Learn Social Media by Example: The Zack16 Campaign

Social Media Campaign Stat Box

: The Meet Zack Campaign

: http://zack16.com/

: Twitter, Youtube, Blog

: Teens and Youth

: April-June/2009

: 2 months

The Meet Zack Campaign, by Leo Burnett USA, is quite the fascinating and boundary decimating campaign. It really pushes the limits of what kind of approach a marketing campaign can take and it blurs the lines of what is an ad.

What is it about?

The spokes person for this ad is Zack Johnson, a regular 16 year old high-school kid who wakes up one day to discover an amazing change in his life. His “tool” has gone missing and he ended up with a set of “Girl Parts” instead, now that idea alone is intriguing enough, but it goes beyond that.

The execution of the campaign is impeccable. The script and the acting for the Youtube videos are top notch and really grasping. While Zack’s personality comes through the videos, his humanity shines on the blog and Twitter account. The interaction, and the comments on the blog really give Zack the “real deal” feel, allowing the campaign to not just raise awareness but also to function as a research tools as well and its most evident in the “Help Me” section.

The “Help Me” section is where Zack’s asks for help dealing with his new “fuzzy wuzzy” where Zack asks questions about Where did you get your first period?” and “Does your PMS come in hard like a raging thunderstorm? Or roll in like clouds with a chance of showers in the afternoon?“… Eye brow raising to say the least. Even though people will try to genuinely help him with his question and participate in the discussion.

Buzz Generation

Notable mentions:

They’re pushing all sorts of boundaries with a character named Zack Johnson—a cute 16-year-old dude who wakes up one morning with lady parts. When I first saw his fictional blog Zack16.com, I was too dumbfounded to even know how to process it. The site chronicles his “changes,” day by day. WTF?” – The Frisky

Twitter: 669 tweets1,843 Following 1,736 followers 19 Listed

Blog : peaking at 15,914 a month in June, 2009

Youtube: 144,873 Total Upload Views

Comment on Youtube

Comments on Youtube

Why did it do what it did?

Definitely broke a lot of boundaries and it took some balls for the marketing director to green light this. The way that the promotion is so non-intrusive that you can’t help but dig in deeper into their site and try to learn more because it’s simply genuinely interesting.

Now you are probably wondering which company was responsible for this, actually it was the ‘conservative’ P&G Tampax. The fact that branding was kept to a minimum helped promote its brand in a very sublime manner. The weirdness of the plot, and using the first person in the narration really helps create a personal connection to the campaign and the manner of interaction, comments and tweets, fosters that.

Sadly giving the number of comments left and website views the campaign had great potential to be viral but it never broke through. While it was talked about on many blogs but it was mostly acclaimed by professionals and enthusiasts of marketing rather than the target audience and it is baffling as to why that is the case. Maybe the way it was branded and promoted didn’t help it to garner viewing outside of its niche market or maybe the lack of a profile on Facebook, the largest social media network, had something to do with. Either way, I hope that the campaign inspired many and you never know maybe it still has a chance to become really viral.

What do you think of the Meet Zack campaign? What was your first reaction? Why do you think it didn’t garner as much  notice as it deserves? Let us hear your thoughts about it…

: 2/5
: 4/5
: 5/5
: No
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Comments and Reactions

7 responses to “Learn Social Media by Example: The Zack16 Campaign”

  1. Beiruta says:

    Wow! I am in love with the idea! On one side, it breaks the norms of how we think and see things and on the other, it introduces a fresh concept I have never heard of before!

    This is how I would rate it: Success 3/5 Virality 4/5 Innovation 8/5 Feels like an ad 0/5 Brand visibility 1/5

  2. Roba Al-Assi says:

    Nice! That actually sounds very interesting. It even made me read some of the posts and watch some of the videos. Hilarious idea.

  3. Richie says:

    My first reaction was that I wanted to hear more of the story. It was intriguing
    A very clever marketing idea.
    But it was 8 months ago and I couldn't see any follow up! (I checked their youtube profile and that seems to be their last video!)
    As you highlighted, one of the youtube comments was “wheres day 2”
    Was there a day 2 or any follow up for this campain?
    If not, it aint gonna work!

  4. Richie says:

    Hmm, just saw their follow up youtube videos on their blog – http://zack16.com/
    Why did I miss it on their youtube profile?
    Anyway, the first vid is intriguing, but the rest are a bit boring.
    And no branding at all even after video 4 (I'm not going further), well, they're not going to sell much with that campaign.

  5. M.Bamieh says:

    that's probably one of the reason why this campaign didn't work all that well, probably they were focusing on too many channels and didn't hold a consistent message about the branding. The only thing that dealt with branding of any sort was one of the comments in the help me section and part of the other comments… not much at all

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