Much of the interactive marketing industry rallied behind Dynamic Logic's COO Tom Deierlein after he was seriously wounded by a sniper round in Iraq during active duty for the U.S. Army's Reader Reserve. After rehabilitation, Deierlein launched the Tom Deierlein Foundation to help Iraqi children with basic life needs -- such as clothing, school supplies and vitamins -- and welcomed support from industry and non-industry donations alike.
As Deierlein continues his important work on behalf of Iraqi children, iMedia thought this would be a great opportunity to unite some of the biggest and brightest players in our space and raise awareness of the TD Foundation, while allowing interactive marketers to showcase their companies' abilities.
The campaign ran for one month -- Dec. 10, 2007 through Jan. 10. ICON International developed a media plan, while Basement Inc. donated the creative. DoubleClick took care of ad serving, while Collective Media and 24/7 Real Media were the campaign's ad networks.
Author notes: Nanette Marcus is the cover stories editor for iMedia Connection. Read full bio.
ICON's contribution: media plan
Elisabeth Bartczak, online media assistant for ICON International Inc., explains:
The online department at ICON International agreed to participate in the Tom Deierlein Foundation project for various reasons.
One such reason is that my boss and Tom Deierlein are industry acquaintances, and supporting his charity was a great way to give back and thank him for his service. Additionally, the Foundation provides a great service to the innocent children of war-torn Iraq by providing basic necessities like shoes and vitamins.
We approached the media plan with the goal of reaching a large assortment of internet users. The most effective method was to use ad networks that are capable of behavioral and demo targeting. We were able to catch the attention of users who are interested in the news or in politics, religion and the military.
No tweaks were made along the way. The plan stayed the same.
Basement Inc's contribution: creative
Doug Schumacher, president / creative director, Basement Inc., explains:
Doug Weaver first told me about Tom's [Deierlein] story, and that alone was really all the convincing we needed. The "Boardroom to Baghdad" transition reads like a movie script. And, of course, that's just the beginning of his story. In the end, though, I think the same thing appealed to us that compelled Tom to start the Foundation in the first place -- the chance to have a positive impact on the lives of children who are living in a war zone.
Before we ever got into the creative, Mark Silva and I had several good discussions about the overarching strategy. And those conversations sprang out of input from Tom.
We started out by considering the top target audience segments -- based on Tom's experience with where donations and interest in general were coming from. And the segments were quite diverse on a lot of fronts. In fact, they were so diverse that we considered appealing to each independently -- we thought it might help us hit stronger emotional cords without alienating anyone politically.
But while the Iraq war is very divisive, children have strong universal appeal. And these kids are literally living in a war zone. The severity of their situation is something most people can understand. So that was the common thread throughout the messaging.
DoubleClick's contribution: ad serving
Lynn Tornabene, VP of marketing, explains:
DoubleClick is proud to support philanthropic initiatives, especially in the communities where we live and work. This was an opportunity to really leverage our resources and support an industry leader's worthwhile organization, particularly because it works to improve the lives of children.
DoubleClick Senior Account Manager Laura Essey helped recruit the DoubleClick team, which included Technical Account Managers Jerry Karwowski, Filippa Leedham and Jesse Markham. Over the course of the campaign, team members sat in on weekly calls with the Foundation to plan, execute and support the campaign, providing the service and guidance we typically offer to our clients. The TAMs taught Foundation members how to manage the campaign using DoubleClick's DART® for Advertisers, our comprehensive ad management and serving solution, with Spotlight tags. Our services team was able to help determine which sites and creatives were driving the best results for the Foundation. In addition, our legal team assisted in drafting a contract that waived all fees for network creation, usage and trafficking.
In the past, we have supported other industry and philanthropic organizations, including New York Cares and The Ad Council. We appreciated the opportunity be a part of this initiative.
Collective Media's contribution: ad network
Joe Apprendi, CEO, Collective Media, explains:
I've been a close business associate of Tom Deierlein for more than 10 years, so when iMedia approached me about this concept, there was no question in my mind on what the answer would be.
Collective Media approached this campaign like any other paid campaign -- giving it as much attention as needed to give it the best chance to hit the client's goals. This campaign was especially important because we wanted to not only help the TD Foundation receive donations, but we always wanted to spread awareness about the organization across our network.
We started off with a lot of targeting that we quickly realized was not getting conversions or clicks. And given how segmented this was, we had a very hard time optimizing. A week into the campaign, we recommended to the client to shift the focus to a "run-of" Collective buy, which both DART Adapt and our manual optimization process could work much better.
We were able to significantly raise the CTR (from a .36 for 12/10 through 12/21 to a .67 for 12/22 through 1/10 -- an 86 percent increase) and get a few conversions. DART Adapt optimized it based on high-yielding audience clusters, such as daypart, sites, context/behavior segments and geographic location. On our end, we optimized it manually to complement DART Adapt to make sure everywhere it was running it was performing.
24/7 Real Media's contribution: ad network
Brian Lesser, vice president of product management, 24/7 Real Media, explains:
In addition to this being a great cause, we know Tom [Deierlein] and have profound respect for his military service and his contributions to the digital marketing community.
Our approach was to generate maximum reach with optimal return. We developed a strategy that included many of the targeting filters we use for our advertising partners, including behavioral targeting and contextual categories.
We used both manual and algorithm-based optimization to generate awareness first. Then we narrowed our focus to generate clicks. With any digital marketing campaign, we achieve better results as we learn more about the user. For that reason, we are excited to participate in future campaigns for the Tom Deierlein Foundation.
If you want to help spread awareness about the TD Foundation, consider downloading the creative below and posting on your sites and ad networks.
Be sure to let us know via the comments below if you do!
Tom Deierlein on the campaign:
First and foremost, I would like to thank iMedia, who throughout my deployment, injury and the start of the Foundation played a critical role in supporting me and sharing my story, which helped in raising more than $80,000 in donations over the past year.
I would also like to thank Brad Berens, who came up with this idea 10 months ago and stuck with it to make it a reality by recruiting the participating companies.
While the donations were not overwhelming, the fact that we were able to get more than 10 million impressions and a ton of site visits over a one-month period was fabulous. I realize now that I need to improve the look and feel of the website and that this is just the beginning. Just as I preach to my clients, it starts with awareness and works its way down the purchase funnel. Overall, the program did a great deal in raising the profile of the TD Foundation, and for that I am eternally grateful to the companies -- and to the individual people who took the time out of their busy schedules to help the needy children of Iraq.
I will always remember your efforts and selflessness.