Winner Stories September 9, 2019

Q&A: Edelman on Crafting Great Experiences

Last season, Edelman earned a Webby and People's Voice Award for "Work from Hawaii: A Residency Program." Read more about the strategy that went into crafting this award-winning experience.

In 2018, the team at Edelman New York earned three Webby honors for their campaign “Work From Hawaii: A Residency Program,” including the Webby People’s Voice Award in Digital Campaigns, as well as a nomination for The World’s Most ‘Extra’ Tampon in Comedy.

We spoke with Edelman’s teams that worked on both projects, about how they develop strategies for their projects, from experiential to social, and what digital trends are most impacting their work.

Read more below!

1. What key considerations did you make when figuring out your strategy for “Work From Hawaii” and what did you have to get right to pull it off?

Jen Fleet (VP, Digital Strategy & Planning) & Jesse Suchmann (Executive Creative Director): We worked hard to thoughtfully play matchmaker between Hawaiian culture and the interests of our New York residents, rather than just offering them a desk with a view. Providing a substantive and personalized experience was critical, as our target, while a small subset of the New York population, was still incredibly diverse. Our team spent countless hours curating six bespoke residencies that captured the unique personality of each Hawaiian island, making each resident’s WFH experience transformative, and ultimately paying off in the stories they shared with their fellow New Yorkers.

Our wins unlocked a slew of new opportunities for us as a company and as a team, and positioned us as pioneers of a new model of 360-earned campaign creation.”
— Eden Lewis Senior Art Director, Edelman New York

2. How did your strategy differ across social media platforms in order to drive traffic and engagement?

Jen Fleet: Like most effective social strategies, we used each channel to do what it does best with creative and targeting tactics tailored to the audiences best matched to each residency.

But beyond that, we viewed social as any channel that offered an opportunity to meaningfully engage our audience, whether through 1:1 messages on LinkedIn, or through OOH that compelled passersby to capture and ‘gram it, or with a first-to-market geo-fenced WeTransfer takeover that captivated users at the very moment they were most receptive to our message. Our channel strategy was simply to juxtapose the proposition of travel in typical work-oriented environments.

"Some of the best stuff I’ve seen released this year was in PDF form! It feels like the internet is going DIY again, and I'm thrilled about it."”
— Jesse Suchmann Executive Creative Director, Edelman New York

3. What platform, digital trend, or technology is having the most impact on your work this year?

Eden Lewis (Senior Art Director): This year, messaging apps have been big for me. I’m thinking more and more about the role brands can play in conversational and peer-to-peer settings: gifs, gif stickers, emotes on Twitch… looking for anywhere a brand can provide rich media assets that will be sent actively rather than viewed passively.

Jesse Suchmann: I’m excited to see more and more people building their own media ecosystems rather than just trying to ride the algorithmic wave of one popular social network. Lots of really great self-coded websites and tech are popping up, Patreon communities are funding all sorts of long-term projects that would have been impossible to fund a few years ago. I mean, some of the best stuff I’ve seen released this year was in PDF form! It feels like the internet is going DIY again, and I’m thrilled about it.

4. “Work From Hawaii” earned both the Webby Award and the Webby People’s Voice Award for Tourism & Leisure (Advertising, Media & PR). That’s amazing! What did it feel like to earn top Webby honors for that campaign? How has your Webby win impacted your work?

Eden Lewis: Winning two Webbys was an exciting acknowledgement of the hard work our team poured into the campaign and great validation of Edelman’s model of earned-centric and social-driven creative. Our wins unlocked a slew of new opportunities for us as a company and as a team, and positioned us as pioneers of a new model of 360-earned campaign creation.

Jesse Suchmann: We love The Webbys because it’s about so much more than advertising, and we think advertising should be about so much more than advertising too. These awards are great validation for Edelman’s earned creative approach, and well-deserved recognition for the awesome HVCB clients who were brave enough to try something new!

5. Edelman was also nominated for “The World’s Most ‘Extra’ Tampon” in Comedy. Tell us a bit about the behind-the scenes work on that project and how it all came together? What was it like watching this campaign go viral?

Jeremy Bernstein (Executive Creative Director) and Samantha Wilco (Creative Director): Tampons are not something people are eager to discuss, much less watch and share content about. When we were asked to create an earned and social campaign for Playtex Tampons, we weren’t quite sure what to do at first. When our planning team shared insights around the “extrafication” of more and more modern products—including tampons—with each one trying to one up the other, we knew there was an idea in there somewhere. We were also inspired by the fake ads we grew up watching on SNL.

We realized there was no better way to market a simple tampon than with its exact opposite—the world’s most “extra” tampon. Thankfully, we had a brave client with a good sense of humor who was ready to make our idea a reality. Through a series of coed writing workshops, we developed and refined the script for our ad. We then recruited up-and-coming actor and comedian D’Arcy Carden (of “The Good Place” and “Barry”) who was the perfect match for our script. The one day shoot was a ton of fun and D’Arcy was a huge pleasure to work with—good humored on- and off-camera. The ad came together quickly in edit and we were ready to launch. Earned outreach got us coverage in a number of relevant publications including Real Simple, Daily Mail, and People.

D’Arcy also posted the video to her own social channels, giving us great exposure and generating great responses—including praise from influential friends including Kristen Bell and Ilana Glazer. Seeing the campaign go viral was thrilling—there are few things as gratifying as seeing your own work show up organically in your social feeds and this one kept popping up again and again.

Make sure we have the chance to tell your Winner Story and enter your work in The Webby Awards by the Extended Entry Deadline on Feb. 7th!

26th Annual Webby Awards


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