“TheLadders.com $100k Experiment” gets A for Content, F for Social Functionality

TheLadders.com has a marketing campaign that is worth notice, but they failed to ask “How can I improve this by making it social?” As a result, their new campaign, The $100k Experiment, will not achieve as much attention and traffic as it might have had they considered ways to leverage Social Media.

TheLadders.com, which specializes in job openings with salaries in excess of $100,000, wanted to make a point to employers about the kind of attention $100,000 can attract. So, they placed that amount of cash into a glass box in the middle of a park and left it there unguarded. Ten hidden cameras captured the reactions of passersby.

The video is great–it’s funny, interesting, and worthy of attention. TheLadders gets an “A” for creating content that people will want to see (and unlike Google’s “5 Friends,” this video keeps it short and engaging.)

But this is 2008, and engaging content–while vital and challenging–is no longer all that is required for a successful marketing campaign. Where are the Social Media hooks in TheLadders.com campaign? Consumers cannot embed the video on their sites (which I’d consider bare minimum functionality for an online video campaign), nor can they comment on The $100k Experiment. As a result, this site is a lonely island when it could have been a bustling network of interaction.

Other than links and comments, what else might they have done to turn this lonely and isolated video into the hub of a hundred thousand conversations?

  • How about a poll to determine the charity to which TheLadders.com should give the $100,000? Think that might generate some attention, links, and dialogs?
  • Or, another charity angle might have been for TheLadders.com to allow people to select a charity, generate a custom video link, and then earn a charitable donation for the chosen charity based on how much traffic that link generates to the microsite.
  • How about the ability for people to ask for their city or neighborhood to be the next spot where the glass box stops? Might it be fun to see friends, coworkers, and neighbors punked by the $100k experiment?

Their agency did place the video on YouTube (where it had 0 views as of this morning–was I really the first to see it?) There is no reference to TheLadders.com in the text and no links to the career site or the microsite–another lost opportunity for links, attention, and traffic.

It’s hard for me to understand how in 2008 marketers could generate a great idea and execute it with care and style, but miss the importance and value of Social Media features. The $100k Experiment will generate plenty of deserved attention, but the career site could have multiplied their success by asking, “How can I improve this by making it social?”

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