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2010 Viral and Social Marketing
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Viral and Social Marketing Hall of Fame 2010
Qwest Communications "Johnny Lee Ross & the MotherBoard 2010 World Tour" Campaign
Campaign Facebook page

MarketingSherpa Summary:
Social media lets you inject a little more personality into your brand, but the team at Qwest Communications took this tactic further by creating an entirely new character for a trade show campaign -- Johnny Lee Ross, leader of the fictional heavy metal band MotherBoard.

See how they gave Johnny his own social media accounts to build buzz before the important event, and combined his rock and roll story with real business issues to attract 37% more of their targeted prospects to their booth in 2010.

Agency: ecollective
Client/company: Qwest Business
Campaign launch date: April 2010
Target audience/demographic: Technical decision makers

The campaign was launched to increase technical decision maker traffic to our booth at the Interop trade show in Las Vegas. Traditionally we've done a good job of getting people into the booth, they've just been the wrong people. We wanted manager-level and above contacts that we could then target post-event.

Campaign Description:
We created a fake rock star named Johnny Lee Ross, of the legendary 80s metal band MotherBoard. We used him in our pre-marketing materials, which included videos posted on YouTube, email messages, direct mail pieces, a Twitter account and a Facebook page.

We featured Johnny in our booth at Qwest, where he, his "manager" and a Qwest Product Director conducted eight sessions per day on a stage in front of a live audience. Johnny and his manager talked about how Qwest took MotherBoard from an unknown gutter band to international superstars. The play was to position JLR and his band as a business just like any other -- with the same objectives as any other business -- and how they used Qwest's suite of technology to grow their business.

At the show, all booth staffers wore concert t-shirts and handed out concert buttons that said "Johnny Lee Ross: Powered by Qwest Business." They also handed out concert shirts that had been compressed into the shape of a guitar. At the show and all over Las Vegas, people thought that the actor we hired really was an 80s rock star. He handed out autographs and posed for photos with his "fans." Throughout the campaign, JLR actively tweeted and posted to his Facebook page. 

Channels Used:

- Facebook

- Twitter

- YouTube

- Email and direct mail

- Merchandising: Concert buttons and t-shirts

- Professional photography: We did two separate video and photo shoots with JLR

Measurement Tactics:
The overall measurement was based on the people we scanned who visited our booth and who attended our VIP event. The scans provided us complete business card information for each person and allowed us to see titles.

How the Audience Helped Spread the Message:
JLR went viral fairly quickly as people suggested him as a friend on Facebook and shared the link to his videos. We were mentioned in two different blogs post show and had numerous visitors tweet about us while at the show. The blogs were: 


Ultimately, we just wanted to attract the right people to the booth -- and we achieved this.

- 47% of all visitors to our booth were Manager-level and above. This represents a 37% improvement over our results in 2009. 

- We also featured JLR at our VIP event, where 95% of all attendees were Manager-level or above, which was a 57% improvement over our 2009 results.

- To date, Johnny Lee Ross has 521 Facebook friends.

- JLR's videos on the Qwest Business YouTube channel are the highest-rated videos on the channel.

How Results Changed Over Time:
We saw an immediate spike with JLR from the moment his Facebook page went live. Things have slowed since our post-marketing finished. Since this was event marketing for a one-time event, we knew that approximately one month after the show we would likely cease getting much activity.

Biggest Lesson:
This was our team's first foray into social marketing so it was a terrific learning experience. Our key takeaway was that we should have built JLR months earlier and begun our pre-marketing earlier. We were very surprised by how JLR's fans embraced him, began posting to his FB page about memories of their favorite concerts (some people realized it was all tongue in cheek) and how he was embraced by the technogeek culture of Interop.