In today's hyper-socialized, Facebook fanatic, selfie-obsessed world, youth is the primary driver of business and culture. Smart companies are looking to tap into the fountain of youth, and the others are sinking fast. YouthNation is a roadmap to brand relevancy in the new economy, giving businesses turn-by-turn direction to their market destination.
From Things to Thrills
By 2010, social media had matured from a copy-based platform where status updates were predominantly shared via short-form text to a more visually based platform where status updates increasingly included images or videos. The proliferation of camera-embedded smartphones among America's youth were compelling them to take more and more photos and share what they were seeing and doing and with whomever they wanted. Consequentially, the dialogue, priorities, and the very face, literally, of social currency shifted from the accumulation of stuff to the collection of experiences. YouthNation was moving from status symbols to status updates as a measure of value and success and has never looked back.
As a result of the smartphone explosion, photos would begin to play an increasingly convenient and pervasive role in our consumption of all media. As America's youth shifted to mobile devices as a primary computing and media consumption tool, they craved shorter and shorter forms of content exclusively "designed for the flick." Since images convey emotions and experiences that short-form copy never could, the levels of engagement around images, especially within social networks, grew exponentially. It wasn't too long before brands took notice and began to build campaigns to take advantage of this new definition of status.
Bing's Summer of Doing Campaign
In 2012 Microsoft came to MRY looking to emphasize Bing's new social features, which made it easier for users to seek the opinions and advice of friends as part of the decision-making process surrounding events, purchases, travel, and more. MRY worked with Microsoft's Bing to develop a critically acclaimed campaign called "The Summer of Doing," illustrated in Figure 2.1 , which focused on distributing bespoke imagery via social media with an eye toward motivating people to go out and do things with the help of Bing.
Figure 2.1 A social media post from the Bing "Summer of Doing" Campaign (Created by MRY)
Every week during the summer of 2012, MRY and Bing launched a new theme and a quirky, extreme, or amazing "doing" search word, pairing it with artist-fueled imagery and a plethora of multi-platform programming. For example, during DIY-ing week, users were encouraged to hone their DIY skills and try out new projects, including home brewing and vertical gardening. Then they were encouraged to share the DIY-ing search word and imagery that had inspired them, as well as pictures of the projects they had created across their social networks.
MRY worked directly with the Bing product team so that those who searched and shared the word of the day were entered to win prizes to bring those searches to life, such as $1,000 in DIY kits and experiences.
Why it worked
The Summer of Doing encouraged people to go out and make the most of their summer with the help of Bing, transforming Microsoft's new product into an infinite variety of experiences for users that could be readily and easily shared.
By creating conversation that wasn't just about Bing but driving dialogue through Bing and its social features, sharing happened naturally. The ever-changing content and encouragement to start experiencing new things throughout the summer reinforced the idea that the new Bing was a completely fresh take on searching that encompassed experience, and as a result, the Summer of Doing campaign broke new records.
The first month of the campaign broke Bing's full year record for earned media buzz, increasing product conversation by over 60 percent and reaching over 97.5 million people. Most important, the campaign encouraged people to stop searching and get "doing." From jamming, wanderlusting, and spelunking to dubstepping, karaokeing, and celebrating, Bing helped users make t