Daryl Johnson has recently been named the national spokesperson for eSmart Tax (a Liberty Tax Service company). Picked out of the blue, Daryl has since had his face and name plastered on billboards, captured on video in interactive YouTube ads, and broadcast in television and radio spots.
Not only that, but he’s letting 2,200,000 people file their taxes for free courtesy of eSmart Tax. There’s only one catch… to collect on that offer, your last name’s got to be Johnson. Seriously, you can head on over to iamajohnson.com (even if you’re not one) to see what they’re offering and to confirm your identity as a Johnson to collect on that whole filing-your-taxes-for-free offer.
So, how did Daryl, the lawn care business owner and avid golfer from Richmond, VA, get picked to be the national spokesperson? Well, it was actually pretty random. The company found that in the U.S. there were over 2.2 million people with Johnson as their last name. So then, they thought, why not choose one at random and figure out what he or she plans to do with their refund. Well, one thing led to another and Daryl became the new spokesperson, and they’ve built a pretty cool campaign around the idea. With the average tax refund around $2,500, they’re asking you to help decide what Daryl should do with his.
Also, Daryl will be giving away 30 $100 Visa debit cards courtesy of eSmart Tax, one per day for a month starting January 15th, 2010. All you have to do to win one is send a tweet to Daryl telling him what you plan to do with your refund. Just copy and paste the following message and fill in your own plan for your refund: Hey @thedaryljohnson I plan to… pay off the last of my student loans with my refund.
What a cool campaign! Merging the traditional with the not-so-traditional media is certainly cool to watch. They seemed to have covered all the bases on this one, leveraging the above with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube accounts along with an interactive billboard (pictured above) that displays Daryl’s Twitter updates. In the interactive video, which you’ll see below, you can tell Daryl whether to donate the money or “make it rain.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I definitely chose “make it rain.”
So no… chances are you’re not going to be able to file for free with them (unless your last name is Johnson) but they’ve definitely developed a very creative way to spread the word about eSmart Tax. Sometimes you’ll see companies attempt to dip their fingers in every possible new outlet and it can get messy. In this case, I think they’ve done a nice job of utilizing new technologies available to marketers without overdoing it. I guess we’ll see how it all works out come April 15, but I’d bet my last name that it turns out alright for them.