CMON GT^: Youth branding in a social marketing context

 

CMON GT^ is youth branding in a social marketing context. This was an interactive marketing project that I developed and implemented with other stakeholders in Auckland, NZ, with the view of developing a national platform. Despite the success of the campaign it was disappointing that SPARC did not continue to support the brands development.

Here are some learnings when in this context, the web, mobile and other channels of communication are coupled to motivate change.

Summary

CMON GT^ (www.getup.co.nz) engages 13 to18 year olds in a physical activity campaign, utilising text and web based technology as well as the offline and the television media channels. CMON GT^ is based around an inter-school competition where students participate to gain points in the form of a unique game card by being physically active.

Student activity points contribute to their schools combined points with the campaign seeking to find Auckland’s most Active Secondary School. Through the website, students are able to form small groups of up to 10 players and effectively compete against each other.

CMON GT runs over 10 weeks, from Monday June 4th to Friday 10th August.

The following results detail the effectiveness of the 2007 pilot of CMON GT^ in the Auckland region.

  • 3.5 million total points.
  • 132595 episodes of activity (30 plus).
  • Approximately 15 hours of activity per participating student.
  • 31 (39 percent) of Auckland’s mainstream schools.
  • Representing 40000 students (43 percent of students).
  • Nearly 20000 website visits to http://www.getup.co.nz.
  • The mobile channel; 97% of points won for physical activity were via the mobile channel.
  • Up to 78% campaign penetration within school relative to school roll.
  • 4336 students (11% of potential students represented).
  • Most students 12 to 15 years.
  • More females students.
  • 69% NZ birth place.
  • Most students at school 1 plus years.
  • Positive feelings about school.
  • Most students enjoy handing out with friends and sports.
  • Positive feelings about being part of school.
  • Most belong to sports teams.
  • Most students spend 3 plus hours in sports teams.
  • Increase in importance of physical activity/sport in student lives.
  • Most students engage in physical activity/sport because its fun but increase in peer and competitive behaviour and park and sports field related physical activity/sport.
  • In 7 day period, increase in frequency: 5 times/week physical activity/sport (Heart Rate Up).
  • Increase in 31-40 minute intensity.
  • Increase in team/group physical activity/sport.
  • Increase in 7 day, 60 minutes/per day physical activity/sport.
  • 20 percent increase in physical activity as the mode to get to and from school with corresponding increase in time taken to get to school.
  • High PE class attendance .
  • Increase in play physical activity/sport at morning break and lunch.
  • Increase in after school physical activity/sport for 4 and 5 days per week both before and after dinner time.
  • Increase in weekend physical activity/sport.
  • 2 to 3 hours and 4 to 5 hours frequency.
  • Increase in out of school sports teams participation – 5 plus per week.
  • Main reasons for not engaging in sports clubs; cost, time, friends, transport, responsibilities, parents. Decrease in time and friends as reasons for not to engage.

 

What is CMON GT^

In 2004/05 CMON GT^ originated from an idea and proposal based on the research of Dr. Robert Davis into the strategy and effectiveness of integrated communications. This research places emphasis on the Tetradic channels of stimulus and response, that is. web, mobile, TV and offline. This research developed the CAM and LOOP models which are based on empirical evidence from Asia, New Zealand and the USA.

It was proposed that a campaign based on these models would have a singular objective and vision. To create an effective platform to motivate teenagers as well as other age groups to engage in more regular physical activity. In CMON GT^, Dr Robert Davis also played the role of: Marketing Strategist/Creative Director as well as Project Leadership/Management.

The original idea and proposal was enabled by the Auckland Regional Physical Activity Sport Strategy (ARPASS). Supporting and contributing to the vision and strategy development, ARPASS obtained project funding from the ASB Trust and ARPASS. The position of ARPASS also enabled CMON GT^ to have wider stakeholder support and they played a key role in stakeholder discussions and feedback about the campaign.

Among others, a key stakeholder relationship was with the secondary schools themselves. The primary relationship sought were with the Principals Office and Sports Directors and Physical Education. ARPASS leveraged its relationships with College Sport as well as with the regions sports trusts directly involved with schools in the Auckland region. The relationships with schools was vital to the effectiveness of CMON GT^ because they played a key role in front-line implementation with students. CMON GT^ had to augment and add-value to their existing programs.     

