Sol Beer's 'My sunshine in a bottle' campaign, created in partnership with The Odd Number and launched in November last year, has to date reached a new audience of 900,000 followers and an engagement rate of 6%, surpassing the industry standard of 1%.
The campaign took the most popular posts from 60 social influencers and broadcast them on digital billboards across the country in real time. This not only achieved greater reach and brand awareness but also demonstrated that through-the-line campaigns can use digital to source user-generated content for use in traditional media channels, thus marking a first for South Africa.
“Sol is all about offering our fans bold, fresh new experiences that are firsts for South Africa. With this campaign, we’re moving beyond a purely digital campaign and we’ve found a clever way to integrate a social media campaign into an above-the-line medium,” says Katie Lu, Sol Beer’s senior brand manager.
During phase one, influencers were asked to create Sol content pieces showcasing how they express and share their version of ‘Freedom in the sun’ by illustrating genuine moments of how Sol is captured in their everyday lives, explains Lu. Every day three of the best posts were broadcast on digital billboards across Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town each day and played 15 times each hour from 11am-1am daily, showing that digital campaigns can translate in the traditional media space.
Phase two of the campaign was implemented earlier this month and involves taking this to their consumers. “We know how consumers love showcasing their lives and lifestyle on social media and often these images are only seen by their friends and followers… Phase two is about our consumers having their images beamed to a larger audience by giving them a chance to be on a digital billboard near them. We look out for consumers that post their version of ‘freedom in the sun’ on Instagram and using the hashtag #FreeYourSol and #SolBeer, we are able to contact these consumers and share their photos.”
Through this campaign, Sol Beer and The Odd Number demonstrate that it’s possible to run a pioneering campaign that resonates with people online and convert that into the traditional media space quite easily, says Lu. “It has been really exciting to open up a conversation online and then bring that conversation across into the outdoor media space to reach even more people.”
Here, she goes on to explain what makes this campaign stand out and what gave them this innovative idea in first place…
What makes Sol Beer’s ‘My sunshine in a bottle’ campaign special?
This campaign is special because it’s a first for South Africa. To combine social media and billboards in real time while showcasing the spirit of SOL beer through our digital influencers is a really unique approach.
As this - leveraging a social media campaign across digital billboards in real time - is a first for South Africa, what sparked the idea and what did it take to make it happen?
Having an always-on digital strategy demands creativity and we work with agencies that know how to combine innovation and digital platforms together in clever ways.
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Why did you decide to go the influencer route, and to integrate their social media messages/the online conversation into an above-the-line, OOH medium?
The overall objective of the campaign is to get reach and engagement on social media to educate consumers about Sol and get relevant Sol branded content out. The role of influencers is to help curate relevant content and increase reach and engagement on social media to reach audiences that we may not ordinarily access through our owned channels. We carefully selected influencers that represented the brand essence of Sol and by leveraging off their social media platforms, Sol was able to reach a wider and more niche target audience.
Taking this approach, was relevance compromised by greater reach and brand awareness? How did you ensure your messaging was targeting the right people, in the right place, at the right time?
No, by working with carefully selected influencers we ensured that we retained our relevance while also achieving greater reach. Influencers were those whose lifestyle and online content matched the Sol brand essence and whose followers were the kinds of people we aim to engage with. The beauty of social influencer campaigns is that we are able to talk to people on the best mediums at the right time to increase the uptake of messages.
Comment on the real-time aspect.
The real-time aspect of the campaign was critical. It’s what one expects from digital these days! We wanted to ensure that the photos we selected for the billboards were relevant and fresh and not several months or even years old, and digital is a medium that enables you to source content and use it in real-time to ensure relevance. What is your opinion of digital in relation to other channels?
Digital is an essential part of the marketing mix and Sol leans heavily on digital marketing. We are always looking to innovate and do something bold and this campaign allowed us to innovate digitally while also taking advantage of the strengths of more traditional mediums.