream media from the niche media distribution points and influencing coverage within more mainstream media outlets to optimize national reach and distribution.
  • Develop and distribute media advisory to both local and national media outlets,highlighting the extraordinary public response and increased media attention: Digital Video Degree Program’s Bohemian Rhapsody: Star Wars Edition goes viral.
  • Focus on key word nomenclatures as well as reader and user paths intended to aggregate online SERP rank that provides residual online relevancy for the client’s online web assets long after the media attention is gone. This could occur because all media information developed by the Phoenix based advertising and marketing agency was designed to be syndicated and aggregate online with their existing SERP related assets.
  • Immediately follow up with media phone calls to the assignment desks and on duty weekend editors in order to confirm receipt, discuss details of the story and nurture story development.

Phase 3

Strategy: If views surpassed 1 million (and they did in less than 72 hours and over the weekend), the marketing and advertising agency would to continue to generate media excitement by fueling both social media and traditional media attention to further position the client’s brand and its products as a leader, and drive the online relevance during prospective students’ online search for a degree program of this nature.

Tactics:

  • Create another syndicated media advisory to announce milestone views in near record time.
  • Distribute to local and national media.
  • Follow up with media phone calls to nurture placement and fuel ongoing and new media attention.
  • Overnight (Friday night and all day Saturday) create new web pages to channel and direct the online traffic from millions of viewers into and through the client’s online assets to access the video. The in-house teams had directed the traffic through non-revenue producing online assets NOT connected to the ability to increase online SERP from the historical traffic generated and creating tangible residual marketing value from this social media and public relations campaign after the frenzy was over.

RESULTS

Just hours after its premier on Dec. 4, 2013, Bohemian Rhapsody: Star Wars Edition catapulted to more than 100,000 views, and within the first 72 hours surpassed 1 million views. As of Dec. 31, 2013, the video sensation was nearing 1.5 million views since its premier, generating broadcast interviews, blogs, reviews, commentary and continuing to attract both national and international attention in both social and mainstream media including People Magazine, Fox News KSAZ Channel 10 Phoenix, Huffington Post, Global News and Mashable.com.

Marketing and advertising agency personnel kept close watch on the numbers working through the weekend in anticipation of the 1 millionth view that day. Within moments of that occurring, the agency team was ready and on the phone working the media to again place the story in with new angles to create new relevancy for coverage or re interest those that rejected coverage when the initial press release was sent at 100,000 views. This propelled the news once again throughout major news channels, which connected to their affiliated down line of media outlets others and generated a distribution life of its own.

The strategy as designed was successful in meeting goals and objectives to fill a void for the client, with FabCom’s integrated marketing agency expertise serving as a valuable extension of the in-house marketing department’s resources, and to attract greater visibility for, awareness of and response to the brand and its degree programs:

  • More than 300 social media and news outlets carried the news.
  • Almost 1,000 new visitors were attracted to the client’s online brand assets coming directly from the promotion of this program with more than 200 coming directly from YouTube.
  • News traveled fast and through media connections, as a result of the Phoenix advertising and marketing agency’s timing to stay ahead of and timely propagate the rapidly-occurring media relations developments.
  • Additional story opportunities tied to public response were planned if views continued to reach certain milestones.
  • Follow-up calls to local and national media outlets generated greater awareness:
    • Interest from both Phoenix-based KTVK Channel 3 (independent) and ABC’s Good Morning America was created to explore future stories.
    • The news and video ran in a wide range of social and traditional media channels, including Phoenix-based KSAZ Channel 10 FOX news and People Magazine:

    star wars web article

    People Magazine

    Honestly, we’re a little shocked it took this long, but finally there’s a lovingly crafted Star Wars-themed parody of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, and it’s amazing.

    Produced by the students and faculty of the digital video program it’s the best mashup of Queen and George Lucas we’ve ever seen

    The clip features a dizzying array of characters portrayed by the Arizona cosplayer community, and the lyrics are chock-full of clever, properly thorough Star Wars references. (The “Scaramouche” part of the original song becomes “Master Yoda, Master Yoda, will you raise up my X-Wing?”) Oh, and Darth Vader Force-plays a solo on a floating guitar at one point. But we might be most impressed by the fact that every vocal in the song is performed by one dude: Adam Newton, who handles the demanding track with surprising aplomb.

    Enjoy, and remember, as Yoda says at the end of the video: “Matters, nothing really / See, anyone can.”