After 15 years of organic growth, the time had come for MailChimp, email marketing platform for small business, to go bigger. Our goal was to deliver a brand campaign at scale – whilst retaining our brand spirit: authentic, cool and inspiring; brand shared with its customers.
MailChimp had gained notoriety in 2014 by sponsoring the cult podcast, Serial. In it, the brand’s audio ad had a moment where people mispronounced it – calling it “MailKimp’ instead of ‘MailChimp’. This small mispronunciation became a meme, and took on a life of its own.
Taking advantage of this moment, the brand created a campaign around exactly that: stuff that sounds like the word MailChimp. We called it “Did you mean MailChimp?”
The creative team created nine new ways MailChimp was mispronounced – mostly comical, mostly ridiculous – all unbranded.
The intention was to create intrigue so that people would search to find out more – and ultimately discover the creative spirit of MailChimp was behind the fun and weirdness.
The nine new mispronunciations - MaleCrimp, KaleLimp, MailShrimp, FailChips, JailBlimp, VeilHymn, NailChamp, WhaleSynth, SnailPrimp – were developed as an activation in their own right.
For media, that meant taking nine seemingly disparate creative concepts, and turning it into a highly orchestrated, carefully navigated web of content experience and discovery.
MailChimp customers are small business owners or decision makers in design and creative fields: designers, developers, writers. They have a discerning eye and sharp taste, but are elusive to reach with traditional advertising.
So, we had to develop a sophisticated and integrated media campaign that would make them want to know more.
Each of the nine projects was a cultural activation that needed a strategy and context of their own. We treated each as a brand in its own right, which essentially meant sub-strategies for each one.
For example, for FailChips - a packet of broken potato chips – we launched like a CPG brand, with sampling, outdoor at point of purchase, and partnerships with Eater and Munchies.
For VeilHymn - a musical collaboration between real artists – we acted like a music distributer, working with VEVO, Soundcloud, Spotify and Noisey.
We worked with Paper Magazine, Racked and Buzzfeed to make men with crimped hair a thing for MaleCrimp.
We took this approach for each of the nine executions, identifying their unique cultural context, the channels that would best bring it to life, and the media partners to make it credible.
Then our most complex task was to tie it all together.
Each “Did You Mean MailChimp?” execution had a media plan that mirrored the customer journey for its category.
Our campaign, in its entirety, worked across cinema, TV, influencers, bloggers, print, outdoor, digital, social, editorial and events. You get the point. This was an integrated media campaign.
But the nine executions couldn’t live in isolation of each other. With a modest budget, the risk was a fragmented media plan would reduce the potential reach and impact. So, we created a search and retargeting structure to tie it all together.
We retargeted users seamlessly across video, content and social, and served them more executions from the campaign to bring them further into the fold.
We drove frequency and variety, making every message seen a chance to see the next one. And we closed the loop by directing people to a landing page with a discreet reveal that its MailChimp behind the campaigns.