#SaveStevesJob could very well be the first marketing strategy of its kind in the UAE. Rather than directly promote a product, the campaign turned the spotlight on the actual person behind it- Steve Worobec.
Steve is responsible for the marketing of Insydo, a startup online guide to Dubai, and is calling on the city to use the service in order to #SaveStevesJob. As the website reveals, “he’s pumped half his budget into billboards (of himself) and the other half into his (awesome) team. The success of Steve’s little social experiment now rests with you.”
Launched on January 15th and set to last a month, #SaveStevesJob has just the right touch of humor by playing on Worobec’s striking resemblance to the late Apple CEO in both the hashtag pun and the supporting artwork which show him donning the trademark blue jeans and black turtle neck.
The campaign is only halfway through and already has drummed up heavy chatter on social sites and in the UAE’s marketing circles. At this point, it is difficult to imagine anyone having missed the massive #SaveStevesJob billboard on Sheikh Zayed Road.
For Worobec, the strategy is a clear win and gives him a sharp edge in the UAE’s marketing field. Question is, did Insydo stand out too? For all its creativity and appeal, if there are no tangible results in terms of website traffic and brand recognition, the effort invested wouldn’t really have met its objectives.
A counter on website SaveStevesJob.com shows that over 250 thousand people have so far used the online guide. With no prior knowledge of the website statistics, it is difficult to gauge where that figure falls in their usual trend but, considering they are a start-up, it is probably a solid number. Assuming of course that the figure reflects the people who visited the site since the campaign started as opposed to being an all time number.
Personally, I searched for Insydo myself after seeing the billboard on my way to work and after spotting the promoted posts on my Facebook feed. The social media chatter suggests that a lot of other people have, too.
How far along they made it through the consumer funnel is difficult to determine, but one of the positive factors is that the product truly is good. #SaveStevesJob builds up anticipation and curiosity around Insydo, and the search result is not a letdown. After browsing for a while, it is now a regular on my list for Dubai reviews.
The execution of this strategy is spot on. It is one of those campaigns that was an absolute joy to watch unfold because of how organized and carefully planned out it was. Existing on multiple touch points, all were given their due diligence and while not necessarily heavily funded, the budget distribution was clearly well studied, from outdoor advertisements to digital.
On the online front, there was an investment in paid posts on social networks and adwords on Google. A rare occurrence nowadays, the promoted posts were not your usual, “one text fits all” approach but rather they evolved with the project timeline. There is a correspondence between the phase of the strategy and the promoted text.
When the campaign first started, the key takeaway was intrigue around what was going on. Now that we reached the midway mark, the text is more focused on campaign updates. The message progression helps maintain the relevancy of the ads, avoids them being overlooked and ultimately can translate to better conversion rates.
On social media, the Insydo team did a very good job at staying on top of the coverage and interacting with users. In the instances where the chatter focused more on Worobec than the product, they’ve been subtly diverting the attention back to Insydo, an indication of a solid pre-launch study of campaign risks.
Outdoors advertisements include several billboards and signage that can be seen across Dubai, the most striking of which is the Sheikh Zayed Road one with the black and white picture of Steve in a pause that cleverly mimics the late Apple founder’s iconic image, along with the statement “Steve blew his marketing budget and put his job on the line #SaveStevesJob”.
Supporting the longevity of his employment, Steve has been going on a series of experiences across Dubai wearing promoted t-shirts and getting the support of different venues and social influencers- most likely courtesy of solid PR contacts and a well-devised outreach program.
Overall, the campaign for #SaveStevesJob definitely sets the bar higher up for brands and startups especially. It stands to prove that a good marketing strategy and positive PR can get a company half the distance in brand awareness. The rest of the way relies on positive word of mouth and the product in question living up to the hype, which is definitely the case with Insydo.
There is hope for it to pave the way for more creative campaigns that are well executed and that show respect to project phases and medium particularities. On the flip side, it could also launch a trend of copycat approaches across the board, which will quickly mix up a new flavor of bland when it comes to campaign creativity. The thought is actually a little bit terrifying and hopefully not one that materializes.
UPDATE: for the official campaign insights from Insydo, click here. Happy to report they are very good end results from such a creative and daring approach!