Last week, a local Dutch political party proposed a small emendation to a policy plan “Youth and alcohol, 2008”. Nothing extraordinary, you probably think. However, this particular addition caused a tide of media attention uncommon for such a local plan. The party suggested to distribute chocolate bars to the nightlife in order to keep them patient and avoid violence. “This is another, complementary action besides all existing controlling measures. Chocolate bars possess a small ingredient which makes people relax…”, says Gerben Hoogterp – the councilor of the party. The effect on society? A twofold reaction. The first group takes a rather sober, neutral point of view and argue whether chocolate is able to chill people down. The second group embraces the idea and consider it as an new opportunity to raise awareness for the society issues with nightlife, alcohol and violence. I’ll describe how you can use the next web to engage these two groups.
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Regardless of who is right or wrong, I think the initiative should be able to have a huge impact on the society as long as you engage the heart of the society and enable them to hijack it. Make the youth the ‘owner’ of the idea and do not enforce it as a political leader. A profound brand hijacking strategy, new communication means and innovative way of thinking will mobilize the youth shortly.
Let’s discuss some chemicals first
The sugar in chocolate bars sparks the release of several nerve chemicals (including Endorphin) which result in a sense of well-being. Furthermore, it contains phenylethylamine, or PEA, which gives you the feeling similar to when you’re in love. (Elizabeth Somer- Why do I crave chocolate?). Therefore, there might be some relation between feeling ‘relaxed’ and eating chocolate. However this effect is not yet scientifically proven for human beings. Regardless of this, people enjoy eating chocolate and whether or not it stimulates an easy feeling, the political party endorse it as a effective method in mitigating collateral damage (e.g. violence, vandalism and even sexual assaults) of the nightlife.
Shaping the idea, raise the potential, ENABLE A BRAND HIJACK
I already mentioned it, the new measure might be very effective on the condition that it is well-executed and in line with the youths and their social environment.
Before I describe the first essential component in enabling a brand hijack, you have (I know it is hard, but you have to!) watch the following video.
Did you bear to watch to it until the end? This video illustrates the notion of fear induction (as mentioned by Jean Pierre Ranschaert and Mieke Schevelenbos). The effect of fear induction is enormous, according to Jean “the viral effect seems big: over 110,000 views and 130 ratings in under two weeks […] fear induction only produces short term effects, while real awareness raising campaigns need building up over time” which emphasize the power of such a video.
Considering the topic of violence and vandalism, it wouldn’t be that hard to produce a similar video for this purpose. Besides the lower costs, the likelihood of raising awareness at the right folks is higher by distributing it via video platforms as YouTube and social networks. For certain if you consider the ‘viral effect’ of it.
After awareness has been increased, opportunities are created to really connect to your target group (for now, let them simply define as ‘the outgoing youth’). And a chocolate bar has just much more potential to create a real connection over other means including standard leaflets and TV campaigns (let even alone fines!). Connect to the youth with a bar that is branded in a way that aligns with them. Empower their feelings. Not just simply distribute bars, but enrich it with an experience. The energy drink Red Bull is also not just an energy drink. It comes with an experience of boosting energy. Giving your wings in times you need them. A well-branded chocolate bar which embraces the experience of relaxing, encouraging love and peace has similar potentials as the Red Bull experience. Aligning the brand to the experience is only possible if you are really connected to the outgoing youth.
Finally, a well branded chocolate bar should engage the target group and empower them to shape the experience further. A well tailored co-creation platform could enable the youth the think with and co-create this experience. There is a wide range of opportunities for such a platform, such as giving the youth the ability to co-create a public campaign. Let them suggest how to enhance the experience. Where should the chocolate bars be distributed? And co-creating the translation of the experience to other environments (think of the Red Bull Air races)?
Plenty of opportunities to enrich such a political initiative. Just do it!