22 September 2008

Penguins, Foxes, Cows, Oh My! "Open Source Idol" Exceeds Client Business Goals

If you went to LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco this summer, you might have noticed a herd of young ladies dressed up as open source mascots. Tux the penguin, the GNU, Mozilla's Firefox and BSD's Beastie devil roamed the show floor asking "Who's The Next Open Source Idol?" and searching for willing souls to sing and dance on behalf of their favorite OSS mascot. Don't worry if you didn't make it to LinuxWorld this year, we were caught on tape. You can check out the outlandish fun here.

You might wonder what spurred this madness. Well, it wasn't all fun and games. We had concrete goals to accomplish on behalf of our client, GroundWork Open Source. First, demonstrate that GroundWork is a dedicated member of the open source developer community. Second, attract over 1000 views to GroundWork's YouTube channel over two months.

We needed to produce videos that would appeal to any open source enthusiast around the world. So, why not go straight for the patriotic spirit mascots have been known to inspire?

At this point, various forces in the universe collided: I was addicted to the popular reality show "So You Think You Can Dance?" which kept dancing on my mind. In addition, I had just learned about Cisco's first social media product launch, which helped me understand ways to integrate various social media tools for PR and marketing.

Lying in bed at 3 am the morning before we were to brainstorm fun ideas for GroundWork, the first flash of "Who's The Next Open Source Idol?" popped into my head. I immediately jumped up and started researching iconic open source animals. Before dawn, I had begun brainstorming various traditional marketing and social media tools we could use to promote the contest. Of course, this all hinged on my confidence that we could convince a bunch of open source developers to sing and dance on camera. No problem, right?

The rest of the project is almost a blur as we proposed the idea to GroundWork only two days before the start of LinuxWorld. There was a lot to prepare and the Page One PR social media team worked hard to turn a crazy idea into reality. Our fearless leader, Craig Oda, and social media guru, Shelly Milam, led the charge while Kim Terca, Ariana Parasco and I were eager to dive in.

Here are some stats for what the social media team was able to produce in about a week's time:

Campaign Promotion and Social Media Integration
First, we needed to figure out creative ways to promote open source idol. We didn't have the luxury of building up momentum before the show because we only had a couple days to throw this project together. The videos for GroundWork's YouTube channel were required for the project, but we used them as "teasers" to drive traffic to an online polling widget posted on GroundWork's open source community site. We put out a social media release and used Twitter and Facebook to help promote our videos and online voting. We also took votes from people at LinuxWorld and offered them "I Voted" stickers. We gave out free "Who's The Next Open Source Idol?" t-shirts to people for singing and dancing on camera. GroundWork blogged about the contest while we appealed to Mitchell Baker, Chairperson of Mozilla Foundation, and blasted open source community mailing lists encouraging developers to vote.

Outstanding Results
GroundWork's corporate website traffic increased by 43% during the first three days of the contest. 1,113 people went to GroundWork's open source community site to vote online. Combined, all four videos received 5000 views in one week (our goal was 1000 views over two months). GroundWork received a lot of chatter in the Twittersphere and also gained new followers. "Who's The Next Open Source Idol?" was posted to Fark.com and was covered by Wired.com, Network World, and bounced around the blogosphere as well.

Highs and Lows
The amount of energy and adrenaline that went into "Who's The Next Open Source Idol?" was amazing. I guess there weren't any lows here. Though the project was time-intensive and exhausting, it was really fun. If you watch the fourth video, you'll even see GroundWork's VP of Marketing hopping in on the open source idol conga line.

By the conclusion of this project, GroundWork had received remarkable attention from open source enthusiasts around the world. I am also proud to say that Firefox was the official contest winner! There are at least three different Firefox character throughout the four videos we produced. I wonder if you can recognize which one was me?

1 comment:

Alex Birch said...

Oh... it's good that geeks make enough money to keep attractive women around them... great video!!!