Viewers of the Golden Globes Sunday night may have noticed a commercial from a company that isn’t typically an advertiser: LinkedIn.
And if viewers paid close attention to the spot, they may have also noticed that the actual LinkedIn user who was featured in the ad didn’t fit the “white collar businesspeople” stereotype of the professional network’s typical user.
The spot marked the launch of “In It Together,” LinkedIn’s first true integrated marketing effort, which also encompasses digital display, paid social media, online video, outdoor/out-of-home (including on LinkedIn’s offices across the U.S.), radio, podcasts, search-engine marketing and other partnerships.
The two campaigns are nothing alike, however.
LinkedIn vice president of brand marketing and corporate communications Melissa Selcher said the professional network’s TV ad debut during the 2016 Oscars was a single nationwide spot. “In It Together,” meanwhile, was crafted with an entirely different approach in mind.
The new campaign is a 12-week initiative targeted solely at four core markets— Atlanta, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and San Francisco—and Selcher said the company will compare LinkedIn activity in those markets with control markets that are not included in the campaign to help determine its success.
She added that LinkedIn saw the Golden Globes as a natural fit for the launch of In It Together, as both the awards show and the marketing initiative “celebrate all the different versions of success.”
LinkedIn said it opted to use “raw, black-and-white, documentary-style film” in the campaign in order to chronicle featured members’ success stories “in their own unique environments.”
LinkedIn executive creative director Kevin Frank said the network faces a stereotype of being a destination for businesspeople, and “people with more nontraditional backgrounds came forward” during the creation of the campaign.
Indeed, LinkedIn members featured during “In It Together” include those that fit the stereotype, such as an information-technology professional, but the campaign also includes users involved in sales, nonprofits, ranching, education, culinary, the arts (dancing and animation, for example) and even a mixed-martial-arts fighter.
Selcher said the initiative was introduced to all of LinkedIn’s 11,000 or so employees in November, and they were involved in key elements such as nominating members to be featured. In addition, the company has an internal microsite where employees can explain why they’re “in it,” and later this month, one entry will be selected with that employee being featured in an ad.
Selcher wrote in a blog post introducing the campaign: “A few months ago, we started asking ourselves and our members, ‘What are you in it for?’ ‘It’ is work and everything associated with work, and the answers are as unique as the more than 500 million members on LinkedIn. For some, the answer is a sense of purpose; for others, a deep passion. For some, it is a way to give back; for others, a much more pragmatic desire to provide. Regardless of the motivation or reason, no one wants to go it alone. Whatever you’re in it for, you want to know there is a community of people to help, support, inspire and push you.”
Not only are employees involved in the campaign, but LinkedIn’s physical offices across the country are participating, as well.
The company’s buildings will feature “massive renderings” of images of members involved in the campaign, such as the example pictured below, from the professional network’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.
One of the LinkedIn members involved in the campaign—all of whom volunteered to participate without compensation—thought he was just the recipient of a mass email at first, telling Adweek in an interview, “I’m not the typical financial advisor. I’m still young. I’m African-American, and my story is not one that’s commonly told.”
Eszylfie Taylor, founder and president of Taylor Insurance and Financial Services, said he saw his participation in the campaign as “an opportunity to share my why, share the reasons behind what I do and the role I play in people’s lives on a grand scale.”
Director Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and Z-Boys) said in email, “I knew from the first reading of the boards that this was one of those rare opportunities. They asked us to tell real stories about real people, they wanted it shot in black and white, and they wanted energy, enthusiasm and candor from the people involved. We found and documented many of the unique people who use the platform. We found avant-garde musicians, MMA fighters, physics teachers, animators, chefs and real-life cowboys, all of whom not only use LinkedIn but rave about its effect on their careers.”
LinkedIn had some big-media company when it came to launching campaigns during Sunday night’s event. The New York Times also unveiled its “He said. She said.” effort, backing the newspaper’s recent investigations of sexual harassment allegations in the entertainment, business and technology sectors.
Creative agency: BMB and LinkedIn Creative Studio
Director/production company: Stacy Peralta, Nonfiction Unlimited
Editorial: Union Editorial
Sound design: Wave Studios
Photographer: Ben Ingham
Media Agency: Spark Foundry