Levi’s® Photography Search: A Case Study in using social media

I know y’ulle think I’m a brainless advertising chick who does nothing but upload hot pics of herself onto flickr and rub her breasts against her the glass of her creative director’s office, but it’s not completely true. They keep me around because every now and again, I prove to be quite useful. I wouldn’t go so far as to say:

“I’m the number 1 creative in South Africa,” like Paul Warner from Metropolitan Republic said in the March 09 issue of GQ (true story).

But I am handy because I know my way around facebook, an invaluable skill that has come in handy while we’ve been running a competition called The Search for the Levi’s® Photographer off onesmallseed.net, and it’s proved to be an insightful exercise in using social media to reach the right consumers.

The competition went live at the beginning of December 2008, and it was a call to South African photographers to come up with and submit their unique vision conveyed through a photographic treatment that would give the Levi Strauss brand a distinctive and relevant look. It came about because we were aware of the wealth of talent out there amongst local creatives, and we wanted to see whether we could discover someone fresh and inspiring to bring something special to the brand.

We got an amazing response – a total of 60 photographers shot and submitted images to be considered. We narrowed the entries down to a shortlist of 12 photographers, out of whom Capetonian Romi Stern was chosen as the winner.You can see the official winning announcement and the shortlisted photographers here.

The Search for the Levi’s® Photographer has been my (and King James’s) first big(ish) project using social media as the primary platform for communication and interaction with consumers, and it worked really well because onesmallseed.net is a creative community, therefore it was a natural place for us to reach photographers. We were able to interact with entrants and answer questions real-time, and tailor our interactions with them based on the feedback they gave us.

We did experience some glitches
– an auto-brief malfunction, and we completely underestimated the number of entries we’d get, so on the weekend of the competition deadline our mailbox was bouncing back entries and stressing out some very passionate photographers, but we managed to solve it in the end.

Needless to say, we are extremely chuffed with how it turned out, and we’re looking super forward to working with Romi this year.

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