You may be familiar with New Castle Brown Ale’s satirical take on marketing. If not, I highly recommend watching their YouTube playlist. They call out the bullocks with no restraint and regularly newsjack big events. Most notably, the brand produced over eight videos about a “mega huge” Super Bowl ad that was never produced, and never was going to be produced. New Castle then proceeded to create videos about how other brands should have made their ads “mega huge.”
However, it wasn’t until June that New Castle turned their satire towards social media marketing. The brand launched an in-your-face social media campaign that was meant to literally buy Twitter followers. Too clever for their own good (they claim that the marketing team was not willing to put in the time to come up with a better idea), New Castle announced the “Follow the Money” campaign.
“Follow the Money” was designed to earn up to 50,000 new followers for the brand on Twitter by paying each new follower exactly $1.00 in exchange for their following. Being a social media analyst and enthusiast, I did not hesitate to participate.
After watching the video (below), going to http://FollowNewCastleOnTwitter.com (very literal) and clicking the “Follow” button, you then waited. About 6 hours later, you received a direct message from New Castle:
Finally, a DM worth receiving!
After waiting some more, you should have received a letter from New Castle around September 8th with enclosed payment for your surly duty — a brand new shiny commercial check in your name on it for the amount of one whole dollar!
Not Good Over $1.00
So participants received a one-dollar check and something to blog about. But what did this whole stunt earn New Castle?
First, consider the strategy. New Castle wanted to spend the least amount of money to market their product. Let’s be honest, the new Twitter followers are just a byproduct of this campaign. The real aim was the loads of earned media from doing what every other brand did not have the bullocks (or brand voice) to do. It was a lofty goal, but not one too difficult to execute these days. You just need a wacky idea, a press release, a YouTube video and be ability to fulfill the promise.
New Castle Brown Ale ended up with 45,095 total followers (as of 9/11/14 at 5:30pm EST). Assuming they paid them all, discounting the 15,000 or so followers they had prior to the campaign, New Castle paid a total of roughly $30,000, plus postage and handling. However, the brand’s video received over 39,000 views, and the campaign received a considerable amount of media attention in the form of articles and blogs. In the grand scheme of things, the “Follow the Money” campaign was a relatively small investment compared to past campaigns, and well worth the cost per impression.