Published July 2018

With so many advertisements vying for attention, the importance of authentic integrated marketing campaigns continues to grow. This approach, which aims to offer a multi-faceted yet seamless experience for consumers, ensures that all aspects of marketing and communications work together as one to tell your brand’s story. And social media is a huge piece of the puzzle—in 2017, statistics showed that there are 2.8 billion global social media users, equaling market penetration of 37 percent.

As an agency, we’ve seen a number of impressive integrated marketing campaigns—from GoPro’s "Be a Hero" to IBM’s “Outage” experience. But one campaign that has really resonated with us comes right from our own backyard: For the launch of its latest top-of-the-line gaming processor, tech powerhouse Intel created an extensive integrated marketing campaign with a heavy social media bent, involving YouTube influencers, top PC builders, and millions of enthusiast gamers: the Intel Extreme Rig Challenge.

The premise: Select system builders across North America compete to create the most extreme gaming rig, featuring the latest Intel products. The rigs are judged for Best Engineering, Most Creative, Best Performance, and finally, People’s Choice—awarded to the team that gets the most votes from enthusiast gamers on Twitter.

Intel has run this fast-paced campaign for four years, refining the challenge each year to incorporate lessons learned and evolutions in integrated marketing.

Meg Wren, Managing Editor

Integrated marketing campaigns abound in the tech industry.

Intel has run this fast-paced campaign for four years, refining the challenge each year to incorporate lessons learned and evolutions in integrated marketing—and 2018’s Extreme Rig Challenge appears to have been the most popular yet. Knowing that visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other content types, Intel decided this year to have each team produce “check-in” videos across the three stages of the competition—Power, Core, and Gear—so that fans following along at home could keep track of what each team was up to.

Starting in early April, YouTube tech influencers announced the competition via elaborate unboxing videos that showed off the ingredient products and explained how the competition would work, reaching over 7.2 million followers. Since voting was to be conducted through Twitter, the hashtag #IntelRigChallenge was leveraged to track votes and boost visibility.

Tech influencers Linus Tech Tips and Soldier Knows Best promote the ERC campaign on their YouTube channels.

As with any integrated marketing push, Intel needed to keep their audience engaged and continue to build momentum throughout the life of the campaign. To promote engagement, the system builders got help with email marketing, web banners, and messaging—as well as integration into the campaign website, which featured a leaderboard that tracked each team’s progress in the competition. Intel also integrated a sweepstakes component into the campaign, a move that clearly encouraged voting and drove better engagement. For the duration of the challenge, Intel raffled off prizes to winners randomly selected from the Twitter voting pool—every two weeks, they gave away two Oculus Rift VR headsets. Then, at the end of the challenge, 5 lucky winners got to take home one of the finished rigs—each worth roughly $10,000. As an added bonus, Intel partnered with Amazon to offer discounts on components and finished rigs from the competing teams.

Intel and Amazon partnered to create a discount program around the Extreme Rig Challenge.

The final phase of this year’s Extreme Rig Challenge was an awards ceremony, live-streamed on Twitch to an audience of over 12,000 viewers. The YouTube influencers gathered at the Intel Gaming Lab in Oregon to test the rigs, rank them, award the trophies, and raffle off the finished rigs to the voting public. It was a lot to cover in a single live-stream event, but the logistics were obviously carefully planned—it all went off without a hitch.

In the end, the 2018 Extreme Rig Challenge appears to have been the company’s most successful yet, with huge social engagement—1.5 million video views, nearly 1 million votes cast over three months, and 74 million total impressions—an enormous increase over 2017. All that’s left to say is—we can’t wait to see what they’ll come up with next year!