When Coca-Cola relaunched its old school Mello Yello soda brand, the challenge was how to reach a younger generation of consumers.¬†Through initial research, my team and I discovered a fan-created Facebook page. The person behind the page turned out to be not only a die-hard fan of the brand but also a college student, putting him right in the middle of Mello Yello’s new target demographic. After a little persuasion (cases of Mello Yello and a branded beanbag chair), he turned over the management of the Facebook page to the brand and became the hero of the community.

From there, the brand would need a content plan for the social community. We created a character sketch to provide the framework for a unique and fun voice–something that would make content creation and community management seamless for multiple team members.

The unique voice helped the Facebook community to grow organically, through original posts as well as fun responses to fan questions and comments. Within the first three months of content and community management, we had more than surpassed initial goals. This approach was written about by the likes of Mashable and others.

The next step was to put fuel on the fire and get people talking about Mello Yello. We started with an application that allowed fans to create a retro version of themselves. This fun application, combined with unique content meant 200,000 Facebook fans within a year.

With a growing and highly engaged community, more fan-generated content poured in, including a lot of songs about Mello Yello. This sparked an idea to give fans an official platform for their music, whether it was directly about Mello Yello or simply in the spirit of the brand. Along came One Track Find, a program launched at SXSW 2012. With street team action in Austin and free lunches and gear for bands, Mello Yello secured an audience with indie musicians from all over the country. This helped jumpstart One Track Find and the online song submission process. Musicians submitted original songs for fan voting, which in turn determined five finalists, who received studio time and went on to a final vote. That final vote determined one winner, the recipient of $30,000 and much promotion.

The top five finalists were provided studio time to record their song professionally. Video captured the action for the final stage of voting.

Along the way, it was also important to create a more solid presence for information about Mello Yello, promotions and tools for loyal fans. We created a responsive website that delivered against the brand’s personality while providing fans with digital assets that could be used in their own social media profiles.

My role: Strategy Director, Content Director, Photographer, Video Producer

Buffalo Wild Wings was looking for a way to increase traffic and buzz during the winter months, a time of the year when sales tend to dip. With basketball in full swing during that timeframe and with a 20 to 30-something core audience, we connected BWW to basketball and in-restaurant experiences. To do that, we leveraged smartphones, user-generated content and serious competition.

It started with in-restaurant activities (known as “challenges”) that were shared and completed through the location-based mobile app SCVNGR. The challenges were themed around basketball and BWW product offerings, all playing up the brand’s fun persona. The approach effectively added a game layer to every BWW location in the country.

As people took part in challenges, they earned points, which translated to real-life rewards, including a free Coca-Cola, 20 percent off a tab and a free order of wings. The challenges were scripted in such a way that it would require multiple visits to earn points for larger rewards. Part of our goal was increasing foot traffic so scripting this correctly was important.

We took the rewards angle a step further with an additional game layer. The more players competed throughout basketball season, the better shot they had at a grand prize, a trip to the NBA Finals with Scottie Pippen. An online leaderboard allowed players to track their progress against the competition.

The leaderboard also tracked the top BWW locations for activity in the program. The location with the most points won a party for their staff. Incorporating this element helped to get BWW staff telling guests about the program. This proved key for the program’s success. We also used table tents and in-restaurant TV screens to promote the program.

As people took part in the challenges, they shared content with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, helping to extend the reach of the program and the BWW brand. Over the course of the 12-week program, it generated 118 million social impressions thanks to all that sharing.

The program was successful on another important level–repeat traffic. One in three people who played came back to a BWW location to play again during the program.

The media took notice in a big way and this program also racked up several awards, including the Promo Pro Awards Best Mobile Campaign of the Year.

My role: Strategy Director