Home > campaign analysis, experimental marketing, social network marketing > • Freakout wins Gold Effie — social marketers may now go nuts

• Freakout wins Gold Effie — social marketers may now go nuts

Its an E -- see? For Effie. Okay, so the trophy may not be very effective, but its still prestigious.

It's an "E" -- see? For "Effie." Okay, so the trophy may not be very effective, but it's still prestigious.

While a Clio is awarded on the basis of an ad’s creativeness, an Effie is awarded on the basis of its effectiveness — hence the name. Organised in 1968 by the New York American Marketing Association, Effies are meant to acknowledge “campaigns that have delivered superior results in meeting or exceeding the objectives they were designed to achieve.” This year, Gold Effies were distributed among 24 brands, with DDB emerging on top with three Golds, six Silvers, and two bronzes. But it was Crispin Porter + Bogusky who came away with the Grand Effie for their work on the Whopper Freakout campaign.

Burger King’s Whopper Freakout centred on a “social experiment” in which they told customers at one of their Los Angeles outlets that the Whopper had been permanently removed from the menu. The results were filmed, and the most interesting (read “over the top”) reactions were posted online to be distributed virally by “fans.”

Carl Johnson, chairman of the board of directors of Effie Worldwide, credited Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s win on “their boldness and creativity across multiple media platforms, delivering real cultural relevance and, above all, outstanding business results.”

Although we’re not entirely sure what kind of “real cultural relevance” the campaign delivered, the “outstanding business results” reportedly came in the form of a “double digit quarterly sales increase.”

Since the campaign included a strong element of viral marketing, we expect to see a surge of articles in the near future crowing about the now-proven success of social media. Perhaps in this case such hoopla may be deserved. If so, it probably had a lot to do with the fact that they advertised the viral portion of the campaign on television.

Generally the conviction of social media’s superiority in every way over traditional media pretty much forbids any communication between them. Coke, Nike, Adidas and numerous other corporations opened extensive virtual displays in Second Life without once ever incorporating such in-world displays into their real world advertising. Campaigns promoting brands through online viral gimmicks do so in complete isolation to the campaigns taking place on radio and television. It’s as though social media marketing is so intent on growing up fast that it doesn’t want to take a quick visit home even to get its laundry done.

In Whopper Freakout, however, Crispin Porter + Bogusky decided to link the two, thereby giving the 98% majority of people who actually saw the ad the chance to then take part in the viral component. Whether the ability to distribute Freakout videos to friends (and by “friends,” of course, we mean “people we’ve never met and whose two-line posts we can’t even be bothered reading”) made a real difference to the double-digit quarterly sales increase is impossible to determine from out here.

But at least they’re getting the idea that just because it’s social media and desparate to leave home and live on its own doesn’t mean it can’t pop in and see the old folks once in a while — especially since they’re the ones paying for its tuition, rent, and food.

That said, congratulations to Crispin Porter + Bogusky, BBD, and all the rest who were honoured with an Effie. As Ogilvy pointed out, “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative.”

You can get the full report on the Effie awards here.

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  1. June 5, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    It is odd that anybody would consider the campaign ‘social media’ or whatever they’re calling it.

    Whopper Freakout is a great campaign – but there’s nothing new about it. Hidden cameras have been used in commercials for fifty years, the spot(s) are professionally produced by CPB – and that “98%” you mention probably isn’t an exaggeration. So they tossed the spots on YouTube. Great. I think you should toss most commercials on YouTube. Why not? But to call this campaign ‘viral’ or ‘social media’ or ‘user-generated’ or whatever the phrase is this week is delusional.

  2. kitsimpson
    June 6, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    I know what you mean, Chuck. It’s kind of like doing up a huge billboard campaign, then claiming that its real success is due to the fact that five tourists snapped pictures of it.

  1. June 6, 2009 at 10:36 pm
  2. May 23, 2012 at 10:54 pm

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