Summer may typically be a slow time for marketing but that hasn't stopped some savvy brands from using this less-competitive time period to launch creative campaigns that stand out. And one of the best ways to get noticed during this marketing lull can be a dynamic social media campaign.
Brands that are smart about leveraging user-generated content are not only driving awareness, but also engagement. But it's not just about the original social content. Fans in turn are also sharing the best user-generated content, effectively acting as ambassadors for their favorite brands.
Here are five creative campaigns that stood out this summer:
New Castle started the summer with a cheeky hit, using brits Stephen Merchant, Zachary Quinto and Elizabeth Hurley to imagine how different and great America would have been if Great Britain won the Revolutionary War. The campaign launched in the week leading up to July 4th, a clever British ambush on the American holiday and beer companies, with 14 witty videos on the microsite Ifwewon.com. The tongue-in-cheek campaign did anger a few people, but that controversy only promoted it further. The entire campaign was a viral success garnering over 5.6 million views across all of the videos.
The movement that has been sweeping the web this summer has people dumping buckets of ice-cold water on themselves. No, not to stay cool, but to raise money and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. The campaign was started by Pete Frates and his former baseball teammates and then spread like wildfire as people challenged their friends on social media to either do the challenge or donate money to the ALS Association. Everyone from Justin Timberlake to Martha Stewart to the city of Boston has participated in the challenge.
In just a few weeks the ALS Association and its 38 chapters have received an astonishing $53 million in donations, compared to $2.2 million during the same time period last year. The campaign has made an incredible impact, adding over 1 million new donors to the association's cause as well as unprecedented visibility for the debilitating disease.
The English Premier League soccer team Southampton FC created a clever social contest this summer to keep fans engaged and active in the offseason. The team placed 500 limited edition numbered soccer balls around town as a scavenger hunt to promote their new home kit. Each ball also had the hashtag #EarnYourStripes and fans were encouraged to take a selfie with the ball to be entered to win the new kit. The team took the campaign a step further and used Snapchat to share vanishing clues of the soccer balls' locations, a perfect use of the application.
The undisputed viral video of the summer was Always' #LikeAGirl video. The powerful video shared the dangerous effect of using the words 'like a girl' can have on adolescent girls' self-confidence and tugged on the heartstrings of viewers. The video immediately spread all over the web with everyone praising the message and sharing the (positive) things they do #likeagirl.
The video was watched an amazing 47 million times in just a few weeks. While that is an incredible number and should be celebrated, the rest of the activation of the campaign fell flat. The landing page on the Always website was sparse with content and limited call-to-actions to use the hashtag. For such an amazing video, the digital activation seems like it could have been much, much more and taken this campaign to a new level.
Rodan & Fields, the creators of Proactiv®, put their customers at the forefront of their marketing efforts this summer with a one-day selfie promotion. On July 25th, they encouraged their fans to take a "naked" no-makeup selfie, and for every selfie that was taken, Rodan & Fields would donate $1 to buildOn to go towards building a school for children in need. Celebrities like LeAnn Rimes got "naked" and all the selfies were aggregated and showcased on a microsite. The one-day campaign saw over 5,000 people take no-makeup selfies and with additional donations from the community, raised over $30,000 to build a school with partner buildOn.
While summer may be marketing's "off-season" don't discount the potential for a big brand win. What was your favorite campaign of the summer?