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By: Keith Caro

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January 15th, 2013

The Facebook Surprise Announcement: Brilliant Marketing Tactic?

Social Media Marketing

Facebook surprise announcementIn lieu of today's big "surprise" Facebook announcement, we thought we'd take a look at how other big brands have successfully used anticipation to engage with their target audience.

The internet is abuzz with speculation regarding Facebook's big announcement today. But what exactly could the announcement be?

Is it a phone?

A Facebook redesign?

A new gaming service? All of the above?

Regardless of what transpires, Facebook is just the latest big brand to use buzz and anticipation as a marketing tactic, effectively raising awareness and garnering worldwide press. Not a bad marketing strategy.

Here's three other brands that have used similar methods of engagement to raise product or brand awareness.

Apple (Releasing the iPhone 5)

The anticipation paid off!!! After three days of its release in September, the iPhone 5 sold more than 5 million units, breaking the record of last year's iPhone 4s of 4 million.  As the number of demands grew, riots broke out in a partnering electronic company, which halted production.  Struggling to keep up, Apple, collectively continued to fulfill orders, but the anticipation hit the company very hard.

Apple is king in creating buzz and anticipation through its annual keynote address, in which they often introduce and announce new products. Even more impressive is that nothing is ever "confirmed" or "definite" prior to the day a product is announced. Sure, there is plenty of speculation, but you won't know about an iPhone 5s (or 6) until the day it is announced.

Mars company M&M

With a history of over 70 years, M&M's has held contests and gave the consumer the opportunity to choose new colors and flavors.  As many colors have come and gone, it's been their style to let millions vote and ultimately decide the future outcome.

In 2012, the company left it in the hands of their 2.5 million fans on Facebook to decide on a color combination.  Introducing the campaign in an election year was a genius form "cross branding," and resulted in over 10 million unique voters in over 200 different countries.

Now that's engagement!

Lays "Do Us a Flavor" Promo

In July of 2012, the world's biggest food brand, Lays, announced a contest that allowed consumers to create their own potato chip recipe.  With the huge crowd sourcing tactic, "Do Us A Flavor" promo, consumers would create their recipe and fans would vote for their favorite on Facebook.

The winner would get $1 million or 1% of the net sales of their chip recipe in 2013. To show you the magnitude of these contests, Facebook replaced the "like" button with "I'd Eat this" button as you voted for your favorite chip.

Once again, letting consumers decide on product changes is one of the most successful forms of engagement to practice.

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