Jonathan Zimmerman

The one message rang out loud and clear from the Advanced Video Integration session: It is not enough to simply create a great digital campaign. In fact, this is only the first step. The real engagement comes from involving the audience and having them campaign for you.

Four presenters offered compelling reasons, buttressed with strong supporting evidence, for making social engagement a core component of any digital campaign. Ranging from all aspects of the digital media world, these speakers each provided a key puzzle piece of our complex digital media landscape. Here are the four most fascinating campaigns they touched on.

Farmer’s Insurance: The Avengers

Kicking off the session, San Tong of Rubin Postaer and Associates summed up the theme nicely, stating “We’re living in a world where people are expecting brands to talk back to them.” If that sounds like an empty platitude, she quickly offered a compelling example to bring the concept to life.

First, she touched on a Farmer’s Insurance campaign that integrated with the movie “The Avengers.” In order to capitalize on that movie’s dedicated fan base, they promoted ancillary YouTube videos directly to comic book fans teaching them how to make DIY costumes of their favorite heroes.

Honda: Ferris Bueller

Even more impressive was her step-by-step detailing of the famous Honda Ferris Bueller Super Bowl campaign. First, a week before the Super Bowl, they released a 10-second teaser using iconic imagery and music from the movie to draw fans’ interest. Then, after releasing the extended version online, RPA ramped up audience engagement even further by hiding dozens of “Easter eggs” within the video for true fans of the movie to find.

It was easy to see from the carefully planned and perfectly executed online strategy why this campaign was able to stand out amid the cacophony of the Super Bowl spots.

True Blood: Online Video Campaign

Both David Segura and Paul McClay talked about various aspects of True Blood’s aggressive online media strategy. As a unique and stylized show with a highly dedicated fan base, the goal with True Blood was to leverage the show’s fans to spread the word themselves. As the marketing video Paul showed said, “True Blood: It’s more than a show, it’s an obsession.”

To that end, Definition 6 worked with True Blood’s marketing team and show creator Alan Ball to create a mobile app that allowed fans to place themselves in a short episode. With just a picture and some information, the audience members found themselves a part of the show, which they could then send out to their friends and other fans. As Paul said, “We put the story in the hands of the audience and let them become our distribution.”

Taco Bell: Doritos Locos

Finally, Sanjay Manandhar showed how the concept of audience engagement could be utilized by Digital Out of Home (DOOH) campaigns as well. The Doritos Locos was the best product launch ever for Taco Bell, Sanjay was quick to point out, due in part to their innovative and highly engaged marketing strategy.

Through Twitter, customers were encouraged to tweet about their experiences with the product. After using an algorithm to select the best tweets, they were projected on a massive Times Square billboard. Finally, a camera snapped a picture of the billboard and sent it back to the customer, thereby “closing the loop.”

Of billboards in general, Sanjay said, “This is not the real estate business anymore; it’s all integrated.” The same can be said for all digital marketing.

This article is part of Allvoices’ series on ad:tech, the largest digital marketing and technology conferences and expositions. Check out for more of Allvoices’ ad:tech New York event coverage. This series is supported by ad:tech.