Engagement: Take The Good With The Bad

Engagement: Take The Good With The Bad

By: Shelly Kramer
August 17, 2010

Piperlime Ad: Step Away From the Sneakers

I was reading today’s AdAge about The Gap’s sister brand, Piperlime, and their experiment with adding some edgy personality to their Facebook wall posts. The postings were in conjunction with a well-planned marketing campaign, and it ruffled the feathers of some consumers.

First of all, let’s just get on over the idea that it’s important to please everyone, every time. That’s just not possible. And I think that’s important for everyone, marketer or consumer, to regularly remind ourselves.

More importantly, Piperlime decided to step out from behind the shadow of The Gap and try to find the distinctive voice of their brand. In order to do that, you sometimes have to go out on a limb, and maybe even experiment a bit. They identified their target audience – an older Gen Y female, aged 20-30, identified what they perceived to be some shared behaviors and feelings, and worked with Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners to create the “Let’s Get Dressed” campaign targeting that demographic. Big surprise that not every consumer liked the campaign. What matters, though, is that apparently some did.

As a direct result of this campaign, the Piperlime “likes” on Facebook increased a whopping 934% during a two-week period, and the page’s comments increased 479%. Not every comment was favorable, but guess what – it doesn’t matter.

Engagement is what matters. A brand reaching out to an audience, tossing something – an idea, a statement, a slogan, a campaign – you name it – out there, and testing it to see what people think is what matters. Engagement is what today’s consumers are looking for and Piperlime’s tactics are creating just that.

The other thing we need to get over – as people and as marketers: the ridiculous idea that everyone should agree with us. How boring would that be? Personally, I post often (and well) on my personal Facebook page. Not everyone agrees with what I say or think and, as a result, we have interesting discussions, different points of view are shared and guess what – it’s fabulous! And interesting. Sometimes more than one friend has a differing opinion and I love the fact that they share their thoughts and feelings, especially those about which they are most passionate, with me and with the community of friends who pop in and out.

I say “Bravo” Piperlime. You don’t know until you try, and engagement is what matters. And even if it’s engagement from consumers who don’t like or agree with your message, the opportunity to directly interact with them and dig deeper into their feelings on an issue – and maybe even use the insights gleaned to tweak a campaign if needed is, for a marketer and a brand, pretty valuable.

What say you?

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  • I agree that we don't all have to agree! LOL I haven't checked out Piperlime mostly b/c I am so conservative and cheap. But I should head over there. Even though I'm over 30, I could sure use some fun things in my closet.

    I'm glad Piperlime did its own thing. However (on a completely different note), I love the online shopping convenience that I can shop Piperlime, Banana, Athleta, Gap, and Old Navy all at the same time w/ ONE check out and ONE box!

    I was on a friend's FB page yesterday and got involved in a huge debate about whether or not condoms should be available in schools. It got ugly. You're right—if we all agreed all the time, what fun would that be?

  • I say go for it Piperlime! They've obviously touched a raw nerve, and people who have never heard of them are now hitting their site to see what it's about. That's everything you want as a marketer. Also, I noticed in the article that they are observing the comments and adjusting a bit when it goes too harsh. That's a great, responsive way to run a campaign.

    And incidentally, I'm also fed up with girls walking around in broad daylight wearing guy pajama bottoms. It's just gross.

  • ShellyKramer

    I'm fed up with it, too, Rosemary!! And agree that creating buzz and awareness are the earmarks of a good marketing campaign. And, as you can see, my BFF IRL @erinlynn76, their perfect demographic, is now headed to check them out. Score! Thanks for stopping by :))

  • ShellyKramer

    I haven't checked them out in a long time, either, Erin – and this was a nice reminder that I should. Because I like the personality :))

    Like you, I've had or engaged in some lively FB discussions and often have to just agree to disagree. But that's alright – friends disagree all the time. Oh, and for the record, I'm a huge advocate of condoms in schools!!! Big surprise, huh?

  • Shelly Kramer

    And I know how gleeful that makes you. They were inadvertently removed. We are getting ready to redo the site, so I’ve not yet replaced. #LeSigh. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll see to it.

  • Right On Sister! You got it. We say what we believe and then take what comes, hear others out. They may like it or they may hate it, and then we have variety. the spice of life. well said, Shelly!

    and I'm liking those lace up boots, might have to get me some… bout that time of year.

  • ShellyKramer

    Thanks Cindy. I love boots, too!! Come on fall!!!

  • PS: Ms. Kramer – I cannot find your social bookmarking icons on the post. I would *lurv* to Stumble/Digg this. Hmmmm…