Guest post: How iSpyLevis tapped into Twitter

After observing the growing following iSpyLevis is gaining on Twitter, Mumbrella invited Kat Thomas, from PR agency One Green Bean, to write this guest post setting out the thinking behind it.

Last Friday wasn’t a typical day for me. I dropped my jeans in public. Several times. In the sheer randomness stakes, it’s probably up there with the day I found myself stood with a handful of live ammunition on the wrong side of security in LA airport. But we’ll save that for another post. This time, the story begins with our client Levi’s and a shared point of view that consumer engagement and entertainment go hand in hand.

My world, like many of you reading this, revolves around influence. My job is to make people want stuff. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably also an avid consumer of stuff in your spare time. And when you want something… be it the latest mobile phone, new runners for the gym, a gift for a 14 year old ska revival enthusiast… then more often than not, you’ll seek an opinion, or better still a recommendation, from someone or some place you trust.

My role will always be to create content for these trusted sources, often by providing it to journalists to share with their readers and viewers. But whilst editorial still plays a big role in influencing consumer behaviour, it’s the shift in how people consume information that has caused a critical step change in how we do business. Today virtually everyone does their research on Google and a hell of a lot of people now look to their online social networks for advice. It therefore makes sense that we’re placing content in places where consumers are consuming information.

More important than ever is the need to ensure the content we generate will motivate people to tell someone else. ‘Have you seen this?’ are the four most important words a consumer could utter. Since I was first introduced to the press release and its one time accomplice the fax machine, it’s become very evident that getting the ‘talkability’ credentials right will turn average campaigns into exceptional ones. The secret? Well it’s not rocket science. It’s about entertainment. Brands have been doing entertaining stuff for a long time, and generally they’re the ones that you remember to tell your mates about.

Which is how this initiative for Levi’s was born. It was clear that to reconnect this iconic brand with Australian youth and attempt to reignite their mutual love affair, we needed to create entertaining content that could live comfortably in their social media sphere and get people talking. Our channel of choice? Twitter, the social network de jour.

I confess that I was an early Facebook convert (what’s not to love –  means of exchanging banal banter with friends in other continents over a few pints of virtual warm beer) but I initially eyed Twitter with scepticism. However I dutifully rolled up my sleeves and got stuck in. It didn’t take long to work out two things. Twitter offers massive, untapped potential for marketers. But it also gives unenlightened brands a very public platform to commit corporate harakiri by ignoring the rules of social engagement, as defined by the 37 million Twitter folk. With great power comes great responsibility, as Peter Parker would say.

So iSpyLevi’s was developed by a bunch of unique people who understand this crazy, complex and often fickle world, a team that sits across One Green Bean and our sister agencies. You wouldn’t have the dentist’s receptionist undertake your root canal, and similarly, I think it’s important, no make that bloody essential, to have people with specific know-how develop and execute campaigns in the inner gut of social networks.

The central idea – to use Twitter to send out clues to a location. The first person to get there and ask “Are they Levi’s?” wins the jeans.

So back to dropping my jeans. I replaced one of the bright young things on the streets for a day to get my head round how the kids are responding to iSpyLevis. In six weeks it’s engaged well over a thousand followers and allowed us to connect with over 300,000 people so far. Feels impressive but hard to quantify. What did I learn? Well I saw first hand the mind blowing effects of using humour to engage the most disengaged of audiences. And I discovered that dropping your pants in a Starbucks is curiously liberating. My nan says my mum got sent home from school for flashing her bum once. It must be in the genes.

Kat Thomas is the managing director of One Green Bean. Mumbrella hopes that her client doesn’t shout at her because we changed all of her LEVI’S® references to Levi’s


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