Throughout the year we have seen outstanding social campaigns that shaped the digital industry. These are campaigns that stood out, grabbed attention, evoked strong emotions and got everyone talking. This is what makes an excellent social media campaign.
Putting together a successful social campaign isn’t easy - you can either nail it completely or miss the mark entirely.
Over the last year brands that effectively related to users and consumers were able to foster a sense of community and therefore drive growth. However, the last twelve months has seen some highly memorable social media fails - with even global brands getting it so wrong that campaigns backfired massively.
Let's take a deeper dive into the top five campaigns that went viral for all the right and wrong reasons - and why you need to be more careful to consider a campaign from all angles when progressing with ideas. We've created an Idea Validation Checklist, so that you can sense-check any potential social and marketing ideas, before it's too late! Make sure to save your own copy of the checklist by going to File, then Make a Copy... and you will be ready to squeeze every bit of value out of those brainstorm sessions!
The festive period is in full swing, Christmas is coming and brands are battling it out on social to become the hot trending topic. British discount store Poundland set out its Christmas social campaign on Twitter - and it's safe to say it certainly didn't go unnoticed.
The campaign, called #ElfBehavingBadly, featured a toy elf posing in a variety of seductive positions while doing questionable things all in the name of Christmas spirit.
In a series of posts, the toy elf was seen drawing a pair of breasts on to an icy car windscreen with the caption: 'Oh Elf, we know it’s nippy outside but not that kind of nippy!'; riding a Christmas bauble while nude - a reference to Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball music video - and playing strip poker with three topless female dolls, to name just a few!
Poundland landed itself in hot water with the Advertising Standing Authority (ASA), who eventually banned the Christmas social campaign due to its explicit content. It was labelled ‘irresponsible’ and received a number of complaints, reported to the Watchdog. In a critical period of the Times Up movement, the campaign's offensive and sexual nature offended women in particular, who weren’t impressed.
Poundland took a risk and created a campaign that sparked outrage - as causing offence must have been taken into consideration when the idea was brought up in the boardroom. Despite some negative press it created a lasting impression on those who found it humorous. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd during the Christmas period, competing against big brands like John Lewis, but Poundland showed it doesn’t need big bucks to leave (some) of the internet laughing. In this case, taking a creative risk went both ways. If they had considered their target audience, the audience of the actual product, and their tone, they could have avoided such huge backlash - but people are still talking about this campaign, regardless of it's inappropriate angle.
Beauty brand Dove landed itself in an unfortunate situation last October when it published an advert on its Facebook page showing a black woman removing her top to reveal a smiling white woman underneath. The short clip was actually part of a much longer video which as a whole wasn’t too bad. But the clip was cut short for social use which was a huge error on Dove's part who clipped it in the wrong place and misconstrued the message.
Obviously Dove didn't intend to offend anyone but the fact that they have some history in this area of insensitive content suggests they've been struggling to convey a clear message to it consumers and public audience - and a clear cut point is necessary in these campaigns, where messages can be misconstrued easily through social. It’s important, when launching a social campaign, to ensure all aspects of its content have been viewed from every perspective. Being able to resonate with your target audience is key; something this next example keeps doing so well.
With the anticipated release of the new season of Game of Thrones, the crew at HBO decided to launch a Facebook live event to announce the premier date. The livestreaming involved people watching a gigantic block of ice melting to reveal the official release date.
Much to the excitement of fans, viewers were able to type ‘FIRE’ in the comments which pelted flamethrowers towards the ice, to give the illusion of it melting faster – so cool! This simple yet powerful tactic generated 2.7 million views on Facebook alone.
The network also debuted an emoji engineer on Twitter by asking its fans to tag the official Game of Thrones Twitter account with the hashtag #WinterisHere and pick an emoji to unlock a series of Season 7 characters. Personalised Twitter emojis have become a huge hit in celebration of events and occasion, so this went down just as well.
If social wasn’t enough to get you talking, who can forget when news broke out that White Walkers were roaming the streets of Central London? Five actors were transformed into White Walkers for the stunt, who somehow managed to cross the wall before advancing to Buckingham Palace…
A major TV show interacting through its main social channels allows fans to be a part of the experience. HBO clearly know what resonates well with their audience; season after season they’ve managed to keep the buzz alive and explore 'beyond the wall'. Some valuable lessons to take away here are to reward your audience whenever you can. By making the most of user-generated content shows how important it is to entertain while informing your audience. It certainly pays to think outside the box - while remaining true to your brand values and audience needs.
It may have been summer in the UK during this promotion but fans were eagerly anticipating winter!
From the upside to the curious world of Eggo and Stranger Things. The 80s, retro styled Netflix sensation has taken the world by storm. To join them on their journey they’ve teamed up with the most popular brand associated with the TV series - Eggo, Kellogg’s waffle brand.
As the frozen waffles are now an essential part of the show's storyline, Netflix have carefully placed the brand in the episodes and worked together to create something amusing and authentic – using social media to build this connection publicly.
The Kellogg brand have since worked with Netflix on many occasions, even taking a Superbowl ad spot at last year's game. The social team at Kellogg are on their game with some of the tweets they’ve posted referencing the hit TV show.
By partnering with another brand to launch a social campaign, you stand to increase your reach greatly. Cross-company promotion is a powerful social media tool and will expose a whole new audience to your brand. You need to ensure your audience and brand values line up with your partner, or else risk potential backlash. However Eggo has certainly embraced and capitalised on its new cultural relevance and has brought a modern day yet retro spin to a classic product.
When creating content it’s important to produce a piece that generates an emotional response. Emotion plays a huge role at major events like the Super Bowl. So, when Proctor and Gamble made an unsexy product desirable at last year's Super Bowl, it was named one of the top five best social media campaigns of 2017 by the Digital Marketing Institute.
The 30 second spot shows a woman instantly attracted to the animated Mr Clean character, who shows off his seductive dance moves as he does the housework.
The brand was also active on Twitter during and after the ad aired, trolling other Super Bowl advertisers and being generally funny:
Taking advantage of a big public event or occasion through teasers and following through on social increases engagement and reach. The video went viral soon afterwards and received 11,700 mentions on Twitter within 60 seconds. P&G's light hearted, flirtatious video went viral for all the right reasons, standing out due to its romantic nature with Valentine's Day soon approaching - and they knew their audience at that moment would eat up this sort of content!
So, what have we learnt?
Keep these points in mind for your next social campaign, and make sure you validate every single one of your ideas to make sure you squeeze every bit of value out of your brainstorm sessions! Remember to download our template and checklist for idea validation, to avoid any potential social media and marketing disasters, and your marketing efforts will be aligned and flying for the rest of 2018.
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