How to create a buzzworthy campaign with Paul Anderson

The Profit Hunter was all the buzz in 2019 and 2020. It walked away with numerous awards including the B2B Marketing Award for 'Best use of digital techniques or technologies'. Kavita Singh spoke with Gravity’s Global creative director, Paul Anderson, about how they accomplished extraordinary results.

Embraer is the world’s 3rd largest manufacturer of aircraft, although most people did not know that. This was the challenge Gravity Global accepted to transform Embraer and its perception as a regional aircraft manufacturer known in the US and Latin American markets to a global manufacturer of 'the most efficient aircraft in the world'. Using Gravity Global’s methodology of Fame, Admiration and Belief their goal was to dominate through creativity on a global scale and create a disproportionate share of attention for Embraer.

Gravity Global developed an integrated campaign that utilised airshow events, viral video, print, social casts and social media. The key to the overall success of the campaign was aligning audience personas with the aircraft by renaming the E2-190 and E2- E195 jets as the ‘Profit Hunter’. For most airlines the ‘Profit Hunters’ could fill an important role in their fleets opening up new markets and catering to the new scale of passenger numbers. The Gravity Global creative answer was to paint the aircraft as the ‘Profit Hunters’ to create disruptive stand-out in the sea-of-sameness of civil aviation. This tactic created real distance between Embraer and other manufacturers firmly rooting the concept of profit making in the minds of audiences as a concept and idea that Embraer own.  Check out the full campaign here!

1. Can you tell me how you were able to come up with a concept for the campaign?

Every client problem is unique and this was certainly true in the case of Embraer. Their issue was that they were making a series of exceptional and absolutely brilliant jet aircraft but limited people new about it. So, the question was, how can you stand out from competitors who have deeper pockets and more established brands on the global stage?

At Gravity Global, we have a proprietary methodology that has been developed over many years. It guides us and provides us with insights to marketing and brand challenges. It’s called  Fame, Admiration and Belief – FAB for short. So, whether we’re approaching a creative challenge or strategic challenge, we always apply our lens of Fame, Admiration and Belief. Studies have been undertaken to find out what makes brands successful and they have shown that Fame, Admiration and Belief in equal measures were the commonalities of successful growth brands. At Gravity we use these levers to deliver creative work that delivers a disproportionate share of attention. We see ROI as a return on imagination.

‘Fame’ is top of line awareness and that includes: Have I heard of this brand? Do I know them or have I seen them around?  Do I understand what they do? In the case of Embraer, their fame was absolutely limited. Not many people knew about the E-jets even though they were the third largest airframe manufacturer in the world.

In terms of ‘Admiration’, which is about how people feel emotionally predisposed for a brand, people that knew the product or experienced the product absolutely loved it. Current customers would wax lyrical about Embraer so we could see that we would need to harness the power and potency of this audience passion.

Moving to ‘Belief’ which is based on how people engage with the brand and do they recommend it and become advocates for it? In the case of Embraer, belief and advocacy were really strong.

So, it became obvious that we would need to focus on the ‘Fame’ for Embraer. Once armed with that directional pointer we could start to develop the creative brief with a very single minded outcome at its heart – Fame.

2. How did you go about tackling the issue of fame?

‘Fame’ is about standing out and creativity is a great tool to achieve this.  A creative answer can punch well above its weight in like for like marketing spend.

Something we’ve been talking about for a long time at Gravity is the attention economy. I think we may have invented it. That’s because we believe that the attention economy effectively shows the battleground of where a brand actually stands. If you buy into that thought, it comes down to what we call “return on imagination” I mentioned earlier. We like to use “return on imagination” because creativity is what helps you get a strong emotional response and helps you become a part of a broader conversation. It helps with engagement, and it helps demonstrate your youthfulness-in-mind as a brand as well. It makes you current and relevant through creative ideation.

We have three C’s at Gravity to help us judge creative ideas. The first is ‘Cut through creativity. Does the idea stand out? Will it disrupt? Is it brave and worthy of attention? Then there is the contextual relevance. Does the idea sit well in world and market conditions? Does the brand, product or service answer an unmet need of audiences?  Finally, there is the cultural relevance. Is what we are doing good for the brand? Is it aligned to audiences? Does it respect the values of our audiences and the wider communities in which we operate? If your creative answer can respond well creatively, culturally and contextually, you’ll get the return of imagination and ultimately a disproportionate share of attention.

Knowing how we approach things at Gravity you can clearly see how the ‘Profit Hunter’ creative concept visually cut through on the airport apron where there were a line of white jets. You can see contextual relevance by aligning the concept with desired outcome for audiences – ‘Profit Hunter’ and you can see the cultural relevance in aligning various ‘Profit Hunters’ with different geographies at the same time as rooting the concept in a globally shared ambition of airlines.

