How we Shocked the Web

Shiretoko Shock banner

It started just two weeks before Firefox 3.5 would be released. Prashanth, one of our Campus Reps in India, posted an idea on the Reps’ forum. He suggested a synchronized social media campaign to celebrate the new Firefox launch — think of it as the stadium wave meets Twitter. Other Reps quickly joined the discussion and it was soon clear that there was lots of excitement about the idea. We could get all the Reps involved and tell our schoolmates about it too. We’d have hundreds of students participating in the Shock.

But what about the rest of the Mozilla community? Would we only target this campaign¬† to students? This wasn’t an issue last year with Firefox 3 — Download Day was open to everyone. And that’s what made it so successful. With that in mind, Jay and I knew that this campaign should include the whole community.

What would we call this virtual stadium wave? Firefox 3.5′s code name “Shiretoko” was a natural fit. And we used “Shock” to capture the wave effect the campaign would create. Each wave of social media would be called a “shock.”

Next, we planned the logistics for how the Shock would take place. Because we were celebrating the release of Firefox 3.5, we wanted the Shock time to be 3:50pm. We debated whether to do one huge, global shock or 24 regional shocks — one for each timezone as we spread the Shock around the world.¬† A single global effort would be bigger in scale and more noticeable on social networks. However, the timing would be inconvenient for certain regions. The regional shocks were convenient in terms of timing (3:50pm in each time zone), and they would allow each region to get excited about their regional shock. Since both options had pros, we ultimately decided to allow people to participate twice.

Shiretoko Shock banner

With the strategy set, I went about designing the Campaign page on Spread Firefox. The layout of the content is straight forward — an introduction to the Shock idea, directions on how to get involved, and the reasoning behind the campaign. The most difficult part of this page is communicating when someone is supposed to participate because there are 25 (24 + 1) shocks taking place. The campaign page listed the first 5 timezones for the regional shocks and the time for the Super Shock. We also linked to a world clock page that let participants look up when the Super Shock was in their timezone. In retrospect, I think it would have been best to list all 24 regional shock times so it would be more clear.

Campaign page

Campaign page

Since the Campaign page was lengthy and got into the details of the Shiretoko Shock, we decided to create a Landing page as well. The purpose of this page is to promote Firefox 3.5, allow visitors to download it, and give users a chance to spread the Shock. If a user wants to learn more about the campaign, they could visit the Campaign page, but the details are not mentioned on the Landing page. Jeff, another marketing intern, helped me design the Landing page on the Friday afternoon before the release.

Shiretoko Shock - Landing

Landing page

To publicize the Shiretoko Shock, we messaged our marketing, launch team, and Campus Reps email lists a few days before release to let them know we’d be announcing a campaign soon. On Monday, the day before launch, we sent out the details and launched the Campaign page. Then early Tuesday morning we launched the Landing page.

How big was the Shiretoko Shock? I’ll post about the numbers and the impact of the Shock in a few days.