CaseCamp Toronto 6 Write-Up

Case Camp Toronto 6, held tonight, featured a series of fascinating presentations.

I live-tweeted the event, along with Joseph Thornley (here), Connie Crosby (here) and Wayne MacPhail (here) – together we managed a pretty good summary of the event. I’ve stolen memories from all of the above to generate this post.

Mobile Marketing for Levis @ Virgin Fest Toronto

Brady Murphy, Managing Partner at Vortex Mobile, gave a great presentation about how they’ve used a viral mobile campaign during the Virgin Fest music festival in Toronto.

Murphy outlined the four main features of the campaign:

  • User-generated content
  • Mobile marketing
  • Strategic sponsorship
  • Social networking

The campaign was essentially a glorified model search – winners of the model search would be featured on a prominent advertisement for Levis.

The company brought a full photo-shoot crew of stylists, photographers and graphical artists to the event. Attendees received a consultation with the stylists, had a photo shoot, then received a customized lanyard with their photo on it, along with a unique user ID.

People could vote for their favourite model by texting that person’s ID number to the company. Vortex made the competition more interesting by:

  • Sending a return text message with a tally of votes to each voter
  • Providing ‘instant win’ prizes to people who voted at a certain ‘bulls-eye time’
  • Providing an option to download contestant photos to mobile phones via MMS, which people could then forward to their friends
  • Keeping voting open for two weeks after the event to allow people to stir up support

Interestingly, 57% of votes happened after the festival ended – the competition went truly viral. People started using Facebook and MySpace to campaign for votes. Over 1,000 people downloaded the photos onto their phones. Altogether, 22,000 people voted for their favourite model – a higher number than in 2006, and 800% higher than in 2005 (the campaign has run for several years now).

Truly a social media/new media success.

Growing a Global Online Community – Treehugger

Treehugger is one of the largest environmental communities on the web. Lloyd Alter presented on some of their experiences as they’ve grown.

Treehugger focuses on the message that, as Alter says, “you don’t have to be in a poncho to be green.”

Since launching the site they’ve gone from two writers to 40, and now post about 30 times every day, around the clock.

The main take-away from Treehugger’s presentation (apart from their cool site) was the importance of Digg to their success. 25% of visits to their site come from Digg. Considering that they receive (from memory) two million visits each month, that’s a significant number.

Alter says they spend a lot of time working on their Digg strategy. Treehugger actually launched its own version of Digg, aptly named ‘Hugg,’ although that seems to be winding down.

Engaging the Community –

Angus Frame, editor of, gave a great presentation on how the Globe & Mail engaged its readers by enabling comments on its articles back in 2005.

At the time, this was a pretty ballsy move for a conservative newspaper, but the engagement seems to have been worth it. The site received over 5,000 comments in the first month alone, and last month received over 100,000.

One example Frame gave was of when the government (he didn’t specify which) was talking about trying to entice expatriates back from overseas. The paper quoted a minister talking about how their policies would bring people back. Within half an hour the article had 50 posts from expatriates detailing why that wouldn’t happen.

To deal with the huge volume of comments (and users who were becoming frustrated with delays in posting their comments), the Globe introduced a tiered system of moderation – fully moderated, semi-moderated and closed. Some posts are completely open (although users must register on the site to post). The Globe now has 30 editors who spend part or all of their time moderating comments.

Frame says they’re not done yet – he’d like to see a better conversation between the different communities involved – reporters, newsroom staff and consumers. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. He also indicated they are playing around with some social networking-esque features.

Frame also dealt well with some pointed questions about the Globe & Mail’s continuing use of subscriber-only content. As he put it, the subscriber-only content underwrites the operation if there’s a downturn in advertising. He does see that evolving, although he gave no indication the Globe is considering following the NYT and WSJ in making all its content free.

Building Compelling Identity In Social Media Spaces – Will Pate

Will Pate gave the evening’s last talk – a very cool presentation talking about how he’s developed his own personal brand.

Pate is one of the pioneers of the ‘Social Media Evangelist’ position (at age 25!). In 2005 he co-founded Raincity Studios, a new media agency in the Vancouver area. He also worked as the ‘community ambassador’ for Flock (the social web browser). As he put it, he was ‘the voice of the company outside the organization, and the voice of the community inside the organization.’

Pate describes himself as “a small town guy with a few thousand friends.” He has a few tips for managing your online personal brand:

  • Be authentic
    • People can spot a phony on the web faster than anywhere else
  • Be present
    • The web is like a great party until the marketers turn up
    • If you’re a marketer, show up with something of value
    • Know the house rules or you may get kicked out (or beaten up!)
  • Be passionate
    • Find what you’re passionate about, and connect with people based on your shared values
  • Be accessible
    • Pate’s cell # has been on his blog since 2001 (he’s been blogging since 1999)
    • Keep the conversation going
  • Be consistent or prolific
    • If you put out crap, people will ignore you
  • Be an active listener
    • Turnaround time is important – quick responses are much better than slow

Overall, a very good night – I learned a lot from these four sessions. Thanks to Eli Singer (website seems to be down right now… oops) and the rest of the organizers and sponsors for organizing the event. A job well done.

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Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.