R.I.P Fusion Garage.
That was the industry verdict for upstart tablet computer manufacturer Fusion Garage (FG). They actually beat Apple to market with the first tablet – joojoo. From the beginning, though, joojoo and Fusion Garage had serious problems. Ultimately, the product was labeled a colossal failure and FG retired joojoo nine months later.
In its wake, FG was a battered brand left for dead by a fickle industry. However, they remained alive as a company with a vision for their next product – the Grid-10 tablet. How does a tarnished brand bounce back into the light from these nether regions? How could FG’s ultimate objective of receiving a second chance for an innovative second-generation product be achieved? That was the challenge we were presented with.
Our team knew that choosing any product from Fusion Garage, even the Grid-10, would be an “on-the-edge” buying decision. A non-traditional situation required a non-traditional approach. The client demanded it, and we delivered it in the form of “TabCo” – an alter ego, fake, parody brand designed to mask the identity of FG. This four-month campaign, which ran the gamut of earned, paid, owned and shared media, would signal that something very new and innovative was coming to shake up the tablet market. The campaign was also designed to create demand for the new product and capture the attention of influencers and consumers by forcing the market to laugh at itself and re-evaluate current tablet offerings.
At the core of the campaign was a non-stop flow of original content, from videos to images to blog posts to email updates to social messages, developed by our team to illustrate the market’s missing innovation, sameness and, via a gradual unveil, show how attributes of the Grid-10 would fill gaps left by other products.
The glue that held this content together was the creation of an identity around a key product feature –the wheel-shaped element of the user interface. This feature was positioned as both innovative and metaphorical – it showed how TabCo would “reinvent the wheel” and, thus, the market.
A face on TabCo was essential to bringing the backstory of TabCo to life. We hired an actor to be TabCo’s fake CEO – Ian (“IQ”) Quincey. IQ was smart enough to know what was missing in the market, he was established as lead character in all content and actually received multiple marriage proposals via the TabCo email alias during the campaign.
At the conclusion of the TabCo campaign, FG was unveiled as the brand behind the brand via a global webcast at which TabCo morphed into FG and Grid-10 was launched in the real world. Immediately after, influencer meetings were held in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Spain (campaign segments localized) to bring FG back into the light, position the campaign’s purpose as a company rebirth and demonstrate the Grid-10’s technological innovation.
Brought the FG brand back from the dead:
- Nearly 70% positive sentiment during campaign
- Global consumer/influencer attention
- Five-country re-launch
- 100+ interviews/300+ pieces of coverage
- Positive influencer campaign feedback
Created market anticipation and demand:
- FG met pre-order objectives
- Extensive online engagement including:
- 60K Twitter followers
- 250K+ video views
- 2M+ website hits
- 30K+ webcast attendees
- 1.2K+ Facebook Likes
- In-campaign coverage: WSJ’s All Things Digital, Fast Company, several trades
- Online influencer support, such as analyst Ross Rubin
- TabCo CEO chat session by early adopter blog GDGT
Avoided association with FG during campaign and encouraged market speculation:
- Protected anonymity
- Fended off multiple hack attacks to reveal FG
- Extensive speculation about company behind TabCo – mostly Nokia and Microsoft
- Online conversation analyzed each campaign move
Created second chance for FG brand:
- “TabCo gave me a second chance,” said Rathakrishan. “I wouldn’t have achieved my personal and business goals without it. McGrath/Power went far beyond my expectations.”