Marketing Wins (And What We All Can Learn From GoPro or Greggs!)

When it comes to improving your performance, there are myriad options—everything from online courses to reading books and blogs. Or you could join a conversation group of fellow marketers and learn from the discussions. The common thread you'll find running through all the available options is learning from what other people are doing.

Marketing wins are a great source of inspiration

That means their missteps as well as their wins. Today we're talking about the latter—marketing campaigns and tactics that took these companies to the next level of a win—smart marketing for success.

GoPro: "Be A Hero"

Right off the bat, yes, we realize the Be A Hero campaign started back in 2013. The fact that we're still writing about it shows the power it has to transform GoPro from an upstart action camera manufacturer into the cultural juggernaut it is today. The story of Be A Hero is the story of user-generated content. Back in '13, GoPro didn't have the marketing budget to film their desired action sequences. Until some genius decided the way to go was to ask their fanbase to send in their footage.

In the first year, this campaign doubled GoPro's revenue to over 25 million while only costing them ~$50,000. All because they put the word out on social media and sponsored strategic events, requesting their small but rabid fanbases to send in their footage showing how they used their GoPros to record all the action.

Greggs: "Vegan Sausage Roll"

Greggs is a small English chain of bakeries. They're small fries stacked next to the biggies in that market, the Pret A Mangers and Costas. What they do have is some marketing genius behind their social media presence. Early this year, the chain was to release a vegan version of its breakfast sausage roll (a staple item in England). In and amongst their pre-release hype, they knew one other thing--controversial morning show host Piers Morgan hates all things vegan.

And they used that knowledge to play him for a significant social marketing win. When Morgan tweeted this in response to news of the new roll, "Nobody was waiting for a vegan sausage roll, you PC Ravaged clowns." Greggs was ready with this biting comeback, "Oh hello, Piers, we've been expecting you."

By purposely baiting Morgan, Greggs knew their roll would get a free ad in front of his nearly 7 million followers on Twitter. And the fact that their response garnered nearly 5x Morgan's retweets shows that it worked in spades. Greggs's market share jumped 9.6% in under two months, and the vegan sausage roll was a success, selling out nearly daily.

OnePlus: Exclusivity for the Win

OnePlus found itself with a barrier to overcome. They had always been known for making cell phones that offered the best bang for the buck but not for doing anything special beyond that. But when it came time to launch version 7 that year, they returned in time and took their cues from the initial release of Google's now ubiquitous email platform, Gmail. They made the new model exclusively available to those with an invitation. 

Combining this exclusivity with a marketing campaign highlighting that they were shooting for the top slot in the hyper-competitive Android smartphone market, they set the table for a killer campaign. And it’s working, moving OnePlus out of relative obscurity and into the limelight.

Morgan Stanley: #JustinRoseChallange

We've already covered the largely untapped power of user-generated content in our discussion of GoPro. We were just as surprised as you to see Morgan Stanley jumping on this bandwagon in 2019 with their #JustinRoseChallange campaign. The stalwart financial services company put the idea to good use by having their followers submit their toughest golf shots to win a set of high-end clubs and timed the campaign to coincide with their sponsored player, Justin Rose, competing on the PGA tour.

Knowing their industry is not known for its personalization, this campaign did one thing very well, it showed that they know their audience and how to reach them. Social media engagement skyrocketed during the campaign, which ran for two months at the peak of the tour, and garnered the old-line company quite a bit of coverage among the younger set they're targeting.

Chobani: Warwick Public School Lunch Debt Repayment

Chobani CEO Hamdi Ulukaya is the focus of this one, but the company has undoubtedly felt the residual effects. To raise awareness of childhood malnutrition and hunger, Ulukaya personally paid off ½ of the student lunch debt at a Warwick, Rhode Island, elementary school. By putting his wallet where his mouth is, Ulukaya's actions showed the public exactly where he stands on social issues facing his workforce and the country.

Authenticity is a rare commodity on social media. The video Ulukaya uploaded, where he explains what he did and why stands out as a shining example of how much good it can truly do. There was no brand promotion visible in the video (although he was standing in the Chobani warehouse at the time). Rather, it was a simple call-to-action to his followers to stand up for the values they believe in and find ways they can make a difference in their communities.

JetBlue: The Power of Knowing Your Audience

Already known for the little things that can make or break an airline travel experience, JetBlue proved this year that they know their audience pretty darn well. The airline began an experiment a while back where they played music over their plane's speakers during passenger loading and unloading.

On one particular flight into Newark, they changed things up and played the BTS hit BoyWithLuv during take-off. The K-Pop group was performing in Newark that night, and the flight included a prominent music blogger headed for that show. The associated social media buzz this event sparked cost them zero dollars, making the mass comments, re-tweets, and likes priceless. All it took was having onboard team members who truly knew their audience.

What's the best strategy for you? Learn more about Smart Marketing!


Jesse hails from Seattle, WA. When he's not creating great content or staring at his laptop screen waiting for inspiration, he's probably walking in the trees somewhere in the foothills of the nearby Cascade Mountains.

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