Made / Kijiji

A Classified Site in a Class of Its Own

What do you remember most about the experience of buying your most beloved items? The deals you got? The place you bought them? Or the way the items shaped how you felt?

These were the questions on the mind of the marketing team at Kijiji in early 2016. As Canada’s largest classified website, Kijiji had been enabling thousands of in-person sales, trades, and connections each month since its founding in 2005. But in 2016, their marketers realized that the platform was fostering more than just transactions — Kijiji was a catalyst for meaningful emotional experiences for millions of people.

This insight inspired Kijiji’s marketing team to launch a whole new era of messaging for their brand and led to their revamped tagline “What’s your thing?” This insight helped the marketing team start to think about Kijiji as more than just a product — and begin to shape the brand around a greater purpose. “We’re elevating the perception of Kijiji to being beyond just transactions, which starts internally by thinking about it as more than that,” says Stefan Milosevic, a marketing strategist and one of the campaign leads for “Shake on it.”

For the follow-up campaign to 2016’s “What’s Your Thing?” the team wanted to hit home with the emotional payoffs of buying and selling on Kijiji. “The handshake is emblematic of a Kijiji meetup,” explains Stefan. By focusing on the handshake as symbolic of the personal connections that customers forge through Kijiji, the brand wanted to highlight their message in a way that was as light, playful, and humorous as the rest of their marketing.

The brand paired vignettes of people shaking on Kijiji purchases of items that physically shake — sports cars, alarm clocks, washing machines — all set to Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shaking Going On.” The campaign hit billboards, radio waves, and screens in early 2017 and quickly caught on with audiences across Canada.

Friends, agencies, countrymen

The Kijiji team had a strong vision for what they wanted to say in their new campaign, but it was their trusted “family” of agencies that helped them bring their ideas to life. Kijiji has established a unique agency ecosystem that’s essential for effective collaboration on major campaigns like “Shake on it.” “We rely heavily on agencies as extensions of our team, but we truly run as a well-oiled machine,” says Stefan.

Central to this well-oiled machine is a thorough and thoughtful briefing process — in which the Kijiji team carefully outlines the themes, goals, and audiences for the campaign’s execution. Having this centralized briefing along with a close, long-term relationship with their Agency of Record — CloudRaker — allowed their agency partners to collaborate proactively on producing the creative for “Shake on it.”

On top of coordinating with multiple agencies, the Kijiji team created unique activations for each of their channels — ensuring that content was optimized for the media on which it was published, while always sticking with themes and goals outlined in the central brief. “You’ll never see us put a TV ad as pre-roll on Youtube,” says Stefan. For “Shake on it,” the TV ads and offline activations focused on mass marketing, brand awareness, and getting the most impressions possible on their content. The campaign’s digital and social strategy was much more nuanced with content aimed at specific personas, channels, and goals based on engagement as well as impressions. This multifaceted strategy translated into a lot of different creative that needed to be tracked and managed across channels and agencies.

Percolate saved us a lot of time in the planning and publishing process, as there were many executions for many different demographics and lots of different creative.”
— Stefan Milosevic

To add to this complexity, the campaign also needed to be optimized for regional audiences within Canada. Kijiji was originally launched in Montreal and Quebec City in 2005 so — even though the brand now has national reach — ensuring that their marketing serves the needs of both French and English speakers is incredibly important. Even while mass marketing their website, conveying a sense of community, inclusivity, and neighborliness is core to their brand. And as as Stefan points out, the site is “by definition hyper-local.” That’s why Kijiji has creative teams working on separate content for the English and French iterations of their campaigns — not merely French content translated into English or visa versa, but culturally specific creative all united around the themes and goals in the central campaign brief.

Before Percolate, everything was a swarm of emails containing attachments, from briefing to pitch decks to approving and optimizing creative. Now all of this happens in Percolate.”
— Stefan Milosevic

Managing all the moving parts of a campaign that involves multiple audiences, channels, regions and agency partners could have been a major challenge for the Kijiji marketing team, especially on a high-profile campaign like “Shake on it.” But with Percolate, the team had a centralized,collaborative ecosystem to keep track of all localized content during the planning, production, and publishing across social, e-mail, and their blog without creating silos in their organization and with their partners. The platform helps their marketers and agencies have separate environments to work, while keeping sharing and communicating a click away.

As Kijiji continues to build a brand and a community around their website, they’ll find new ways to celebrate every shake and the feelings that come with it. M.