“Fear” is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger: a feeling of being afraid.” As human nature goes, we are all afraid of something. For me personally, big and hairy spiders always make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. One fear that some might have, particularly between the months of September and February, is the Fear of Missing Out on Football (FOMOF). As the regular season generally begins in September and lasts until the Super Bowl in February, it’s safe to say that devoted football fans fear missing out on the biggest touchdowns of the season.
Verizon saw this as an opportunity to provide a service to those avid football fans so they wouldn’t have to miss out on the games, and to eliminate the fear of missing the historical plays that will have everyone talking. Thus Verizon’s #FOMOF (Fear of Missing Out on Football) Twitter campaign was born, which promoted Verizon’s new NFL Mobile app which allowed football fans to live stream the game easily from their phones. “The #FOMOF campaign effectively demonstrated why watching live football on a smartphone was meaningful and valuable to the avid football fan,” according to the Shorty Awards website. One thing Verizon thought about while creating this campaign was why would someone need to stream a game live from their phone if they could just watch it in the comfort of their own homes? The need for this innovative app was for those who would be forced to participate in other activities that didn’t have to deal with watching football during game time. After realizing this, Verizon started making comical 15-second TV spots with #FOMOF to increase awareness about the NFL Mobile app with examples of flustered football fans unable to watch the game because of circumstances that were out of their control. Below is an example of one of the TV commercials Verizon made to initiate awareness of its new app, where an enthusiastic Colts fan is missing the game because she had to go to a baby shower instead, take a look.
The creativity didn’t stop there, according to the campaign’s entry to the Shorty Awards:
“In addition to TV, we developed a Twitter-response campaign to respond to people who didn’t even know they had #FOMOF. We listened on Twitter for fans that were disappointed or complaining about missing a game due to forced circumstances [e.g. a baby shower]. To these fans, @VerizonWireless replied with individualized tweets containing short video clips consoling them about their #FOMOF. These videos were shot with Saints quarterback Drew Brees, and tailored to the type of tweet/complaint from the fan.”
One example of this personalized Twitter-response came from a fan who was complaining about missing a game that tweeted, “It’s definitely finals. I’m missing the Cowboys game to study…” Verizon responded with this video in attempt to reassure the struggling fan that there was still hope to watch the game with the NFL Mobile app and study at the same time.
Fans appeared to have thoroughly enjoyed the Verizon #FOMOF videos. Here are some positive Twitter comments from the baby shower video. “The baby shower #FOMOF ad just made me laugh out loud. It spoke to my heart. And now I want a cupcake, too. Thanks, NFL.” Another comment was, “BEST television commercial EVER! – NFL Mobile from Verizon #FOMOF Baby Shower.” Additional tweets about other Verizon videos equally shared positive comments, which showed the success of the campaign. Let’s talk about why it worked.
- Tuning in to the Needs of Clients: Verizon did a great job looking into what it was that its clients needed – an app to livestream football games. Verizon created an app that was already in need. To create a product that works, you need to know what your clients are in need of and it will have a greater chance of being successful.
- Using Relatable Humor: Human emotion is a powerful tool. Humor, like any other emotion, elicits one to remember what they saw because of how it made them feel. Some responses on Verizon’s Twitter page were from followers who had also had to go to a baby shower (or another event) instead of watching the game, and could laugh at and relate to the video. Not only were Verizon’s clever videos comical, but fans could relate to them with their own FOMOF experiences.
- Personalizing the Campaign: It was a smart move on Verizon’s part to watch Twitter and look for tweets that related to its campaign, then pull those tweets literally into the campaign. By personally reaching out to fans with videos of Drew Brees consoling their fears with the new innovative app, it took the campaign to another level.
Verizon’s Twitter campaign was successful, it had “23,057 #FOMOF mentions between September 12 and December 31, 2013,” app downloads increased by 16% and premium subscribers were up by 36%. This social media outreach campaign demonstrates that by creatively listening to the needs of clients, a great product and campaign can be produced.