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Why Jet.com Made 50 Personalized Ads In One Day Based On Customer Orders

Who wouldn’t want a personal congratulations from a barbershop quartet for buying some cat litter?

Why Jet.com Made 50 Personalized Ads In One Day Based On Customer Orders

Maybe it was the frantic crew and cramped writers room, or perhaps it was the bizarre mix of talent wandering around–a guy with a giant owl’s head here, a barbershop quartet over there, a yodeller practicing in the next room–but behind the scenes at Jet.com’s latest commercial shoot was more Muppet Show than marketing exercise.

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One day after it debuted its first-ever commercial, the start-up e-commerce brand, with agency SS+K, was in the midst of an ambitious real-time creative content campaign called #Jetspree. On September 9th, shoppers on the site asked if they’d like to submit the items in their purchased cart for a chance to have a video made about it. On set, the agency creative team worked to create quick, funny videos based on whatever people were buying, then send it back to them to share.

Jet’s vice president of marketing Sumaiya Balbale says the new campaign is a reflection of the brand’s aim to bring more humanity into e-commerce. “#JetSpree celebrates smart shoppers in a way that hasn’t been done before,” says Balbale. “The idea puts a spotlight on the people who are finding smart ways to save on Jet.com, and all the pragmatic, fun, and sometimes random stuff they buy.”

SS+K partner and president Brad Kay says the insight behind the idea was all about putting the customer first. “Shopping can be a real drag and an energy suck,” says Kay. “The #JetSpree aims to humanize that experience and shows that it can be both fun and rewarding to shop on Jet.com.”

The result was 50 separate videos, all directed by Tom Scharpling, featuring everything from the yodeller singing about a portable DVD player, the barbershop quartet harmonizing about bike supplies, and a talking turtle admiring an eclectic purchase of body wash, paper napkins and cheddar cheese.

Weird? Sure. But when your nipping at the behemoth heels of Amazon, you need to do something to get people’s attention. Launched in July, Jet is a cross between the paid subscription model of Costco with the efficient e-commerce savings of Amazon. Fortune reported in August that the company, led by Diapers.com co-founder Marc Lore, was getting ready to speak with prospective investors on a new Series B funding round that would give it a $2 billion valuation.

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“The idea was pretty much born out of the brand itself,” says Bobby Hershfield, SS+K partner and CCO. “A warm, optimistic company that puts its customers first. We thought it would be fun if we did on-the-spot, personal congratulation messages with a variety of performers and characters. Just felt right for who they are. Of course then it occurred to us what on-the-spot, live messages would entail and we embraced the challenge.”

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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