When agency Lansons was asked to create a campaign to promote and amplify MoneySuperMarket’s new television advertising Epic Strut, its own research demonstrated that the #epicstrut hashtag was taking off and the best results would come from promoting Dave, its central character.
Having persuaded its client to fly LA-based actor Michael Van Shoick to the UK for seven days from 3 March for an ‘Epic Tour De Strut’, the agency launched a major media relations campaign inviting national newspapers, television’s lifestyle shows and consumer magazines to experience a personal #epicstrut lesson.
Many of them took up the invitation, including The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) and This Morning. Bobby Norris, a male star in TOWIE, featured in one episode wearing electric blue heels and ‘feeling like the man from the MoneySuperMarket ad’ while This Morning featured six and a half minutes of prime time television dedicated to the subject, including three struts across the screen by Van Shoick, an interview with him and a competition judging viewers’ own #epicstrut videos.
Shortly after Van Shoick’s return to LA, Lansons secured an opportunity for him to open the comedy industry’s annual Chortle Awards, leading to a three day return trip. On the day of his return, a social media campaign revealed the ‘Booty was Back’ and invited followers to guess where ‘Dave’ was going and suggest what he should wear.
A camera crew and photographer followed him on the red carpet at the awards and into the media room where he was pictured with celebrities such as Christopher Biggins.
The following day, members of the public were invited to submit their St Patrick’s Day messages for family and friends and receive a bespoke tweet or film from ‘Dave’. And on 18 March, Dave strutted his stuff with a red box in homage to George Osborne’s Budget Day speech.
Lansons also worked with The Sun’s journalist Jacob Lewis, who wanted an #epicstrut lesson and proposed a ‘strut off ’ on London Bridge. Dressed in matching hot pants and heels, the stunt was written up as a double page spread and fi lmed for the website.
The campaign undoubtedly amplified the TV advert, generating 45 items of editorial coverage, eight broadcast appearances and six high profi le YouTube parodies, with more than six million views. There were more than 21,000 mentions of #epicstrut on Twitter, while the hashtag garnered more than 83 million potential impressions, including 16 million on the day of Dave’s appearance on This Morning.
Such was the popularity of the campaign and its central character that, the day after the Budget, The Sun superimposed Chancellor George Osborne’s head onto Dave’s body with the headline George’s epic strut, prompting Osborne to comment: ‘I almost spilt my coffee when I saw The Sun.’