20 Jan

Build a Following | Give Out Video Cameras

Recently, BrightLocal conducted an online poll and concluded from the results that a staggering 69% of people trust online customer reviews as much as personal recommendations. The percent of people who fall into this category rises to 79% among 16-34 year olds. So, why aren’t more companies enticing their clients and fans to promote their product and/or service for them? Two organizations are: Disney and Nutrisystem.


Nutrisystem, a well-known diet program, has been suffering for years. Current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joe Reding came on in 2007 and since then, Nutrisystem has witnessed a 32% decline in revenue as well as their stock value. They needed a change, and it had to be fast.

Shipping individual weight-controlled, pre-cooked meals was no small task. It is a commitment that any individual has to make to him/herself – requiring a significant amount of motivation and dedication. While prior marketing campaigns relied on celebrity endorsements, Nutrisystem attacked 2011 with a new view on dieting – yours!

After sending out pocket video cameras to a select number of new clients and current employees, they were able to capture some amazing physical transformations from the client’s perspective. Compiling commercials and internet-shorts was a simple task from the hours of visuals they were provided from their more than satisfied customers – visuals included the typical holding up their old pair of jeans, playing sports, exercising, and of course, smiling.

The cost: a measly few hundred Cisco Systems’ Flip Video Cameras.

The return: Great consumer recommendations in video form  that Reding described as “real, they were heartfelt [and] sincere.”

Husser, [one of several dozen customers featured in the TV commercials], says Nutrisystem probably chose her for its campaign because the video she submitted showed her climbing onto her horse, nicknamed Edge. Before the diet plan, “I could not get on my horse by myself. Now, of course, I just hop right up there,” says Husser, of Hammond, La. “That’s pretty cool.”
–        Leslie Patton, BusinessWeek


The Walt Disney Company has always been a love of mine since my first trip to the Florida theme park. During my childhood I was determined to become a world famous cartoonist, similar to that of Walt himself. However, the times have changed, and so have the organization’s marketing tactics.

Throughout my life I have visited the wonderful world of Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters close to 15 times, if not more – including the Florida and California theme parks. However, I have very little to show for it besides some cheesy pictures and a few stuffed animals (yes, I still have a couple in my closet). If only the “Let the Memories Begin” campaign had been around during my childhood.

Disney parks have hired photographers and videographers to capture those touching moments most families experience during their visits throughout the day. Each evening, the images and videos will be projected onto the façade of the It’s a Small World ride at Disneyland and on Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World in Florida. Furthermore, families can submit their own personal memories on the official Disney Memories website to be included in the nightly video montage, future TV spots, online ads, brochures and other advertising material.

I was first exposed to the Let the Memories Begin campaign during the Disney New Years celebration at the close of 2010. On the morning of December 31st (2010 – so long ago!), I happened to stumble upon the high intensity celebration being aired of the simultaneous parties happening at the Disney theme parks. It was at this time I saw, for the first time, user captured video being aired by the professional, and well orchestrated, production team.

Is it just me, or does watching the personal memories of another family experiencing the magical atmosphere of Disney make you reminisce? I certainly think this marketing campaign has captured the power of social media and made the various channels of traditional and new age marketing work in harmony. How can I book a ticket for my next adventure?

How can you use social media and modern technology to form a marketing campaign that works in harmony with the more traditional channels of advertising? It is no small task, but it starts with connecting with your current clients, fans and evangelists. Entice them to share their personal experiences with others.