Can brands be friends? A review of the Netlog Brand Integration Day in Brussels

Last Thursday I spent the afternoon at an event dedicated to brands and online social networks, organized by Netlog. Netlog is a social network for youngsters from 13 to 24. It originates in the Belgian city of Ghent, and is international in scope, becoming increasingly popular in such countries like Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Lithuania and many others. Currently, Netlog has around 40 million members worldwide.

Besides offering many interactive applications to its members (e.g. games, contests, use of avatars), one of its important features is the extent to which brands can gain visibility vis-à-vis the audience of teenagers and youngsters. Which, in its turn, is a great way for Netlog to monetize its business model – something that many other social networks are struggling with.

Nokia is one of the brands that chose Netlog to support its product launch of the Supernova phone in Benelux. First, it designed the so called “skin” on its Netlog brand page (in other words, a fancy background which can be downloaded by any Netlog member to decorate his or her personal profile page).  Then, in cooperation with a Belgian creative agency These Days, it launched a campaign which centered around the personal stories of three young people - Anna, Jade and Luca- their whereabouts and activities across three time zones.

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The lives of the 3 characters were highlighted in a feed on Nokia’s brand page on Netlog.

Netlog users were able to learn about the characters through their text messages, videos and photos displayed on Nokia's brand page on Netlog. In this sense, the campaign took shape of what I would call a “reality-web show”.

What’s in it for the site users?

Netlog users had one main purpose to follow the Nokia Supernova campaign – entertainment. To start with, site members were free to choose whether to become “friends” of the Nokia Supernova brand page or not. If no longer interested, they could stop following the campaign immediately.

What’s in it for brands?

Nokia’s campaign on Netlog rapidly boosted Supernova’s sales and, hopefully, had longer-lasting positive effects on brand loyalty. Check out the following stats presented by Nokia at the event:

  • Throughout the campaign (October – December 2008), there were 60 K visitors and 100 K page views on Nokia’s Supernova brand page.

  • The Supernova page acquired 24 000 “friends”

  • 2, 674 messages were sent through the application

  • The blog on Nokia’s Netlog page generated about 200 comments

  • 3 811 Netlog members chose to install the Supernova “skin” on their personal profiles

Do you know other cases of brands interacting with members of social networks to deliver entertainment in non-intrusive ways? Post a comment!

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Graffiti created during the Netlog event