Opinion / Lynx Harnesses the Power of Social TV
Lynx community manager Alex Willimott on how the brand's feisty approach to social media helped it deal with a potentially tricky situation
When a TV show opens with grainy (but graphic) footage of people having sex in public, and then a man touts the benefits of your FMCG brand in relation to his (questionable?) sexual exploits, that could be considered a negative association. And when your brand is a youth brand with a substantial social following, any resulting sentiment is really going to be amplified.
Towards the beginning of the one-off expose 'Dogging Tales' at 10pm on 4th April on the UK's Channel 4, a middle-aged man in a sparkly cat mask sprayed Lynx on himself, spent far too long looking for his glasses, and then proudly showed the camera his Lynx 2012: Final Edition, telling the 2.1 million people watching that this product is a near 'guarantee' for a good night's dogging.
We had a vague heads-up around 6pm that day that Lynx would get a mention on the show, but we only knew it would feature in some way; we didn't know how or when or how much, or even what the show itself would entail. We went out with a fairly neutral tweet within a few seconds of the brand's cameo on-screen, which picked up a raft of replies as people began tweeting about imagined crisis talks held by the Lynx Marketing team, before noticing that we had actually already acknowledged our randomly found fame, and were game for a bit of social banter throughout the programme and its repeat on Channel 4+1.
"Good choice of fragrance over on @Channel4 - guaranteed to get a bit more attention, whatever the situation..! #DoggingTales"
#DoggingTales was the most tweeted-about Channel 4 programme of the year so far, trending organically worldwide all evening (along with 'lynx' in position 4 in the UK) and the conversation carried on through the next day, with the hashtag staying buoyant until early afternoon. We took ten minutes out in the morning for a visit to the local fancy dress shop and a few similar masks, coffee cups and the title 'Lynx Social Media Team CRISIS MEETING' scrawled on a whiteboard resulted in one of our favourite images of 2013.
The documentary had the highest viewing figures for this time-slot, and generated some serious buzz on Twitter, with around 117,000 tweets in the first hour and a quarter (as measured by SecondSync). In total, Lynx picked up a little over 10,000 mentions in the two to three days that #DoggingTales was talked about on Twitter, considerably more than usual, even over the course of a month.
As brand guardians, we have very little control over where and when our brands' products are used or publicised, and in a situation such as this the potential for damage by association is high. The Lynx team's timely response and perfect on-brand tone on Twitter helped balance out some of the more negative opinions being put forward on the platform, and served to reinforce the image of Lynx as a fun, conversational brand in social spaces.
The success of this event emphasises that effective community management needs to embrace an always-on approach; equally able to operate any time of day or night. This is only possible when a community manager is fully immersed in their audience's culture, acutely aware of their wider interests and able to speak to the community in the same way that they speak to each other.
Alex Willimott is Lynx community manager at TMW