Free underwear and the art of marketing through LinkedIn

Linkedin has made real progress over the last 24 months. By putting greater focus on content it’s been moving solidly towards improved user engagement; and in return saw its advertising revenue grow 45% in Q3 over the same period last year. However, it’s still not seen as a hotbed for marketing creativity. Brands have typically favoured FaceBook and Twitter as a vehicle for audience engagement and I could probably count the number of great marketing campaigns that use Linkedin on one hand.

What that means is that when a clever campaign is launched it does get attention.

Free underwear & the innate rules of LinkedIn

More so than any other social platform, editorial control across LinkedIn content remains largely self-regulated. Driven by its use as a tool for recruiters (and therefore potential future employers), there’s an unwritten, almost innate rule among LinkedIn users that content should be relevant and professional. The same applies to campaigns, and for me the best campaigns play to this innate understanding.

There are few better examples of this than Fruit of the Loom’s 2013 “Fresh Gigs” campaign. During the five week effort, users who updated their employment status to reflect a new job were contacted through LinkedIn by Fruit of the Loom and offered complimentary, gift-wrapped underwear, because “great-fitting underwear can help you start your workday in a great mood.”

Fruit of the Loom’s Fresh Gig campaign


Yes, it was quirky and part of a wider advertising campaign, but it was a subtle use of an inherent LinkedIn action; notifying your community of a new job. Because of that it was immediately on-target, relevant and didn’t seem overly interruptive.

Leverage native LinkedIn actions

The latest example of a campaign that leverages a native LinkedIn action is equally enjoyable. Launched this week, this time it’s for the movie Taken 3. Playing to the action of “LinkedIn Endorsements” (endorsing one’s connections for their skills), the campaign features Liam Neeson’s character Brian Mills. Fans of the movie franchise will be familiar with the now infamous (and meme-inspiring) scene in the first movie where Neeson’s character explains to his daughter’s kidnappers that he has his own “particular set of skills” that will aid him in his mission to rescue her.

Now, Neeson’s character is ready to endorse your skills with a personal video endorsement. Pretty neat. Who wouldn’t want to win a LinkedIn endorsement from the man himself?

The campaign is being seeded through a tongue-in-cheek video from Neeson where he recites his own business skills; contract negotiations, international relations, transportation logistics, all intercut with scenes from the movie franchise.

The campaign’s LinkedIn page features content from the movie and invites users to follow the page to enter the competition.

I like its simplicity. It’s relevant, it echoes a known LinkedIn action (endorsements) and is integrated with your network so you can see how else in your groups has entered.

LinkedIn isn’t the place for Farmville invites or cat videos, but if you understand the unwritten rules of LinkedIn, the very fact that so few campaigns surface on the network means that brands can cut through the noise inherent across other social channels very quickly.



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