Lenovo Teams Up with NFL & USO for Social-Mobile Military Marketing Campaign

Social media has become integral for marketing activations and campaigns, especially when it’s an interactive one.

Lenovo, the world’s largest PC maker and the NFL’s official laptop provider, enlisted high-profile pro football players who took to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for its inaugural #LenovoSalutes campaign in November. It was part of the NFL’s Salute to Service campaign.
#LenovoSalutes called on NFL fans to post pictures of and tributes to military family and friends with a hashtag for their favorite football team. In the end, the undefeated Carolina Panthers claimed the most mentions, winning a technology makeover at a USO base in that city. Lenovo’s Kevin Berman, director of consumer marketing North America, discussed the campaign and running digital campaigns with OMM’s Robert Gray…

OMM: What was the genesis of the program?
Berman:
The #LenovoSalutes social initiative is part Lenovo’s long history of supporting the United Service Organizations (USO) and encouraging military appreciation.
In addition to #LenovoSalutes, Lenovo’s military support extends to several other initiatives with the USO and beyond, including U.S. Veterans Corps, Operation: Coming Home, and Hiring America. For Veterans Day, Lenovo supported the USO’s 6th annual care package drive with 500 Lenovo employees volunteering to put together more than 14,000 packs for our troops.

OMM: Have you done a campaign similar to this via social and mobile before?
Berman:
Lenovo has shifted a great deal of our marketing efforts to social and mobile channels. We want to engage with our consumers, our fans and connect them with our social causes.

OMM:How has mobile changed the way Lenovo markets its products, including campaigns such as this one?
Berman:
We have to understand how our customers and fans are consuming media and our messages. So, we have shifted much of our focus to the mobile experience.

OMM: Is it part of a broader shift to mobile-first marketing?
Berman:
We like to think of it as consumer-first. But there is no doubt that the mobile experience is at the heart of it.

OMM: When did Lenovo start making a concerted effort to market more socially and via mobile in particular?
Berman:
We started about three years ago. But, the biggest change has taken place in the past 18 months.

OMM: Is it paying dividends yet in terms of revenue?
Berman:
We believe so. It’s hard to tell with every aspect of mobile and social marketing. But, in certain cases we can tell that the mobile space has driven business for us.

OMM: Can you also confirm Lenovo is the official computer provider for the NFL still? And did Lenovo extend its sponsorship deal? I know there were talks last year but I haven’t found any confirmation online that it was extended.
Berman:
Lenovo extended its sponsorship deal beyond the original 3-year agreement. We are now in our 4th year of partnership with the NFL. At the same time, NFL is a long-term customer of Lenovo and our products - laptops, desktops, workstations and servers, power the league and its operations.