dotbox logo square 300x242 Dotbox Gets Sexy with Social Media MarketingThose of us immersed in social media know it can be a bit dry at times. Digital agency and marketing firm Dotbox stepped up to the plate and spiced things up when Parfums de Coeur approached them with their new fragrance, BODY HEAT. The catch though, was forgoing traditional marketing practices and instead going viral with the campaign.

Sure, there are many companies that’d like to go viral with their campaigns, but it’s not nearly as easy as it sounds. Dotbox decided to put a face — and body — behind the brand, and organized an online competition backed by the power of social media to choose just that, dubbed the “Hottest Bod in the World.”

The Challenge

The real challenge here for Dotbox was to not only capture the attention of the fragrance’s target of 16 to 28-year old young men, but to also engage male and female consumers. It can be easy to pump out advertising, and shove product in someone’s face, but engaging an audience is a whole new beast.

There are no set rules or boundaries on how to reach your audience through social media, but knowing it — and what gets those people passionate — helps. In this case, the spirit of competition and, let’s face it, nice eye candy, did wonders.

The Strategy

dotbox hotbod 300x149 Dotbox Gets Sexy with Social Media Marketing

The initial online casting call attracted thousands of hard-bodied men vying for the prize of $10,000 and a spot on a giant billboard on Hollywood Boulevard — a $100,000 media value in itself. The competition centered around the men gaining votes, fans, and in the end, points, to take it all.

Similar to a sports tournament, the competitors were narrowed down to the “Hot 96,” and then competed in several series of one-on-one voting duels for one of the top three spots.

The Outcome

Many corporations attempt various social media marketing strategies, and some may seem successful on the outside but really, what did they get back? Did the strategy work?

In this case, the campaign drove more than a million brand interactions through Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube. Hundreds of thousands of votes were cast for the guys, and the campaign was supplemented with the brand’s traditional advertising, including TV spots on the new mega-hit MTV reality series Jersey Shore and even a plug on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

Since launch, the BODY HEAT fragrance has become the most popular fragrance on the Parfums de Coeur site, with more than 50% of the traffic coming from the competition’s microsite.

The campaign was such a success, that Parfums de Coeur is looking to extend it well into 2010. Competition winner Jordon Nemitz has since signed a contract with the agency behind the contest, and is one step closer to his Hollywood break.

Ashley John Heather, Dotbox co-founder and strategy director, says it best:

Guys didn’t just enter a contest. They got engaged, with many returning again and again each day. As a result, fandom spread like wildfire, with leaders ranking hundreds of actively dedicated admirers. That’s what brands want – consumer engagement. And it works.

It’s always refreshing to hear a genuinely successful social media marketing story. So how can you apply this to your piece of the social web? You don’t necessarily need the eye candy, after all. Find that passion in your audience, let it drive you, do some out-of-the-box thinking, and engage.

[Images via here and here]