The online site for personal meetings, Meetup.com has launched a new campaign aimed at getting the ‘screen-addicted’ to leave the confines of their offices and meet other people in person.Â The campaign features a claymation video in the style ofÂ Wallace & Gromit.Â It shows a lonely man obsessively updating his Facebook status (Q: What are you doing now? A: Updating my status) and IM’ing friends.Â Then he sees the Meetup logo (which looks like a fill-in-the-blank event attendee sticker with the meetup name inside it).Â He’s bedazzled and, sensing something behind the logo, stands on his chair and pries open his monitor.Â There’s a long, dark tunnel behind it, which he crawls through resolutely.Â Then he emerges (from his cave, we must assume) into the sunlight and fresh air, discovering a world of other people.
The viral campaign features a customizable “Intervention e-mail” that can be sent to a friend warning them of the dire consequences of their screen addiction in a sort of Madlibs fashion.
This clever campaign comes to us from the low-profile but highly influential Meetup.com.Â Meetup first gained attention in 2003 when the political campaign of Howard Dean used it to organize grassroot events through the Internet with great success (until his implosion in Iowa).Â Meetup has continued to expand as a way for hockey-moms or photo enthusiasts or beagle lovers to meet each other in person, coordinating over the Internet.This advertising blog admires three things in this campaign:
- Simplicity – Define the problem, illustrate the problem and solve the problem.Â There is an elegant simplicity to both the concept and execution of this campaign.
- Storytelling – As we frequently note, advertising works only when it offers immediate value to the user.Â This viral video does so with an engaging story, told in a novel format for an ad.
- Stickiness – Chip and Dan Heath might like this campaign because it offers a simple and engaging way to share the video.Â The multiple choice e-mail is not a new tactic, but this is an amusing execution.
The strength of the Meetup logo and website is also its weekness.Â It is a clever pun on the anonymity that social encounters sometimes engender.Â Meetup counters this by linking people through their passions, building communities of interest rather than necessity.Â Sometime, though an execution of a meta-theme like this can be too clever by half.Â While the campaign is excellent, the Meetup.com website seems too generic and perhaps not compelling enough on the home page.