From a technical perspective, The Hyperfactory were a key part of the team. They were chosen through an RFP process in 2005/06 as the preferred provider of mobile and web services as well as technical project management. Apart from their extensive list of achievements and client base, The Hyperfactory were chosen to be a partner as they had; (1) a stronger focus on the mobile channel, (2) superior strategic capabilities and, (3) a clear understanding and belief in the CMON GT^ vision. It was also felt that they had greater experience in the youth market.

Like many successful social marketing campaigns and those that are in the pilot phase, goodwill has come from many supporters who share the CMON GT^ vision. These have included Vodafone, Vodafone Warriors, Nintendo Wii, Juice TV, Lee-Anne Wann and Play It Strange. Without their support and the sharing of their brands, this campaign may not have been as attractive to the youth market. 

Aim

The aim of CMON GT^ is to engage the 13-18 year old age group with an exciting physical activity campaign, utilising text and web based technology. The campaign includes music, dance, arts and culture, as well as, sport as ways of being physically active. CMON GT^ is based around an inter-school competition; students participate to gain points in the form of a unique game card by being physically active.

Student activity points contribute to their schools combined points with the campaign seeking to find Auckland’s most Active Secondary School. Through the website, students were able to form small groups of up to 10 players and effectively compete against each other. This strategy was employed because it is understood that physical activity and motivation is intimately related to peer influence.  

CMON GT runs over 10 weeks, from Monday June 4th to Friday 10th August. This timing was preferred by schools. The period also runs through Winter when physical activity maybe at its lowest level. It was also felt that 10 weeks would give adequate opportunity for competition to emerge between schools and students.

In the middle of the campaign the 2 week holiday period allows for time for special events out of school setting. While this was not implemented in the pilot, in 2007 students were encouraged by their schools to make a diary of the holiday physical activities.  For a school and student to have a chance of winning, the school and co-ordinator hosted lunchtime sessions so that the students have opportunities to win extra points:

  • Sessions were between 20 – 30 minutes in duration.
  • Schools can host as many sessions per week that suit. Ideally, daily sessions.
  • Distribute the game cards to students and/or other persons who are working with or see students doing this physical activity (team coaches, teachers, prefects).
  • Promote the campaign within the school environment along side existing activities.

The main benefits of CMON GT^ to schools is that:

  • It augments and adds value to existing schools programs.
  • The overall level of relative physical activity of students will increase.
  • The students awareness of physical activity will develop.
  • Students points contribute to the competition for prizes.
  • Sport co-ordinators of those schools will be rewarded for their efforts.
  • Zero administration for schools.

The website and mobile response channels provide an effective measurement tool that allows for the level of physical activity during the campaign to be measured at the following levels:

  • Region; Auckland, Wellington…
  • Area with region; North Shore, Auckland.
  • School.
  • Student.

It was also found that the mobile response channel provided an effective information management resource for schools. During and at the end of the campaign, schools got reports about their students by points. This information was then able to be used to showcase to the rest of the school, individual efforts.  

Brand

The brand CMON GT^ was chosen because of its direct message and call to action. The brand was designed to be specifically targeted to the youth market. The brand has a simple honesty that we believe the youth market requires. Some key brand messages included:

  • Physical activity is ÜBER COOL.
  • CMON GT^ is all about the inside of a person.
  • Like smoking cigarettes, being inactive is an outdated way of thinking.
  • Physical activity needs to happen everyday, for life, for at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Get Up! Focus on the simple things, everyday that can make this happen for life.
  • Physical activity include music, dance, arts and culture, as well as, sport.

The brand was converted into SMS/TXT language to further embody the youth feel. This conversion also gave the brand a sense of mystery that would entice students towards the brand and website. Subcomponents of the brand were also able to be separated from the main brand such as GT. This worked well with the symbolic characters GT BOY and GT GRL.

CMON GT^ is also a brand that works well with other brands. For example:

  • Sponsors.
  • Other physical activity campaigns.
  • Schools; CMON GT^ Clover Park
  • Regions; CMON GT^ Auckland

A good example is the link between CMON GT^ and PlayDay. This alliance was promoted to students via the website, TXT messages and in email communications.  

The brand also had to have personality so GT BOY was developed as the campaign face. A symbolic brand related resource and a basis of brand relationship development. GT GRL is to implemented in 2008.

Awareness

Developing the awareness of the campaign was focused on two important stakeholder relationships: schools and students.

