Smirnoff Experience:Turn up the volume!

This case study will focus on the project management and process rather than the performance Youtube channel since that would be another case by itself. Still, I will go over certain works I did in those areas as a Channel Manager to improve engagement. 

OBJECTIVE:

Diageo developed the Smirnoff Experience events to reach young audiences, especially to promote Smirnoff Ice & Smirnoff Black drinks. The events hired a renowned DJ, several local DJs and supported heavily by visuals. The objective was to generate brand awareness and brand appreciation and having each gest to taste the product. 

PROBLEM:

How can we generate brand awareness and brand appreciation on our target audience in or Smirnoff Experience parties? 

SOLUTION:

I went to the first Smirnoff Experience party as a guest and noticed the AV work generated by the production company, just the logos, and some random visual work, it could be improved. Many local VJs visited the brand manager at Diageo showing their technologies and videos but they were not excited about what they saw.

Brand managers have a budget and they need to sell more product than the year before. How can I as a VJ help Smirnoff to achieve that with the technology I have? I had to throw all my Experience on this project.

1. I created a playlist of videos that will run in phases along the night. The first batch would be fully branded content and welcome. These videos would introduce the talents of the nights, that includes DJs and VJs (of course!). Second batch visuals with the theme of the campaign. 

2. I would have control of every video feed in the venue, even the plasma screen on the bars. I had a device that allowed me to control up to 16 independent video signals from one single position. From the VJ booth, I can control the videos on the bars, entrance, dance floor, behind the dj, chill areas. I was able to put branding, DJ names, slogan, and visuals whenever I wanted when I wanted... with the press of one button.

3. I had the representation of the Philips WOW3D displays that allows holographic 3D images. Those screens would be running on a loop on the bars, they have huge stopping power. 

4. Use a Pioneer DVJ to synchronize songs with music.

5. Calibrate lights and video to the same hue so the red of the screens is the same red as the brand.

6. Generate an entire video library with only fonts, colors and elements of the campaign. 

7. Remote cameras pointing the DJ and the audience, when the audience see themselves on the screen they go wild. 

All these solutions needed to be in sink with the music and the momentum of the party. If the main DJ is doing his show and generating tension... roll visuals but no branding on the main stage. We do not want the brand to be invasive BUT we had the name of the DJ with the font of the campaign... Once the DJ exploded! we could throw the Smirnoff Experience rotating logo, to remind the audience "this is what Smirnoff is doing for you".

MY COLLABORATION:

1. Creative Direction

2. Graphic design and art direction.

3. Motion graphics, video editing

4. Storyline and copywriting.

5. DVD mastering

6. Technical direction 

7. BTL marketing

8. Stage design

9. DJ booking

10. Video Jockey

My daily routine implied checking that all the assets were produced from previous day, check emails and report progress to upper management. Do quality control of all the assets produced the day before. Batch render and place all the assets with metadata that includes title, description, keywords, and hashtags. 

PRODUCTION:

We were set to deliver 40 titles a month. For Quality Control we created our own interface.

This one represents one week of work.

This is what a month of work would look like. The blue column represents a holiday, in that case, we would accelerate the process to deliver on schedule by the end of the month. We have never missed a delivery nor worked after hours or on weekends. 

DELIVERY MANIFEST:

After the videos passed QC, I added title, suggested description and keywords. 

I added TC1 and TC 2, those are the time codes for commercial breaks. 

Each video no contains # work number, original reel name, A or B depending on if is the first case or seconds case of the reel, the type of video (Full, Zip or Promo), the Category for the playlist and well the thumbnails. 

PERFORMANCE:

We delivered the files but the client had some other content being uploaded in the same channel under different aspects, propose and culture we didn't know about before starting the project. That took us to a series of meetings and A/B testings. 

Too resolve the "downward trend", I came up with an optimization process, depuration and audit included:

1. Assing all call to actions and End Cards to their correct target, End Card were present but no function was assigned.

2. Organize the playlists and assign the videos to their original category.

3. Clean up comment sections by eliminating spammers and trolls. 

4. Participate every day as a Channel Manager on behalf of the client in the comment sections, answering questions about the show and functionality of the channel as well as a moderator.  
 

This process was done during an entire month, day and night. It was a surgical operation since I needed to work on content being uploaded and content already uploaded from the month before, more than 190 files revised. All that on top of managing the production of the videos for the next batch and the creation of Pongalo O.T.T.

The yellow color are the videos that were found with mistakes and then fixed. The green line represents days with no videos.

RESULTS:

On a July 18th, we began implementing the optimization, this is a quick sample of the turnaround

In 30 days, we also achieved the highest watch time in the story of the channel. Just by organizing, depurating and engaging with the visitors.  

AUDIENCE RETENTION:

The average audience retention was above 50% which is amazing. That means we targeted the right audience. Each video had an average of 30K views within 3 days.... ORGANIC!

THE ART OF THUMBNAILS:

The policy with the thumbnail, title, and description: Imagine is a billboard, you have half a second to get the message while driving. Make it explicit and that do not require "mental processing". Graphic wise... imagine is the cover of National Enquirer. 

Caso Cerrado Youtube is the 2nd most viewed Youtube Channel in Florida based on Social Blade and 521st in the world. The profits duplicated production costs within a year. It was the best experience I had in production. Meetings were awesome, we faced unexpected situations, the team performed on time, with quality, creativity and a lot of humor. 

FEEDBACK FROM THE CLIENT:

LESSONS LEARNED:

1. Always deliver: there were several meeting with great ideas but everything came to the fact that we needed to deliver on a schedule and constantly.

2. Always be there for your client: There are things happening on their end that are not part of the meetings, read between lines and try to make their life easier in the background, they will notice it. There was a huge renowned corporation competing with us offering the same service at 10% of the price, Telemundo chose to work with us because of our reputation and dedication. We delivered and made the transaction profitable for the client.  

3. The comment section is a gold mine: If you can interpret the comments of your visitors and work with them, you can make miracles happen. We went from 3,000 views to 60,000 in one month during the optimization.  

4. The most important analytic is audience retention, that means you got the attention of the right people.

5. Know your team, know your process, be resourceful and do not be afraid to lead. On several meetings, I was the hub that put together every end between stakeholders. I was very thankful for being so useful and had the chance to help. 

6. Meet your client in person even for a minute. We were able to upload everything to a server but I took everything in a hard drive every month and went to the client's office to deliver in person. These two minutes were key. Human interaction can not be replaced by technology... it paid off!

7. Your team: keep them happy, engaged. They were lectured about the meetings, that makes them feel entitled and accountable. I worked on making their life easier by reducing uncertainties so they could focus on creativity. We had a blast in that office, everybody arrived in the morning smiling and left the office a bit exhausted but with a huge sense of accomplishment, ready to come the next day. "We made every man feel like a hundred."

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