Stay together

This was the shift. Skype had just gotten a new CMO, and her first ask was to put storytelling at the center of our marketing. That was new for us. We were also going through a pretty major brand redesign, moving away from the old clouds and rainbows. We wanted things to be more authentic. Ours users were telling their stories over Skype every day, why couldn't our marketing reflect that?


It was probably better that we only had 6 weeks or so to scramble to pull together the first story about Denis. It almost didn't happen. There were concerns about shooting in Uganda, about Denis' past as a child soldier, and the security of his family back home. We had a dozen amazing candidates whose stories we could've told. In the end, Denis came out on top simply because for everyone else using Skype was an option. A tool to get things done. Denis could never go home. Skype was a lifeline back to his family.


I should add here that an integral part of this campaign was photographer John Clang's creative use of a Skype video calling to capture portraits. Literally bringing together both the physical and (projected) digital spaces. We'd spotted his use of Skype in his personal work previously, and when this campaign started to come together, we reached out,


The second story had kangaroos. Really, need I say more? The story, and shoot, followed Lindsay in Gulf Shores, Alabama and her "second family" down in Perth, Australia.

The third "Stay together" installment followed Julia in Los Angeles. She uses Skype to call her slightly older cousin back in Brazil. Things are a bit uneven lately because Julia still likes to run around and be goofy, but her cousin is starting to notice and like boys (there goes the neighborhood!) Denis was a powerful story. Lindsay had kangaroos!  For Julia we wanted something light, silly, it was a new voice for us - to follow around a 10 year old (try to anyway).

For the final piece we opened it up to our users. We asked them to submit their stories, and I think we got close to a thousand entries. It took weeks to get through them all. Users could vote on submitted stories and pretty early on one of them became a favorite. Sarah lives in Indiana and her BFF Paige lives in New Zealand. I was fortunate enough to be on the New Zealand side of the shoot (ok, probably because I didn't think about the 13 hour flight to get there...)

Campaign highlights

• 53 million uniques reached in the US

• 42 million video views (almost 10x the target)

• 1.13% CTR (5.5x industry average)

• 3,000+ press mentions globally

• over 2 million visitors to the campaign site

• over 6.5 million total social engagements

• #4 on TIME magazine's top 10 ads of 2013


Cannes Lions: Commercial Public Services, Silver 2014

Cannes Lions: Cyber, Webisodes, Silver 2014

Cannes Lions: Branded Content, Bronze 2014

Cannes Lions: Cyber, Curation of Images, Bronze 2014

Cannes Lions: Cyber, Storytelling, Bronze 2013

AICP Next Award: Product Integration, 2014

One Show: Branded Entertainment, Gold 2014

One Show: Branded Entertainment, Bronze 2014

One Show: Interactive, Bronze 2014

ADDY Awards: Gold 2014

Creative Media Awards: Gold 2014


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