The battle for online relevance is one agencies have been fighting for years. With so many social media users (and so many brands vying for their attention), agencies usually have two choices: make sure you have a big budget or make smart, insightful decisions that tap into your community and their story.
At Dawning Digital, we proudly fall into the latter camp. We create unique, engaging, and purposeful social media content to create vitality, rather than buy it. When it comes to our client AriZona Beverage Co., we take the principle of community-driven content strategy to heart – and it’s paid off in more ways than one.
Our nominations in the Low Budget Content Campaign of the Year, Content Strategy of the Year, and Multilingual Campaign of the Year categories couldn’t have been more appropriate for highlighting the strengths of our agency. As our CEO and founder, Sol Spier, says, “The categories we’ve been shortlisted for are a huge testament to our approach and point of difference as a boutique agency with a lean yet strategic approach.”
Low Budget Content Campaign of the Year
AriZona is an iconic iced-tea brand with a famous mission to combat inflation – one 99c price tag at a time. Amongst fans of the brand (who have affectionately been nicknamed ‘Zonies), AriZona’s innovative cost-reduction methods are always a popular topic, with posts talking about it always performing well. We knew that if wanted to make the most impact on this community with a small budget, this is what we should focus on.
To tell the story, we took advantage of our CEO’s well-timed trip to New York to get engaging, on-the-ground footage of AriZona’s production and headquarters. While AriZona of course has access to professional photographers and videographers, we knew that native, lo-fi content performs best, so we sent Sol in armed with nothing but an iPhone and a shotlist. “Every client visit is a content creation opportunity,” says Sol. “In between every meeting, I always sneak off to snap photos and film videos, because I know the ’Zonie community loves the behind-the-scenes and AriZona HQ content – and the HQ is a whole brand experience and content creation wonderland!” Chairman and founder Don Vultaggio believes that your workplace should look beautiful. “Most guys don’t paint their columns pink and green and put polka dots on them,” Vultaggio says. But at AriZona HQ – they do!”
With Sol’s footage, our team crafted “AriZona vs. Inflation” – a series of Instagram reels giving a behind-the-scenes look at how AriZona fights the battle against rising production costs. The result? Millions of combined views, with our top-performing video being seen by almost 8 million people! The campaign also significantly increased AriZona’s Instagram followers from 360k to 410k, which means we didn’t just engage our community – we grew it!
Content Strategy of the Year
‘Zonies are truly a one-of-a-kind audience, and the culturally relevant strategy we cooked up for them is a great example of what we believe in – community-driven storytelling, supported by trend research that ensures our content stays culturally relevant.
“My friends don’t believe me when I tell them one of my main jobs is to research and create memes,” says Maya Molony, our Content Creation Specialist. “But my daily trend research is one of the most important things I do at Dawning Digital. Trending memes are the best-performing content we create, and it takes consistent teamwork from everybody to make sure we’re jumping on those opportunities and joining the cultural conversation.”
To effectively engage with our target audience, AriZona’s tone on social media is tongue-in-cheek, irreverent, and always in on the joke (in other words, “Straight up outta pocket”). With this brand voice in mind, we tapped into the cultural zeitgeist with a steady stream of memes and reels. Additionally, by introducing interactive elements like questions, polls, and trivia into Instagram Stories, we saw a staggering 400x increase in Story views and engagement. These results were a powerful reminder to our team of how understanding and aligning with your audience can lead to transformative results!
“One of the most exciting (and humbling) things about working on these campaigns is seeing how a few smart, strategic choices can make a far-reaching impact. We’re a small team, so it’s strange to think sometimes that a simple “Trend of the Day” thread on Slack can result in content that goes on to be seen by millions. It’s amazing working with a community like AriZona’s, where the fans are so passionate about the product and the brand. It makes all the successful work we do for them all the more rewarding.”
Multilingual Campaign of the Year
Last year, we were pulled off one of our biggest feats yet – the rollout of AriZona’s Thirsty Thirty Europe campaign. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, AriZona gave ‘Zonies the opportunity to create their own unique iced tea flavor, with the winning drink earning the title of (unofficial) Chief Flavour Officer and seeing their flavour produced and sold IRL. After the successful launch of this campaign in USA, we were then tasked with expanding our efforts across 27 NEW countries for AriZona Europe. Armed with a thorough understanding of the ‘Zonie community and their digital habits, we ultimately saw very impressive results with our content strategy!
Keeping our marketing efforts engaging and consistent across 27 countries and multiple languages in no easy feat, but our talented multinational team pulled it off. Our authentic, user-driven strategy drove unprecedented engagement, proving once again that focusing on community – not budget – is the key to a successful campaign.
At every campaign stage, our team emphasised celebrating the creativity and passion of the ‘Zonies, fostering a sense of value and ownership in shaping the future of AriZona. We leveraged their enthusiasm and took a multichannel approach, with tailor-made content for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and email marketing. This strategy ensured that we reached ‘Zonies in a variety of online spaces, keeping the competition memorable in their minds throughout the campaign (and entertaining them along the way too!) By expanding our understanding of AriZona’s American audience and using our own insights to ensure the European campaign resonated with its audience, we ensured Thirsty Thirty’s success – and the outstanding results speak for themselves!
Small Budgets – Big Results
In a world where big budgets dominate, Dawning Digital proves that intentional, audience-driven strategy triumphs over financial constraints. Our European Content Awards nominations underscore the power of strategic decisions and authentic connections, reminding us that at the end of the day, it’s not about the budget – it’s about our community.