In the schools the following process of communication, discussion and feedback was implemented:

  • Presentation of the campaign to all sports co-ordinators at the January College Sport meeting.
  • Presentation of the campaign to all sports co-ordinators at the regional sports co-ordinators meetings.
  • I page campaign brief sent to all sports co-ordinators in two College Sport mail outs.
  • A formal letter addressed separately to the Principal and the sports co-ordinators.
  • Email communication with all sports co-ordinators before and during the campaign.

For students the campaign communications were focused on:

  • Developing an attractive array of supporter brands; Vodafone, Warriors, Juice TV and Wii. The attachment of SPACIFIX to the campaign also generated awareness. This approach is more formally called co-branding or a brand alliance.
  • Enabling the sports co-ordinators as promoters of the brand.
  • Communicating the supporter brand alliance with CMON GT^ through all marketing communications.

The key marketing communications that were positioned in front of the youth market to generate awareness of the campaign were:

  • A Juice TV, TVC and coverage of CMON GT^ on GP TV on Saturday morning (9 am to 12 noon).
  • Posters that focused on communicating the brand, supporter brands and website. There were two design types; GT Boy and the Arrow. Each school were given 10 and distributions were also made to other ARPASS stakeholders.
  • DL Flyers that focused on communicating the brand, supporter brands and website. 3500 produced for tactical distribution during school holidays.
  • Schools Roadshow covering 12 large schools over the first 4 weeks of the campaign. Each school organised and promoted a lunch time event that was simple and fun. The roadshow arrived with the Vodafone Warriors and Lee-Anne Wann to participate with the students. There was Juice TV and Photographic coverage. Spot prizes were also provided.
  • Minor prizes were produced and sent to all signed up schools. In total there were about 1000 units across 31 schools and these minor prizes were used in their own school events. These schools were also sent 3 t-shirts each.
  • Coverage of the campaign was also sought through press releases and search engine optimization. The press coverage of the campaign was poor is this may have been a function of a lack of a celebrity ambassador.

Students were also attracted to the campaign through the provision of major prizes for the 10 MOST Active Students announced weekly on Juice TV of 10 Nintendo Wii Packs. Prizes were awarded to the students at the school assembly so as to maximise the impact ad influence on other students at the school. The winners came from the following schools by random method:

  • Lynfield College
  • Clover Park Middle School
  • Parnell College
  • Massey High School
  • Penrose High School
  • Pukekohe High School
  • Alfriston High School
  • Whangaparoa College
  • Mt Roskill Grammar
  • St Dominics College

The major prizes for the 3 MOST Active Schools included 3 Prizes of $1000 of sports equipment and 3 concerts by SPACIFIX (1 prize per school). The top 3 Schools were:

  • Whangaparoa College
  • St Dominics College
  • Orewa College

These concerts have been very successful. They create excitement and buzz. For example, the experience of the 15th August at St Dominics College: over 800 female students in the school hall listening to Spacifix. Going crazy.

Interactivity

Beyond awareness, based on the findings of the CAM and LOOP models and the effective use of integrated communication channels in a Tetradic configuration, interactivity was also a key part of the communication process between the youth market, channels and brand. To develop interactive communications, the hub, game and environment were integrated:

  • The HUBHUB CONTENT: Juice TV and other marketing related inputs are used to generate brand excitement, campaign awareness and the hub of communication to the overall audience. Much of the content generated here was selectively fed into the GAME and ENVIRONMENT.
  • THE GAME: The mobile is used as an interactive device that allows the students; (1) to play the game on a personal level, (2) be motivated individually (3) be made aware of what is going on in the HUBHUB and ENVIRONMENT.
  • THE ENVIRONMENT: The primary goal of the website is to motivate students through competitive feedback at the individual, group and school levels. The web is also used as an interactive environment that is for the students: (1) a campaign support tool, (2) to play the game on a personal level, (3) be motivated individually (4) be made aware of what is going on in the HUBHUB.

To facilitate interactivity with the game (mobile) and environment (web) 1.3 million gamecards were produced and distributed to schools. Each had a unique code that could be TXT in or entered into the website to win the 30 points. The game cards also had full details on game play. In a way the game cards also became an effective promotional tool and we found that:

  • Schools started to develop a double use for the card, using them as part of their internal house competition.
  • Students themselves also saw the value of the cards and a small proportion started to trade the cards.

So that there were no barriers within the interactive communication process the pricing model was set to be free. Apart from Telecom/Boost customers who paid 20c per text, entering codes was free via the website and for Vodafone customers.

