In 2009, P&G signed a corporate agreement with the NFL allowing several of its brands to participate in the sponsorship. Duracell joined for the 2012 NFL season, using official NFL marks such as Super Bowl XLVII, Pro Bowl, NFL Draft and NFL Playoffs in brand communications. To cement its tie with the NFL, Duracell signed on San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis who appeared in promotional material for the company’s integrated campaign.
Willis starred in a Duracell video which followed his life story, showcasing the ongoing hardships he had to face and overcome to make it to the NFL. The message: “Trust Your Power.” Online, this video generated almost two million YouTube views and 84,000 social shares.
The “Trust Your Power” campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi, New York encouraged fans to share their own stories via Twitter with a #TrustYourPower hashtag and Facebook. Each post unlocked a $1 donation from Duracell, up to $200,000, which funded scholarships for disadvantaged youths to ProCamps, an organization that runs professional athletes’ personal sports camps for kids. Duracell and Willis also visited underfunded schools across the nation, providing students with Duracell-powered gadgets for both on and off the field like stopwatches, flashlights and calculators. In a powerful branding move, Duracell created a touching campaign aimed at establishing an emotion connection between its brand and consumers.
Fast forward to January 10, 2014. Duracell released the second installment of its “Trust Your Power” campaign featuring the NFL’s first legally deaf player, Derrick Coleman. This emotional powerhouse of a spot follows underdog Coleman and his battle with hearing loss. Teased and discouraged at every turn, Coleman refused to let his dream die when, after missing out on the NFL draft, people told him he’d never make it. As he says defiantly in the commercial, “I’ve been deaf since I was three, so I didn’t listen.”
The video view count has been growing consistently, reaching almost 3.5 million YouTube views. Duracell promoted the campaign across its social media channels to generate additional buzz and sharing. On Facebook, the video post has been liked by nearly 100,000 people and the accompanying Tweet has been both retweeted and favorited over 250 times. The video boasts over 156,000 social shares total.
“We’re always looking for great stories that are metaphors for the brand benefits of being long-lasting, persevering and overcoming obstacles,” said Duracell Marketing Director Jeff Jarrett. “We loved this story so much we would have done it anyway. In terms of the timing, with the Seahawks winning, we determined this was the right time.”
Duracell is currently working on airing the spot during Fox’s broadcast of the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers game on Sunday. This ad was originally intended as an online-only spot, but the response from fans has been overwhelming, prompting Duracell to consider repurposing the video for television.
Typically, brands upload television spots as online videos. It’s rare that videos specifically created for online marketing gain enough traction and popularity online to deserve televised exposure. It just goes to show that with the right content and an engaged audience, online video has the power to amplify brand messages across traditional and digital media outlets alike.