Nonlinear marketing is essentially an interaction between the consumer and the brand that promotes sales for the brand. The exchange goes both ways, meaning that the consumer interacts with the brand and the brand interacts with the consumer. This is a new way of customer engagement used by some of the most successful brands in the world.
One example of a successful brand that uses nonlinear marketing is Burger King. Their campaign with “The Subservient Chicken” ran from 2004 to 2007 when Youtube and Facebook were just starting to gain a following. This campaign was such a success that Burger King brought it back ten years later and experienced success once again. The campaign consisted of a digital ad with a chicken mascot in the middle of a living room. The consumer could interact with this ad by using their keyboard. When the consumer hits a button, the chicken would do things like lunges or squats. There were over 300 commands programmed into the ad so that customers could “have it their way,” as the chain advertises with their food. The product being promoted was the Tendercrisp, and Burger King saw an increase in sales of 9% for it per week.
Another household brand that uses nonlinear marketing is Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola used this strategy in its “Polar Bowl” campaign, which revolved around the Super Bowl. This campaign had consumers watch animated polar bears root for the teams and react in real-time to the game. Additionally, the polar bears were responding to messages and tweets on social media in real-time. They upped the antics by having people “RSVP” on social media and saved some clips to be shared after the game ended. 2012 had nine million streams and averaged more than 5,000 comments per minute on major platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Starbucks is another big brand that uses nonlinear marketing. Their Upstanders campaign promoted compassion and civility by delivering an original content series on their website. The series consisted of 10 touching, inspiring stories about real people in the United States who had a significant impact on their communities. This strategy encouraged interaction with the brand by letting people post photos on the website to support positive change.