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Analysis of the Little Gordon Campaign for Caterer.com



By Kevin Palmer

One of my favorite things about social media is to see how marketers use it and to examine the strategies that are behind a campaign. Last fall Totaljobs Group Ltd ran a campaign for one of their properties Caterer.com. The concept of the campaign was a video series about Little Gordon (videos contain strong language), a play on the reality television show cooking host and star chef Gordon Ramsey. The campaign hit the right marks with these videos. They look really good, they are concise, they have a tinge of controversy but most of all they are funny.

The campaign was deployed on its own domain (littlegordon.com) and on video sharing sites where it did relatively well garnering close to two million views on YouTube alone for three episodes and a collection of outtakes. The traffic to the site was considerably lower according to Compete.com and it is hard to say if Caterer.com received a lot of referring traffic except for maybe the latest rise in traffic.

Was it a success?

Without knowing the goals of the campaign set forth by the company I can’t say. It looks like the campaign’s goal was to build awareness of Caterer.com through the videos and the site. Also it looks like it was an attempt to get people to sign up to their mailing list. Maybe the goals were modest and they reached them. In looking at this from my prospective, as an outsider, I see a lot of missed opportunities.

1) Poor job linking to Caterer.com—There could be an argument made that this should have been on Caterer.com itself. I would assume that this was done by a marketing firm or internal marketing department and was probably a stand-alone campaign where they didn’t want to bother their web team. Even if that holds true they did a really poor job of pushing people towards Caterer.com.

On the LittleGordon.com site there is a logo in the upper corner and then some information under the video. Personally I would like to see the navigation from Caterer.com put below the header because that might actually draw people into exploring the site. Also on the YouTube video descriptions it only linked back to the LittleGordon.com page and not to Caterer.com that was a missed opportunity.

2) Poor job in allowing people to share—On LittleGordon.com there are two buttons directly below the video. One was for people to join the fan page on Facebook and the other was for people to e-mail friends. No MySpace, which, no matter what your personal feelings are about the site, is too large to ignore.  Also social news and bookmarking sites are relegated to the bottom of the page, which ties into my next point. You had to work too hard to share the video.

3) Great content but no social news/bookmarking strategy behind it—There is nothing worse than someone having great content and having no strategy behind how it is deployed. These videos are solid and would do well on most social news/bookmarking sites. When you check how the domain did on Digg.com the highest voted video got 36 Diggs. On Reddit and other sites the numbers are worse. I guess the thought was that the content was so good someone would really get behind it. That is just failed thinking.

There was an obvious lack of a social media push behind this. The only site that it has done well on by the looks of it is StumbleUpon and some of the videos on YouTube did well on Fark.com. They easily left hundreds of thousands of page views on the table because of this.

4) No building for the long tail—While the company did create a Facebook Fan Page, why didn’t they strategically create other pages around the character on other social networking sites? Why couldn’t you friend Little Gordon on MySpace or Bebo? Why couldn’t you follow Little Gordon on Twitter? Why not use this to create a base of people you can market to down the line? Why not mention that people should subscribe to your YouTube video within the video description? There is just missed potential all over the place.

I understand that this is a timed and targeted campaign but was a lot of potential to create a base of fans and followers that could be used over a period of time. I think their vision was shortsighted.
In the end I look at this campaign with a little bit of sadness. The content was so good but the execution, in my eyes, just seemed so poor.

What do you think about the campaign?

You can follow Kevin Palmer on Twitter @kevinpalmer as well as read him on a semi-daily basis at socialmediaanswers.com.

  • http://thisismyurl.com Christopher Ross

    Wow Greg, that’s a great review of what should have been a brilliant campaign but the team that put it together should be ashamed of themselves. Great creative, crap technical … just goes to prove that you can’t let ad guys build web campaigns any more than you can let techie’s but ad campaigns.

    Christopher Ross’s last blog post..Want to know how to make money online? Stop thinking so hard.

  • http://socialmediaanswers.com Kevin Palmer

    Thanks Christopher. I actually wrote it. It should be under the guest blogger account.

    Your point is correct though, it has to be a team effort….

    Kevin Palmer’s last blog post..A little social media serendipity

  • Dean

    Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. If this was their first foray into Social Media they may have had to overcome anyone or all of the following:

    1. Lack of support from Sr. Management – this alone can stifle any campaign or lead to…
    2. Dipping the toe in the water – “Ok let’s try it but on a limited basis to see what happens” which goes hand in hand with…
    3. since we are only testing this social media thing I am not giving you the resources to do a complete job and you will do it on off-hours with limited staff.
    4. Inexperience in execution – Let’s face it if this was done internally then it was probably done by a group that had little experience in social media campaigns. Their next one will be better ;)

    It’s easy to sit back and Monday morning quarterback, but we should applaud the effort (the content was better than most) and look forward to the next one.

  • http://socialmediaanswers.com Kevin Palmer

    Dean what do you work for them? It is clear that they had some level of resources because those videos are a quality that isn’t cheap to produce. And a lot of these mistakes, specifically around the sharing part, are things that are flat out poor execution. With the money that was invested it is clear that some things were done wrong.

    There is a difference between playing with social media and having someone deploy it that actually knows what they are doing. Not some PR person that has a facebook account.

    Kevin Palmer’s last blog post..A little social media serendipity

  • Dean

    No, I don’t work for them and no I am not saying it couldn’t have been executed better. I am saying that I have been around the block long enough to understand that the items I mentioned really happen at real companies with real money and real resources.

    But I am sure that everything you have done in your life has been perfect all the time, every time. without fail. Come down from your pedestal once in awhile and I’ll show you around the real world.

  • http://socialmediaanswers.com Kevin Palmer

    Sorry Dean. Next time I will analyze it and just say “Hey they did a lot of things wrong but good for them for trying.”

    We will be able to pull a ton of lessons from that.

    Kevin Palmer’s last blog post..A little social media serendipity

  • Jordan McCollum

    Hey, we can all disagree civilly. Obviously the campaign could have been done better than it was, as you’ve said, Kevin, but I’m sure that there were some internal reasons that the campaign was executed the way it was, as Dean has pointed out. That doesn’t mean that the execution was perfect; it explains some reasons why it might have fallen short.

  • http://socialmediaanswers.com Kevin Palmer

    Jordan you are right. I reached out to the company that did the campaign to do an interview with them as a follow up piece.

    Kevin Palmer’s last blog post..Guest Posts and A Thanks

  • http://www.ignitesocialmedia.com Jim Tobin at Ignite Social Media

    Kevin,

    This is a great analysis. What we more often see in these campaigns is the opposite: “Share this” links puked all over the page, but content that is just awful. It’s interesting that they did the inverse on these. The videos are really quite good. I’m going to share this around the office.

    I suspect that a traditional agency did this. Two reasons: 1) Clearly strong writing/video production skills and 2) weak understanding of the social space.

    What troubles me is how much the Compete data DROPPED post campaign. That’s a real problem. As the economy is getting worse, a site for catering jobs is losing traffic? Oy… That’s a problem, and I think some of the reasons you suggested could be to blame. Either that, or they offended their target audience, but I suspect it’s the lack of integration.

    ~Jim

    Jim Tobin at Ignite Social Media’s last blog post..All Your Face Are Belong To Us – Facebook’s Terms of Service

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