Norweigians didn't care about the post office. Mediacom needed to win their stamp of approval.
Posten, the Norwegian Postal Office, has been delivering letters since 1647. It’s a national institution and the sole distributer of packages under 50g. However, this monopoly and brand heritage hasn’t sheltered the company from dramatic changes in the mail and parcel business in recent years. In 2002, 73% of Posten’s turnover came from the distribution of letters, but in 2012 this had fallen to just 42% In order to stay relevant – and profitable – in 2008 the business restructured to focus on being the preferred partner for internet retailers sending parcels over 50g.
This is an unregulated and competitive market, and Posten has to compete against major international brands such as TNT and FedEx. Posten is a state owned company and is dependent on having a very good reputation among the Norwegian population. With a good reputation the government is less likely to consider privatisation, and Posten is allowed to work with less state interference. Posten has been forced to make changes to its business and has closed almost all its standalone post offices in favour of smaller counters in other shops. And with the brand off the high street, approval ratings have dropped 4% points in just two years.
Mediacom's challenge was to reverse this drop and make Posten feel essential again. It needed to convince young consumers, the key users of e-commerce, that they could trust Posten to deliver their packages.
Everyone loves a letter or a parcel. Posten had been delivering these moments of happiness for hundreds of years. The insight was that it needed to celebrate the emotional uplifts that Posten brought to the people of Norway every day. It needed to highlight the anticipation and joy that was delivered free of charge with every parcel.
Celebrating the emotional benefits of the Posten service would help reconnect the business with its customers at a time when it was having to make very hard rational decisions about its future. Mediacom needed to transform Posten from being a plain distributor of letters and parcels into a provider of joy and happiness.
Although the target audience included the entire Norwegian population, Mediacom needed to focus on people under 30. This is the core customer base for Norway’s e-commerce businesses and a demographic whose relationship with Posten is weaker. The strategy would focus on the joy of receiving a parcel, challenging the core target to nominate someone they believed deserved to receive “Norway’s Greatest Gift”. They would then use these nominations to demonstrate the happiness that Posten delivered, every day. This strategy would reconnect the people of Norway with their national post service.
A message was delivered in two parts, delivering both broad media coverage but also engagement at scale. First, Mediacom issued a call to action. The creative told the story of a guy asking his girlfriend to move in with him. He did it by sending her several parcels with the last one containing a key to his apartment – his greatest gift to her. The ad called on consumers to head to the Posten website and nominate the person they thought deserved a special message, to be hand-delivered, of course, by Posten.
Digital messages and mobile banners combined with out of home to make the request impossible to miss – just like the red Posten delivery vans. After collecting the nominations, Posten set about delivering the messages. It selected the 25 most heart-felt letters and sent a camera crew with a Posten delivery man to capture the joy on people’s faces when they received their parcel. This footage was used to promote the second phase of the campaign. This time the creative collected the best clips from the delivery footage, and asked the nation to vote for the person they believed deserved Norway’s Greatest Gift: national recognition (plus a selection of gift vouchers from Posten).
Videos broadcast on TV and sat online, where the engaged socially-connected target could share them with friends. The winner was filmed receiving their gift, creating yet more emotional content designed to maximise engagement with the campaign.
Posten beat its target for nominations by 300%. More than 3,000 entries, all serious and well documented were received at the campaign site.
More than 250,000 visited the campaign site and Posten received more than 200,000 votes (pretty amazing in a country of just 5 million people). In addition, there were 30,000 Facebook shares of the videos and more than 1,000 tweets. The creative has been viewed more than 900,000 times on YouTube – putting it in the all-time top three of Norwegian commercials.
But most importantly, Mediacom helped improve perceptions of Posten. Independent brand tracking showed that it not only stopped approval ratings dropping further, but reversed them. For the first time in three years, public approval for Posten rose and hit 65%.
Further research showed that the key driver for this reversal of fortune had been the Greatest Gift ads, which attracted the highest ratings of any Posten campaign ever. Among the core target of those under 30, more than 30% said this campaign had made them more positive to Posten as a distributor of parcels.