CRM case study: Carling promises ‘Brighton or Barbados’ holidays to build customer database

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Carling is the latest brand to push hard into the CRM space with an aggressive database building campaign, offering holidays for an upcoming bank holiday weekend in the UK. The campaign aimed to increase the drinks brand’s database of opted-in valid customers, al;ongside building brand equity, associating Carling with holiday weekends and giving people great experiences. This case study looks at how the ambitious campaign attracted much attention- but not always for the right reasons.

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Case study summary:

• In an overcrowded marketing environment, Carling needed to come up with a campaign to allow them to grow their CRM database

• Drinks brand launched a bold campaign offering customers a holiday in order to build its database of opted-in valid customers for CRM.

• Holidays were limited to 1000 to prevent costs spiralling out of control

• The TV promotion is supported by out-of-home advertising, digital, social and print media campaign.

Challenges:

Carling needed an innovative way to increase its CRM database. By offering a great promotion of a holiday to either Barbados or Brighton for just £49 they are able to grow their CRM database and in return create great experiences for their customers.

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Solution:

Carling used a holiday offer of £49 per person for a guaranteed holiday to build a CRM database and brand equity. The holiday is a guaranteed local holiday in the UK, or for 1/3 of the participants a break to Barbados where through Carling’s buying power (including airline charters), holidays can be delivered at low cost.

At a time when the target consumers are looking for low-cost holiday breaks, this offers a smart and authentic way to achieve cut-through in a crowded communications landscape and gives people a clear tangible benefit.

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The campaign site made great use of social amplification calls to action:

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However, the holidays were only available in sets of two and four, which meant that somewhere between 250 and 500 people would be able to get any.

Results

The tickets went on sale on April 15, and unsurprisingly the £49 holidays sold out in 10 minutes

Many people were seen complaining on Twitter that it was badly set up.

One unfortunate user said he waited up all night for the 10am ticket launch, to no avail and claimed the promotion was a ‘scam’. This highlights the potential backlash from such a generous (but limited offer).

At 10.10, Carling tweeted that all 1000 tickets had been snapped up:

Others also voiced their disappointment over how the competition was over so quickly after much hype. Twitter users also complained that the countdown timer malfunctioned, effectively blocking them from being able to make a purchase during the crucial 10 minute buying frenzy.

There is a strong case that staggering ticket availability might have helped the message gain momentum and not leave so many fans disappointed.

It’s also worth noting that Carling did respond to some negative comments on social media in a bid to not leave a bad impression with some potential new fans.

Despite the backlash on Twitter, is fair to assume that this marketing push helped grow Carling’s customer database allowing them to market directly to their customers in the future.

Jim Shearer, Carling brand director at Molson Coors, said: “In a busy world of 9-5, Carling understands that great British moments, like bank holidays, are really important. Carling’s ‘Brighton or Barbados’ promotion is all about doing something memorable with mates and escaping the usual bank holiday jobs like gardening or DIY.”

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