IMC Campaign of the Month: PEMCO’s #12

IMC Campaign of the Month: PEMCO’s #12

PEMCO may not be the best known insurance agency in the country. In fact, it’s a local outfit in the Northwest, ranked 6th in consumer awareness behind giants like Geico and Allstate. But with a keen understanding of their ideal buyer, a bright idea and a clever deployment of integrated marketing communications, PEMCO put themselves on the map at a time when even the biggest brands scramble for their share of the spotlight. PEMCO went viral just before the Super Bowl XLVIII.

For many years now, PEMCO has shown a remarkable grasp on the personalities of their buyers, right down to idiosyncratic quirks that make Pacific Northwesterners memorable and in regional esteem, lovable. In 2007 they launched a lighthearted campaign centered around the many personas found in the Northwest, to such widespread success that consumers suggested their own ideas for characters with distinctly local flavor. It’s therefore no surprise that PEMCO was aware its audience is passionate about football, or more specifically, the Seattle Seahawks.

As we’ve discussed before, “thou shalt know thine audience” is one of the core commandments of IMC.

Even before it became clear the Seahawks were strong contenders for Super Bowl XLVIII, PEMCO turned to guerrilla marketing tactics to make an impression with its ideal buyers. As a Seahawks partner, PEMCO set up an interactive booth at CenturyLink Field Event Center, dubbed the “Yelfie Booth.” Seahawks fans love to make noise for their team, so the booth allowed fans to scream their loudest, and compare the volume of their scream with markers like a chainsaw or a jet plane. They could watch their scream replayed in slow motion, and walked away from the Yelfie experience with souvenir cards.

Seattle Seahawks fans consider themselves their team’s “12th man” – it was becoming clear to PEMCO that Seahawks fans had the potential to be their 12th man, too. As a Seahawks partner, taking advantage of this passion to blow up their brand’s awareness and reputation with the team’s very vocal and very loyal supporters was an incredibly smart move.

When the Seahawks qualified for Super Bowl XLVIII, PEMCO knew they had to act big, and act fast. Within days they conceived and began to execute an ambitious campaign to fly a 100’x40′ “#12” banner around the MetLife Stadium (the Super Bowl’s venue) and New York City to show the Seahawks spirit on a nationwide scale. PEMCO aimed to adorn the flag with 12,000 signatures and well wishes from Seahawks fans, giving their audience a chance to be part of their team’s Super Bowl history.

PEMCO only had a matter of days to work out the tremendous logistics of collecting so many signatures (not to mention securing a flyover service and promoting the campaign heavily with earned media and word of mouth). While they gave fans the option of submitting signatures in person, they recognized collecting signatures digitally would include more people and give their signal a boost. Their homepage was taken over by a marquee ad for the campaign and landing pages were setup to support the signup process. Everything was responsive regardless of device (making it easy for mobile users to participate – a significant portion of the population no brand can afford to alienate). In concert with these efforts on their website, they launched a huge social media push and associated hashtag. It didn’t take long for the campaign to go viral, including their hashtag appearing in Twitter’s trending topics.

PEMCO acknowledges part of their strategy in aligning social media and owned property was to benefit their site’s SEO – something that worked very well, as social media drove fans to the website to add their signatures. PEMCO has used this tactic before – the Yelfie Booth souvenir cards directed fans to a landing page where they could watch replays of their screams and share them on social media with a designated hashtag.

In the end, over 15,000 signatures were collected and flown proudly over the venue and city hosting Super Bowl XLVIII. PEMCO won the hearts of consumers in their target market, and as an added bonus, significant nationwide attention. All this without a ridiculously expensive, predictable Super Bowl ad buy. And as the Seahawks returned to the following Super Bowl, PEMCO repeated the campaign, transforming it into tradition.

Building on their strong foundation of customer knowledge, PEMCO’s integrated strategy for social media, mobile marketing, in-person events, public relations, SEO and more conspired to get the job done. It’s a great lesson for anyone who works in IMC. By knowing what makes your customers tick, you can think of outside-the-box ways to reach and engage them – even to tug on their heart strings. And once you have a great idea, using multiple channels supporting each other in perfect sync makes campaigns soar.

Knowing which channels are going to be most effective in the overall recipe for success goes back to knowing your audience. If your buyers are active on social media, use mobile devices a lot and love to spread the word about content and campaigns related to their greatest passions, you need to give them something that’s mobile responsive and easy to share on social media, and they’ll do a lot of the work for you.