CorpComms DigiAwards 2016 took place on Wednesday 13th July at Ministry of Sound in London.
While HTC’s mobile handsets are acknowledged to have superior technical prowess and cameras, it is not a brand that is widely spoken about on social media. With the launch of HTC One mini 2, the company was determined to launch a campaign that would get its target audience of tech savvy females talking and positioned the handset as the ultimate selfie phone.
Agency Hope&Glory PR developed the ultimate selfie concept, the #phonie. An image of a celebrity’s face was taken on a handset, which was then positioned in front of another person’s face and a selfie taken with another camera. The resulting image looked like the celebrity’s face had been superimposed onto somebody else.
A #phonie was sent to media outlets with information about the handset’s launch. Without a budget for celebrity endorsement, the agency licensed images from stock libraries of stars, such as Beyoncé, Harry Styles and Kim Kardashian West, who are known for their love of selfies. Instagrammer Dan Rubin then created a street shot in which he persuaded members of the public to use their faces to create #phonies. The images were promoted using HTC’s Twitter feed, with the hashtag #phonies. The story was picked up by Buzzfeed, which was swiftly followed by coverage across mainstream national media and key female titles, such as Glamour and Reveal. Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe discussed the trend on the radio, prompting his colleagues to create their own #phonies. The story moved across the world, with coverage in countries such as Peru, Germany, Holland and Mexico.
HTC shared ‘how to’ guides through its social media channels, prompting more than 6,000 followers around the world to create their #phonies in the first week of the campaign, while Rubin’s initial post on Instagram was liked more than 14,000 times. More than 10,000 user-generated #phonies were posted across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which generated in excess of 50,000 engagements, such as retweets.
In total, 149 articles about #phonies appeared across 50 countries. Each piece of coverage mentioned the handset, and 85 per cent of the articles mentioned that #phonies had been created to showcase the selfie camera of the HTC One mini 2. Sales of the handset were 17 per cent higher than forecast.
The campaign was described by the judges as ‘awesome’, adding: ‘PRs and social media folk at agencies often brainstorm ways of involving celebrities in campaigns and this was such a simple, cheap and effective way of doing just that. #winning.’