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CASE STUDY: 'Pass the Ball' for Cisco WebEx by DNX

DNX invited its audience to use WebEx to share ideas or - to use its campaign strapline - to 'Pass the Ball'. The campaign ran globally and DNX looked after all activity in the UK, Germany, France, Nordics and Benelux.

Using a photographic style inspired by David Hockney, DNX created a bold, differentiated campaign that carried a variety of messages and images, and was run across a wide range of media including online banners, digital underground posters and cross-tracks. Video pods were set up at key European locations in which people could record their ideas. All traffic was directed to a central website.

The campaign delivered 176,417 click throughs to the site and 5,273 people interacted.
701 ideas were submitted to the website by audiences in the EU and 335 videos were recorded in the ball booths. Traffic to WebEx's main European sites increased by over 40 per cent. In France, it increased by 100 per cent.

Cisco WebEx



The client company and product

Cisco WebEx online meeting solutions are well known in their field. Their solutions enable people to collaborate and work together online, no matter where they happen to be. All you need to use WebEx is an internet connection and you can: communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world; share documents, make presentations, demonstrate products and services; and start a secure web meeting instantly from your desktop with just a click of the mouse.

Objectives of the campaign

DNX wanted to broaden the appeal of Cisco WebEx online meeting software by targeting a new audience of young influencers. We wanted them to become aware of our online meeting software and regard it as an everyday tool that can make sharing ideas the work of a moment, and not just something to use in formal meetings.
Target audience
Whilst Cisco WebEx online meeting solutions are commonly used in the workplace in the US, penetration is lower across EMEA. We recognised that continuing to use the existing messaging would not deliver the increase in business the client demanded.

We therefore needed to look for a new audience and we quickly found it - the young influencers who have recently entered the workplace. Aged between 22 and 32, these people have always been surrounded by technology. Sharing gossip, files and music is second nature to them and they are seldom without an iPhone, a Blackberry or a laptop.

We therefore had to position WebEx in such a way that it would slot naturally into their multi-channel relationship with technology and the internet and become part of their daily working life.

Creative strategy
Our creative had to strip away all the formalities that the phrase 'online meeting software' might suggest. We wanted to keep things light and modern.

We deliberately avoided terms like 'work', 'collaboration' and 'meeting' as these would be an instant turn-off to our audience. Our language was all about 'ideas', 'sharing' and 'conversations', in keeping with the ethos of web 2.0.

To suggest 'sharing ideas' we needed a visual device and the WebEx ball (which is featured in the product - you 'pass the ball' when you pass control of the document under discussion to another person) was perfect. It was on brand, easy to understand and required no translation. The invitation to 'share an idea' became 'pass the ball'.

We also had to convey the idea of communication between people in different buildings, countries and continents. Given that many of our executions were going to be static, we created a visual style that enables us to connect any two scenes. The multi-photo technique (borrowed from David Hockney) is flexible, visually striking and suitable for working in any medium from flash banners to cross track Underground posters. It's also very different from anything used by the competition.

Our creative is boldly different from everything else in the sector. Our competitors are all talking about cutting down on travelling to meetings and environmental issues. None of them are talking about sharing or ideas or trying to engage with the younger audience profile. The creative also places the icon of the product at the very centre of the campaign.

Media strategy
Our creative was adopted for the global campaign, but we were only responsible for the activity in Europe - UK, Germany, France, Nordics and Benelux. In the three largest markets, the campaigns were centred around three launch events, one in each country.

At the launch event in London, a 7ft video ball booth was set up at Victoria Station and people were invited to share their ideas with us via video. These were then posted on the website and were supplemented by online contributions. The event was supported by promo staff who handed out branded stress balls, outdoor and poster activity.

Such was the success of the ball booth in London, we used at the German and French launches too. In France, people also shared their ideas via a radio competition on NRJ.

The campaign included online banner advertising, a viral 'Don't drop the Ball' game and a viral email in which people were encouraged to pass a ball around the world and track its progress.
The campaign's hub was the website which was the central repository for all ideas given. People were invited to rate and share them.

To encourage involvement in the campaign, WebEx pledged to make a donation to Teachers Without Borders for every interaction.

The campaign began in May 2009 and is still running (as of July 2010).

All activity was designed to direct traffic to the campaign website.

In the UK, traffic to WebEx's own site increased by 40 per cent during the campaign. Search traffic increased by 75 per cent. In Germany the figures were +65 per cent and +60 per cent respectively. In France the figures were +100 per cent and +15 per cent respectively.


Client testimonial
"Pass The Ball was a brand campaign created by DNX that gave Cisco WebEx a global personality. It was a great foundation for all of our marketing especially as we spoke to business consumers and moved in to social media. It very cleverly took something recognisable from within the product and created a fun and emotive identity that should run for years to come."
Petra van der Vet, Cisco WebEx.