Five of the Best: Social Media Campaigns We Love

In Advertising, Digital Strategy, Social Mediaby Marius Badenhorst

If you had to tell someone from ten years ago that your brand has excelled because of the latest hashtag or that your most recent campaign has received thousands of likes, they might have nodded politely as they noted to themselves that you could be losing it. Today we can hardly imagine any ad campaign without the use of social media.

But tangled in the wide web spun by social networks, many can get it wrong. It’s a jungle out there and only the best of the best will see the sunlight of viral campaign success.  Fortunately, many get it right too and for this post we’ll celebrate those who did, and take a closer look at how they made it happen:

Asos:  #BestNightEver hastag campaign

Every fashionista worth her sparkle will know that when it comes to putting together the perfect outfit, inspiration cannot be underestimated. This is exactly what Asos tapped into when they created their award-winning #BestNightEver campaign at the end of last year. The campaign featured fashion icons – singers Ellie Goulding, Azelia Banks and model Charlotte Free in three music videos in which they wore Asos’s Christmas range. Viewers could ‘click and buy’ the clothes instantly by clicking on the items as they appeared in the videos. Besides buying, the items could also be ‘pinned’, using Pinterest to drive the campaign further.

Along with these videos, the campaign was also featured on Asos’s #BestNightEver Page,  and included the three celeb’s personal style picks from Asos, style interviews and ‘Pin it’ buttons..   The campaign resulted in the highest ever ASOS marketing ROI, as well as US ASOS having more than 50% increased searches during the campaign and more than £5m worth of sales in the UK and US.

What made it happen:

They conducted in-depth research about where their target market spends time online and how they are influenced, making sure to plug into those platforms with key influencers.

ESPN: Twitterball

With Twitterball you can forget about half-time chatter – the game must go on. Twitterball  was aired  on ESPN as entertainment during halftime in the Real Madrid versus Borussia Dortmund Champion’s League game. It involved people logging in with Twitter to play a virtual soccer game, with the number of ‘tweets’ sending the ball in a specific direction. More than 75 000 people participated, with the success resulting in it being included as a project for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

What made it happen:

Timing – there’s no better way than to rev spectators up during half time by getting them personally involved.

Dove: Real Beauty Sketches

When mentioning successful social media campaigns, Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches has to be included for topping the list of video ad campaigns. Just a month after its release the video received 114 million total views, making it the most successful video ad campaign to date. The video was uploaded in 25 different languages and was viewed in more than 110 countries.

In the three and six minute clips, women were sketched by an FBI-trained sketch artist after they describe themselves and then sketched again, this time according to the description of a stranger. The results proved that, on average, women tend to think they are less attractive than how others perceive them.

What made it happen:

Oh we can’t deny the power of emotion. Capture a matter close to the human heart in an inspiring way, and you’re guaranteed a response.

Old Spice: The Response Campaign

Old Spice launched the “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad after their sales dropped between 2009 and 2010. The initial campaign featured actor Isaiah Mustafa (the “Old Spice Man”) as he addresses female viewers and lures them with the catch phrase of ‘your man could smell like me’. On the back of that ad, the “The return of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad was released. The third successful ad launch in this campaign came next with “the Response Campaign” – a social media follow-up to the initial ads, which consisted of 183 short comedic videos shot for Old Spice.  These follow-up clips were real-time responses to viewer comments on Twitter, many of them being famous brands or people including Perez Hilton, Ellen DeGeneres and Starbucks.

The campaign has been acclaimed as one of the best social media campaigns, with Old Spice having reached the number one spot for being the most viewed branded channel on YouTube.

What made it happen:

Pause, watch, engage! What put the fresh scent in these campaigns was the fact that Twitter users became personally involved with the clips that were being shot of their responses. If people are personally involved in a campaign, they’re sure to stick with it and follow it. That, and of course, no lady sighed at the idea of having to repeatedly look at “the Old Spice Man”. Sorry guys.

The Metropole: Tweetphony

It ain’t over until the fat lady sings. But what if the music goes silent? The Netherlands Metropole jazz and pop Orchestra were faced with the possibility of an end to their show when the Dutch government threatened to cut down on their funding. Twitter and a genius plan saved the day when they decided to livestream an 8-hour long concert from crowd-sourced compositions. To submit a tune, Twitter users used the Tweetphony website to compose a twitter tune on a virtual keyboard. In order to create compositions, letters associated with notes were used and converted into musical sheets. The best musical Tweets were performed for the concert. The campaign was a huge success and was featured on sites like Upworthy and The Drum. The band has been able to continue their performances after an overruling judgement was made when the government denied further funding.

What made it happen:

Stimulating more than one sense is always a winner, especially if it involves good music. That and the fact that, once again, people had to become personally invested in the campaign by creating their own tunes, resulted in a successful campaign.  

I must be honest; this post was a challenge to compile because of the sheer amount of creative pulsating campaigns out there. And what fun to browse through other people’s genius ideas! Coming out the other end of the creative funnel, I’m very excited to get my lateral-thinking neurons firing. My challenge to digital marketers? It’s time to get out those creative passports! Campaign Land awaits!

About the Author

Marius Badenhorst