Successful Marketing or Just a Great Story?


Some Notes Worth Keeping

I’m a regular Skype user and usually make a habit of ignoring Skype’s advertisements for upgrades to premium or international calling rates at the bottom of the contacts window. Today’s ad was different. It was for a collaboration with Victoria Beckham. Wait. What? Victoria Beckham, the Spice Girl married to David Beckham? I was intrigued enough (and confused enough) to click on it.
It takes me to a landing page that exudes minimalist luxury. At Crown with work with several high end fashion brands and this feels like I have been transported to a luxury retailer’s homepage. As it turns out, Victoria is indeed a high end fashion designer. (Point for me) A simple quote crosses the screen – “I had been waking up every morning and feeling like I was juggling glass balls. I lived in LA, my business was run out of London, and most evenings I was in front of Skype speaking to my studio in London.”
As I click on the ‘Start Story’ button beneath the quote, I can’t help but wonder what Skype’s goal was. There didn’t seem to be a natural affinity between high fashion and Skype. Continuing on, it transforms to an interactive timeline of Victoria Beckham’s career. You can see collections, hear quotes from Victoria and her team and see behind the scenes video dating back to the beginning of her career. An impressive orchestration of content and media, depicting the making of a dream and an underdog’s success.
But I still couldn’t figure out what Skype’s goal was. Buried in the content were a few passing mentions of Skype, but nothing about how Victoria used their premium services. It seemed like more of a good story than a way to upsell me to Skype Premium. Being a guy who’s not into fashion, I lost interest in the story pretty quickly. But the business side of me kicked in. Would they try to upsell me at all? I quickly scanned through the rest of the chapter, bypassing all the videos and galleries, just looking for that upsell opportunity.
And then there it was. Collaborate With Skype.  A slick, simple call out (below) that kept in line with the luxury fashion feel, but doesn’t look like a button at all. Nonetheless it takes me to a customized landing page for ways to collaborate with Skype for the fashion industry. It offers the upsell to all of Skype premium’s services. But was it really worth it?
Skype has 300M active users according to the a blog posting on Skype. If every one of those Skype users logs in 3 days a week and sees the ad rotate over the next six months, everyone is presented it 72 times. That means there are 21B opportunities to convert someone. If we use the average click through rate of banner ads – 0.1% - that means 21M people will hit the landing page to the collaboration. Not bad. But users still have to transfer to another page to start the collaboration story. And then scroll through tons of content. And see the Collaborate with Skype button. Click on it and upgrade to Premium. That’s a far cry from Amazon’s one click checkout.
It will be interesting to see how successful this is for Skype and if they have more collaborations in the future. Can I put my vote in for Mario Andretti or Terry Bradshaw?