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Do Tax Prep and Social Media Go Together?

The post starts with a question for two reasons:

1) There’s a disclaimer: my agency, 360i, has been working on the emerging media strategy for the campaign described below in conjunction with other agencies and of course everyone at H&R Block.

2) I’m genuinely curious for your feedback. Rip it, praise it, comment on it, post it on your blog, email me directly – any reaction’s helpful here.

The story:

H&R Block wanted to create a broad presence online to showcase their digital tax preparation offerings, and given their overarching campaign across all media hinges on the "You Got People" tagline, they were especially interested in tapping into social media.

The placements include:

* A profile page on MySpace, supported by a media buy there. The profile features the character Truman Greene, and it’s clear he’s a corporate shill, but he has some fun with it and creates his own ‘fan videos’, along with blog posts, a game, and other content. As of now he has over 2,100 friends.

* A YouTube page based around Truman Greene

* A Facebook page with a contest (5 fans get to file for free with TaxCut Online Premium), a Countdown to Tax Time app, a Tax Fact or Myth quiz, a poll, a game called The Deductor where you fly around collecting deductions and avoiding IRS agents, a Financial Match Quiz where you compare your finance style with a friend’s, a video from the Common Craft Show on using their new web-based tax software Tango, and then photos, wall posts, and a discussion board. There are about 850 fans. H&R Block’s also running an ad campaign which included a Facebook gift.

* Columns on eHarmony’s advice site

* A new site Digits where people can discuss tax-related issues

* A presence on Twitter

Below’s the Common Craft video. What’s your take?

People reacted to this story.
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Comments to: Do Tax Prep and Social Media Go Together?
  • Avatar
    February 21, 2008

    David – this is cracking! fabulous. I really appreciate getting the insight on how you set up this campaign and where you placed the media spend.
    Rebecca Caroe

  • Avatar
    February 21, 2008

    Great idea and execution. Love the poll widget, keeps you engaged and surprises people with facts and myths.
    Did you consider adding events to the MySpace and Facebook pages? In my experience, local events really help to get people even more involved and offer them personal interaction with specific offices.
    If I had anything to criticize, I’m not really into the tonality of the campaign:
    “I’m telling you, when you get down with the Block…you got people. And they take care of business.”
    Feels a bit forced. Were you guys involved in tonality direction or came that from the agency/agencies?

  • Avatar
    February 21, 2008

    I agree that the execution of this strategy was very well done. No one would think that creating a Social Media strategy for a tax company would even work but behold the power of media and comedy 🙂

  • Avatar
    February 22, 2008

    Agree that the campaign is great, but my next question is always: if it is in fact, so great — why haven’t I heard about it? I am in the target demographic. I visit YouTube and Facebook daily and even spend some time on MySpace, yet… I heard about the campaign through your blog. I think that’s the holy grail question for marketers today.
    BTW, even without this campaign, I filed online with H&R block 🙂

  • Avatar
    February 25, 2008

    Fun and funny creative for refreshing look at an otherwise staid brand.


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