The LOL Experiment Naar overzicht
Royal Mail’s problem is that young people – future customers – don’t value ‘the mail’.
Only one in five has ever received a letter and one in ten has ever written one.
The answer was NOT to use DM to demonstrate the qualities of the letter, because, rightly, the law prohibits cold DM to minors.
The strategy, then, was to use a medium teens love to discover a medium they just don’t know.
1. As a teaser, a ‘fan message’ was sent to influential teenage vloggers and bloggers. First as a tweet. Next, a Facebook message. And finally, a beautifully handwritten letter! Inside the last was a note asking, which was most moving?
If they thought it was the letter, they were to say ‘love letter’ at random in their next vlog/post. When they did that (intriguing their online followers), they were giving Royal Mail permission to post them each a Love Letter Writing kit.
2. Next, a challenge to write a love letter was posted on the UK’s most popular livestream TV network and, over three weeks, tutorials were given on how to write one. Young people were invited to send their love letters to LOLXperiment headquarters in London.
3. News of the experiment spread as friends followed the letter writers on Twitter and Facebook, describing the emotions stirred up by this very personal medium.
4. As the experiment’s mailbag filled, young artists were invited to turn the letters into art, the results to be shown on livestream TV. The only rule: don’t change a word.
5. At 5.31pm on Valentine’s Night, Royal Mail ran their ‘ad’ on livestream TV, with every love letter getting read out loud and the studio presenters choosing some they got turned into songs, live on air.
- With a budget that wouldn’t even buy an ad in a teen magazine, the LolXperiment reached HALF A MILLION teens and teachers!
- 200 teens wrote real love letters
- Research showed the depth of engagement to be a minimum of two hours per letter.
- Young artists demonstrated just how relevant, inspiring and memorable this oldest of media – the letter – still is.
- Over 30,000 young people posted comments about the letters, even asking for the experiment to be repeated next year.
- Teacher’s Post featured the experiment as a cover story – some teachers even used the videos as teaching aids, running the challenges in class!
- In just 30 days, Royal Mail turned LOL from ‘laugh out loud’ to ‘love our letters’:
- “Letters are physical and real – you can place it in your partner’s pocket. You can’t do that with an email! And what if your iPhone runs out of battery” val248
- “Seeing Royal Mail vans driving around in the snow now seems very lovely and British.” belinda97
This is the agency who won Silver at Cannes and a load of Golds in the UK using mail and social media for the RNLI a year ago. Now they are using the same expertise for commercial purposes, in this instances trying to get young people interested in writing and receiving letters. In other words, in keeping the post alive!
Because they consume social media mostly, you have to start and end online but in-between there is a very real role for mail in any integrated campaign.
I love this because it is a campaign that just kept unfolding. It wasn’t about repeating a simple advertising message or even about making that message so dramatic and memorable (like Cadbury’s “Gorilla”, say) it got people talking, but it was about bringing feelings alive over time. The feelings you have when you write a love letter – nervous! And the feelings you have when you receive one – amazed, flattered etc!
I don’t suppose this will win awards because judges will say it is too similar to the RNLI work – and that is a pity because this is one tough brief to crack and they cracked it!
Media: DM, Digital and experiential
Date: Summer 2011
Agency: Proximity London
Creative Director: Debi Bester
Art Directors: Luke McClure, Sonia Singleton
Designer: Martin Power
Copywriters: Debi Bester, Chris Monk, Fiona Brown-Hovelt
Social Psychologist: Nina Lindh
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