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#MarketingMasterminds: Tara Louw on Woolworths' Happy Little Moments campaign

This month's Marketing Mastermind is Tara Louw, Digital Media Comms Lead: Special Occasions at Woolworths. She discusses the Happy Little Moments campaign.
Tara Louw
Tara Louw

How did the idea for ‘Happy Little Moments’ come about?

2020 was a challenging year for many people, and we knew that our customers were despondent at missing out on family traditions and companionship. So the Woolworths Happy Little Moments campaign was designed to spark a little joy in South African households over Christmas.

We created a fun video-slash-game mash-up to encourage people to find joy in the small things they were able to celebrate in 2020. The main message was, “2020 has been naughty, but we know you’ve been nice; put your worries aside for a while and find a little happiness with our interactive Christmas game”.

How does the game work?

Once users arrive on the microsite, they see a short introduction video and a call to action at the end to play the game. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure game in that you choose from three different worlds that you can explore: The Jolly Jungle, The Hall of Many Mirrors, and The Fantastic Feastival.

Inside these worlds, you collect gifts that pop up randomly, and you can play mini-games – like popping a cracker or decorating a tree – to earn more gifts. At the end of the video, your ‘gift count’ is entered into a competition.

Tell us about your campaign approach.

We wanted to reach as many South Africans as possible, so we tried various ad formats on Facebook and Instagram to amplify the game across social media and delight customers at every touchpoint.

We created three different ads, including:

  • Standard click-to-website ad,
  • Facebook poll ad, asking customers which world they’d like to experience first, and
  • Playable HTML5 ad, which allows you to play the game within Facebook before being directed to the microsite. We were one of the first to use this tool in a marketing campaign, which was all new and exciting.

As with each different world in the game, each ad highlighted different elements of the Woolworths retail brand. One highlighted food, another fashion, and the other promoted the game itself. We supplemented these with carousels and image ads.

South African comedians formed the cast (Rob van Vuuren, Celeste Ntuli, Faniswa, The Lazy Makoti) and did the voiceovers for the characters, and their energy was instrumental in bringing the videos to life. They added a layer to the campaign that made it uniquely South African. It’s fun, quirky, and entertaining.

And what were the results?

We achieved 7.5 million impressions across the three ad formats, with an average clickthrough rate of 2%. Woolworths’ special occasion adverts average a 0.8% clickthrough rate, so it was great to set a new benchmark.

The playable ads saw a clickthrough rate of 2.15%, which was impressive considering the user was already playing the game in the HTML5 ad format, so they were clicking through for more.

We recorded over 110,000 video sessions, and visitors to the microsite spent an average of three minutes playing the game. This is rare in an environment of content fatigue, which was high during the lockdown.

Were there any unexpected results?

The purpose of this campaign was to encourage children and adults to find life’s Happy Little Moments. Therefore, we had to make it exciting and intriguing enough to appeal to both audiences. What we didn’t expect was that not only did we receive positive feedback from people of all ages, but they were experiencing the excitement of this creative world as families.

We heard stories of people sharing the game with their grandchildren and interacting with the content with their children. It was beautiful to have inadvertently created Happy Little Moments and to spread some joy during a difficult time.

Will you be expanding the campaign?

Woolworths owns the technology and platform that we used to host the game, so we’ll definitely use it again, especially since this campaign was so successful. We’ll also use the same social media approach in terms of the mix of ad formats across Facebook and Instagram. It worked for us, and we got great results, so we’d like to be as creative as we can in future.

What challenges did you experience executing this campaign?

Interactive videos are pretty challenging in general. We had the added challenges of doing video shoots under strict social distancing rules and creating animated footage with remote teams.

We thoroughly planned the user journey before creating anything to ensure that every change we made to the footage didn’t jeopardise the sequence or other elements later in the video.

What was your biggest learning?

We realised that we don’t have to separate a product marketing push and an engagement campaign. In merging the two, we were able to showcase products in a fun and engaging way. It was a nice reminder to keep pushing the boundaries and to create new worlds for customers that make you stand out. It’s certainly effective at breaking through the noise on social media.

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