3. What social channels did you feel were the most effective in creating social buzz?

The sheer impact of the painted ‘Profit Hunters’ was made for social media. We saw brand mentions rise by an incredible 88%, net sentiment increased by 85%, we reached a global audience of 28.8bn and increased the follower base by 150% to the nearest competitor Airbus. Twitter, Linked-in and Instagram worked well for us as we had such a visual creative concept. We saw it being shared intensely but from a personal perspective I loved it when the ‘Profit Hunter’ made the front page of various newspapers and magazines and the power of their social also kicked-in creating the cumulative effect.

Outside of social we used virtual reality (VR). We created a Data Forest to show how tech and data can transform aircraft performance and operation. The creative team also had fun building an interactive display where you could physically make a shape with your body and it was then tested for aerodynamic properties. Yes, a lot of fun but firmly rooted in the innovation and technology of Embraer and it ladders back up to a demonstration of the systems that made the E2 range of jets ‘Profit Hunters’. Getting close up and personal with a brand in the aviation sector can never be underestimated. Each piece is a demonstration of how Embraer thinks and operates. So, you get cutting edge event-based technology, and the brand itself was tech driven, so VR sat really well. The anecdotal evidence showed that it was incredibly well-received with 12 new orders achieved at the airshow.

The second piece the Gravity team produced was a content driven mini-docu/film series called “Incredible Journeys”. The concept was to demonstrate how Embraer contribute to the economies their jets fly to and to demonstrate how the E-2 jet range can play an important part in developing countries and economies. It was headed up by Arthur Williams who is a pilot himself. It was well-produced and brought an awful lot of people closer to the brand. It also fed into the cultural relevance piece and contextual piece. If you don’t have great content, then people aren’t going to engage with it. Creative content is becoming more critical for B2B brands and it represents a real investment for them. It does however allow deeper engagement for brands and their audiences but in our view, it must always feed into a bigger purpose and be representative of the long-term ambition and standing of the brand it serves.

At Gravity, we do a lot of our own sentiment measures. The reason behind this is so we start with a very clear brand health check. It allows us to start an activity with a very accurate snapshot of the brand and we can see over time how the sentiment changes during and after any marketing activity. In Embraer's case, we could see the daily increase on the reaction to the painted aircraft and that the ‘Profit Hunter’ was landing well as a concept that could be only owned by Embraer.

4. What is the key to bringing creativity to a social campaign like this?

One critical part of this that agencies might overlook is the piece about how brave the client was to go ahead with this. So, imagine you manufacture a product that costs millions of dollars, and your agency comes to you and says we want to paint the aircraft like a giant tiger showing its teeth and looking fierce?  Strategically, we as Gravity Global see it as a smart thing to do and we're doing it based on sound insight to create fame and a disproportionate share of attention but it is always the brave sprit of a client that makes it happen. Most marketing campaigns or brand ideas that stand out in any sector will probably have a client that can see the risk reward equation of clutter-cutting creativity behind them. Great creative agencies are usually built on great and brave clients and we are incredibly proud of our clients that continue to help us innovate in complex markets and break new ground.

Creative people by their very nature will always take some sort of risk because they know instinctively that’s how you make a real difference. I also think what we found generally is that people need to have fun in marketing and creativity can deliver the smile in the mind.  The fun for creative people seems to be dwindling away from many brands as they focus on short-term metrics especially in challenging conditions but creativity thrives in these times and I see with clients like Embraer, the fun and the passionate spirit is very much alive and it’s delivering outstanding commercial results.

5. Why do you think it resonated with audiences so much?

I think the ‘Profit Hunter’ was so different because on your first experience of the aircraft and not knowing anything about it at all, you would be intrigued. You see an aircraft and the incredible painted airframe in the image of a shark or tiger and as humans, we are attracted to things that raise our natural curiosity. You want to know the story and narrative behind why it is there. I think that’s why it resonated with audiences in showing people something intriguing. It has automatic curiosity and dwell time built into the creative concept. As humans, we are attracted to things that raise our curiosity.

Once you understand it visually in your own mind, the picture starts to grow as you attain pieces of the wider story. You start to see beyond the personality of the painted airframe and develop a broader understanding of what Embraer truly has to offer. I think people like to build up stories in their own minds. It’s a bit like dating, you first meet someone unknown and then overtime you get to know them better until you have a more complete picture of that person. This is where we see Fame, Admiration and Belief play out. Hello. I like you. Did I tell you this guy is great?

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