Brands are People Too – Injecting Personality into Campaigns


Benjamin Palmer, Co-Founder and CEO of The Barbarian Group gave a killer keynote that highlighted some of the most successful campaigns that his team has put out as well as their scalable creative process.

Be Your Audience – Milwaukee’s Best Light

The Milwaukee’s Best Light campaign was a wonderful blend of hystericalness (yes, I know that isn’t a word) and effectiveness.

About the Campaign:

Terms of Service (usually boring) are in a video read by a dude who is clearly in their target.

“Act Like a Man” game – You have to look at your buddy’s sisters boobs without getting caught. The game was so popular that is was reposted (illegally and the lawyers freaked out) on over 15,000 sites (this was a key learning – the content needs to be shareable).

The Beer Cannon – Seemed particularly appropriate for this audience (they probably like to blow stuff up) you watch a homemade cannon launch different objects (like beer cans, potatoes, etc) at various other targets (a TV, a can of mayo, etc).

Why it Worked?

It represents the character of the brand.

It talks to consumers on their level. The brand is “one of them”.

Not afraid to be offensive – took a risk.

Subservient Chicken

Check it out at – an online campaign that was a viral hit for Burger King.

About the Campaign:

You type in a command for the chicken (dance, die, throw something, etc) and a man dresses in a chicken costume will do it.

Tied in to the “have it your way” theme of BK marketing

Try it. Seriously.

Why it worked:

Was simple and low budget

Probably wouldn’t have been approved by the client if it had to go through typical approval processes (it was created under the radar).

On equity and inline with current campaign theme.

You control the brand – gave control to the consumers.

Kashi Healthy Lifestyles

The Kashi campaign was not an immediate viral success like BK and Milwaukee’s Best Light – the site and community grew steadily overtime to create what is now one of Kellogg’s most successful sites.

About the Campaign:

A site created around the concept of healthy living.

You can sign up and compete in challenges – Like AA the community aspect increases the chances of success.

Why it Worked?

Look for things related to the brand that people are passionate about and build a campaign around those things.

Focus on relevant information or the community aspect – not necessarily the brand.

Don’t expect overnight success – social media is about building relationships not about launching a one-shot campaign

Think 5 years out – you have to cultivate the community – “What am I going to do that people can depend on”

Give away free cookies. People like cookies.

The Creative Process

Benjamin spoke a little bit about the creative process that The Barbarian Group uses. As his company has grown to 3 offices in 3 different cities the ability to collaborate has become more important than ever. What is unique about this creative process is that it leverages online and social networking as the starting point in campaign creation.

Creative process

Put the brief online and about 50% of company can comment and share ideas.

Team is selected based on interest online in the idea and who shows enthusiasm and ideation around the content.

Internally use social media to harness the ideas of the whole company

Don’t have to be geographically collocated to share ideas


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