Website

To create a fund and personal environment an animated, simple street feel website was developed. The website operated in real time meaning that any point won by the student and school were automatically added to their total. Designed in Macromedia Flash, the website had the following functionality:

  • Base campaign information, contacts and conditions.
  • Registration.
  • Competition feedback on top 10 schools and students.
  • Group and team development.
  • Search school or student.
  • Implementation of questionnaires and weekly points questions.

Schools were asked to put the CMON GT^ brand on their website to get click thru’s. For example, Clover Park School provided 7% of the total traffic to the website as a result of implementing this guideline. The site also promoted the supporters brands as well as PlayDay.

Email addresses collected from signed up students who consented to being sent emails were used for Weekly W’SUP Emails. These emails were used to update students on the campaign and the promote other components of the campaign such as PlayDay.  

Mobile Channel

Over 97 percent of the TXT response was through the mobile channel compared to the web. To enhance the experience of interactivity and conversation, when student TXT in their unique code they were sent a reply message. There were 53 possible random responses but some examples are as follows:

  • You have X points and are ranked X
  • Watch GPTV on JuiceTV on Saturday for the Nintendo Wii prize draw
  • Just X weeks to go to the finish. Come On! Keep Up!
  • Join a Club: Go to playday.org.nz
  • Take the stairs. Get a better lift
  • SNACKERCISE. 3 times 10 minutes per day. Yummy
  • NCEA: No Couch Exercise Allowed
  • I’m always on my toes. Ruben Wiki, Vodafone Warriors
  • Music is my motivation. Michael Luck, Vodafone Warriors
  • Mix it up. Simon Mannering, Vodafone Warriors
  • Having Fun always gets me motivated. Grant Rovelli, Vodafone Warriors
  • Surround yourself with great mates who understand how hard it can be. Jerome Ropati, Vodafone Warriors
  • My Mum always told me to always try and be the best you can be. Steve Price, Vodafone Warriors


Effectiveness

  • 31 (39 percent) Auckland schools.
  • Representing 40000 students (43 percent of students).
  • Up to 78% campaign penetration within school relative to school roll.
  • 4336 students (11% of potential students represented).
  • 3.5 million total points.
  • 132595 episodes of activity (30 plus).
  • Approximately 15 hours of activity per participating student.
  • Nearly 20000 website visits to http://www.getup.co.nz.
  • But the winner is the mobile channel; 97% of points won for physical activity were via the mobile channel.
  • Whangaparoa College – 47 % of students signed up by roll – Joanne White and Team.
  • St Dominics College – 78 % of students signed up by roll – Samantha Townsley and Team.
  • Orewa College – 23 % of students signed up by roll – Edith Miller and Team.

Schools Signed Up

 

ACG Senior College of New Zealand

Al-Madinah School

Albany Junior High School

Alfriston College

Aorere College

Auckland Girls Grammar

Auckland Grammar School

Auckland International

Auckland Seventh Day Adventist High School

Avondale College

Baradene College of the Sacred Heart

Birkenhead College

Carmel College

Clover Park Middle School

Corran School

De La Salle College

Dilworth School

Diocesan School for Girls

Elim Christian College

Epsom Girls Grammar School

Glendowie College

Glenfield College

Green Bay High School

Hato Petera College

Henderson High School

Howick College

James Cook High School

Kelston Boys High School

Kelston Girls College

Kings College

Kingsway School

Kristin School

Liston College

Lynfield College

Macleans College

Mahurangi College

Mangere College

Marist College

Massey High School

Mt Albert Grammar School

Mt Hobson Middle School

Mt Roskill Grammar School

Nga Kakano Christian Reo Rua Kura

Onewhero Area School

Orewa College

Otahuhu College

Papatoetoe High School

Parnell College

Penrose High School

Pinehurst School Inc

Pukekohe High School

Rangitoto College

Rosehill College

Rosmini College

Rutherford College

Sacred Heart College

Saint Kentigern College

St Cuthberts College

St Dominics College

St Marys College

St Peters College

Strathallan College

Takapuna Grammar School

Tangaroa College

Te Whanau O Tupuranga

The Manurewa High School

Tuakau College

Waitakere College

Waiuku College

Wesley College

Western Springs College

Westlake Girls High School

Whangaparaoa College

 


Mobile Channel

 

The website attracted over 19,000 visits with most traffic being direct. This shows effective branding and awareness. Students were also very aware if the website address. The weekly response showed a consistent cyclical pattern with peak traffic flows around Wednesday and Thursday. This result was also consistent with peak TXT flows via the mobile channel. Website traffic was depressed during the school holiday period. However, following this decline in numbers, traffics flows were re-established.

