Trend - BITE sized marketing trends

Brand services win. Again, and again.

Cow & Gate - Happy Song

Advertisers have rather struggled with the internet. Over the years cars have had to come to terms with no one wanting to click on their banners. Shampoos realise no one really wants to be mates with them on Facebook. And airlines learnt people are more interested in complaining at them on Twitter than following their musings on the world.

So we’ve taken to being “publishers”, desperate to create compelling content that is as riveting as it is effective. Whilst being left a little deflated when our #hashtag short films on washing powder aren’t getting the likes or views we had anticipated.

I’m not the first to proclaim successful content should be useful or entertaining, or both. But I would urge us to focus on the “useful” bit to begin with. Not in a hackneyed “brand utility” way either, where a bluetooth button re-orders pork scratchings effortlessly creating “meaningful connections with consumers”. But rather where brands look to focus as much on service provision as product provision.

A service outlives an ad by a hundred times when people choose to use it. Again, and again. If successful, you become a small but genuine part of that person’s life. Be it giving advice or directions, you are there for them when they need you. Furthermore, a service lives organically online. It doesn’t need to be seeded, or fuelled or manipulated. And it can be iterated until it is functioning perfectly. It isn’t a slave to messaging. Or flash in the pan “viral success”. It holds our attention, and does wonders for brand loyalty.

Perhaps we will see a world where all brands move from simply pushing message or content in the digital space, and take money out of marketing budget to create online services. Done well, could these ultimately become a revenue stream of their own?

Cow & Gate - The Happy Song

The Happy Song

Cow & Gate set a good example in service provision. The C&G Baby Club welcomes parents into their online community from conception through babyhood, offering forum discussions and expert advice in early life nutrition. Ultimately, they boldly went beyond baby food into service provision.

C&G Baby Club - Sound of Happy
We wanted to promote C&G Baby Club with a powerful example of our expertise, and how we can support parents in their baby's happiness. So we created the first song in the world to be scientifically tested to make babies happy.

We started by sourcing “happy noises”
Through C&G Baby Club, we asked parents to share sounds that made their babies happy. From “sneezing” to “animal sounds” we soon had a varied and happy repertoire.

We partnered with experts
We worked with Emmy award winning composer Imogen Heap, and leading baby and music psychologists, from Goldsmiths, University of London. Using the happy noises, we produced 4 test tracks exploring tempo, pitch, pattern and rhythm. A 4 month testing process at our Infant lab with over 50 babies analysed baby responses including movements, facial expressions, heart rate and vocalisations to see what created a positive mood. From this research, our Happy Song was born.

It’s a hit - and it’s working
The song was also released on iTunes where it reached number 1 in the children’s chart in 24 hours. The Happy Song music video went on to receive over 1.86 million views, and we received global news coverage from The Daily Mail to Time Magazine, CBS to BBC Radio 4. Most importantly, with over two million song plays to date, we have helped affirm our role as experts in babies happiness (making a lot of babies happy along the way!).

Who knows. Perhaps the next iteration will become a revenue stream in it’s own right.

Agency: The Happy Song - Making of , BETC London

1.86 million
views of the music video
No. 1
in the iTunes children's chart
Cow & Gate - The Happy Song
Cow & Gate - The Happy Song

About the author

Olly Markeson, BETC London, Planning Director

Olly started life in brand management at P&G in Geneva, Global Design for Fine Fragrances. Since moving agency side he has led strategy across a number of accounts, including Vodafone, Bisto, Pantene and McCain, from larger network agencies such as Grey, to creative hot-shops such as BMB. He has been awarded a silver Euro Effie, and has had work nominated for British Arrows and Campaign Big Awards among others. He is a mentor and guest lecturer at The School of Communication Arts, and has been published in The Guardian newspaper. He has also spent the last 13 years serving in the British Army, as both a regular and reservist, currently holding the rank of Captain in the infantry.

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