In the final week we saw a significant recovery in visits that were equivalent with Week One/Two results. This may signal that after 10 weeks, the campaign had not suffered from any significant wear out or decay. Visits to the website showed strong loyalty, with 60% being previous visitors.

Overall, the mobile channel (97% of responses) and web channel (3% of responses) response in terms of TXT/Codes entered revealed that there were; (1) 1353 TXT/codes entered per day, (2) 9471  TXT/codes entered per week and (3) 44198  TXT/codes entered per week.  

Student Profile

To measure the students profile and assess the relative change in physical activity from the beginning to the end of the campaign over 10 weeks a series of online questionnaires were implemented.

  • Most students 12 to 15 years.
  • More females students.
  • 69% NZ birth place.
  • Most students at school 1 plus years.
  • Positive feelings about school.
  • Most students enjoy hanging out with friends and playing sports.
  • Positive feelings about being part of school.
  • Most belong to sports teams.
  • Most students spend 3 plus hours in sports teams.
  • Increase in importance of physical activity/sport in student lives.
  • Most students engage in physical activity/sport because its fun. Increase in peer and competitive behaviour. Increase in park and sports field related physical activity/sport.
  • In a 7 day period, increase in frequency: 5 times/week physical activity/sport (Heart Rate Up).
  • Increase in 31-40 minute intensity.
  • Increase in team/group physical activity/sport.
  • Increase in 7 day, 60 minutes/per day physical activity/sport.
  • 20 percent increase in physical activity as the mode to get to and from school with corresponding increase in time taken to get to school.
  • High PE class attendance.
  • Increase in play physical activity/sport at morning break and lunch.
  • Increase in after school physical activity/sport for 4 and 5 days per week both before and after dinner time.
  • Increase in weekend physical activity/sport up to 2 to 3 hours and 4 to 5 hours frequency.
  • Increase in out of school sports teams participation – 5 plus per week.
  • Main reasons for not engaging in sports clubs; Cost, time, friends, transport, responsibilities, parents. Decrease in time and friends as reasons for not to engage.

 


The Potential

It is forecast that in a National roll-out, based on MOE statistics for 2006 that show that there were 270,787 students, we propose the following scenario:

  • If a national campaign was implemented based on the overall penetration in 2007 we would have attracted approximately 30,000 active participant students (11 percent).
  • If a national campaign was implemented based on the overall average penetration in 2007 of the top 10 schools in the campaign we would have attracted approximately 84,000 active participant students (31 percent).

Marketing

  • The campaign has stretch. The current version has the basic elements. However, given greater resources important new additions to the campaign can be developed; for example Web 2.0 strategy and PXT/Video messaging on the mobile.
  • Sponsors instead of supporters. Greater resources are required to attract and provide incentives to students to participate.
  • Extended roadshow to more schools. For example, Spacifix on the road for 10 weeks.
  • Greater level of sports celebrity involvement paying emphasis on the school holidays and school holidays events.
  • Extension of GT BOY/GRL. This may cover a TV Program with 15 minute coverage of the campaign on a weekly basis.
  • To continue the momentum, it important to continue building from the existing work and partners. For example, this may also help to extend the work already done on the back-end of the campaign (web and mobile systems). This back-end process extension could be applied to a Push Play Interactive Campaign and a Primary Schools (Web Only) Campaign with a New Brand
  • Based on discussions with our partners, we believe that there is the potential to extended the brand into the international market. Youth physical activity is a world wide issue. Currently, there does not appear to be any brand specifically targeted to the youth market that leverages the mobile, web, TV and offline space.

Schools Support

  • Extended period of time and resources to get schools commitment. 6 to 7 months – schools support and setup. This process should start in October 2007 to implement in 2008.
  • Greater attention should be given to multi-level school commitment from the Principal down. We found that schools in Auckland campaign that were successful had full staff commitment. Staff also benefit from being seen to be physical active as a way of motivating their students.
  • Schools alumni and community involvement so that the schools have greater support right throughout the 10 week period. It also creates greater community ownership of the activity objective.
  • More information for schools on how to play (e.g., DVD). Despite the simplicity of the campaign, some schools applied the rule to stringently while others were too lax.

Integration

  • Integration into schools programs, for example:
  • 1. NCEA integration.
  • 2. Schools house competition.
  • 3. Sportfit program.
  • 4. Active schools program.

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