We posed this question to SMT's Best Thinkers: What was the best social media campaign of the year? As always with this group of experts, their answers were varied and insightful. Please chime in and let us know what you think was the best social campaign of 2014.
Urban Hilton Weiner wasn't a particularly big name before its "pay with a selfie" campaign, but now it's one of the most talked about brands in fashion.
I found the Urban Hilton Weiner's selfie coupon codes campaign to be one of the most creative of the year. Urban Hilton Weiner, a South African clothing brand, launched its one-day-only "pay with a selfie" campaign, and took the fashion brand to a whole new level.
Customers shopping for clothes in-store could post a selfie wearing its clothes and post it on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook using the hashtag #urbanselfie to receive a $10 coupon. And, if Urban thought your selfie was stylish enough, they gave you a $20 coupon. Some people won a lot more money to be put toward an entire wardrobe.
This campaign was truly ingenious and accomplished everything that any retailer would want from a social media initiative -- it encouraged social sharing, showcased pieces of its clothing, and most importantly, resulted in people buying its clothes. In fact, French Connection, Marc Jacobs, and others have launched similar campaigns since. This was a campaign I loved!Honda's #Skeletakeover - where Skeletor, from the 80's kids cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, "took over" Honda's Twitter feed.
The takeover, a promotional vehicle for the Honda CR-V, plays on the emotion adults felt as kids when they got a Skeletor toy for Christmas when they were children. It was fun, it was unexpected, and it raised brand awareness by reaching hundreds of thousands of people through re-tweets, shares and comments.
What's more, Skeletor engaged with consumers. Honda's team was listening out for mentions and replying to questions and notes. There was no hard sales message, no big product push, but the brand association with this campaign will go a long way towards helping Honda sell more units.
But the key element that I really loved? It was all based on the talent of the writer/s involved. Without great creative talent behind it, it could easily have just been another lame gimmick. Quality and execution - that's where it's at.
We saw a ton of creative social efforts this year, some more celebrated than others. The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign was massive across pretty much every major social channel, but there were a lot of business campaigns that were huge hits for the brands.
The themes the most successful campaigns this year had in common were a) that they used video and integrated across other channels, and b) that they tapped into powerful human emotions.
One that comes to mind was the A.1. Steak Sauce social campaign to "consciously uncouple" from steak. In an attempt to broaden its horizons and show people the product could be used with a variety of foods, A.1. released a video about the sauce "breaking up" with steak and changing its relationship status:
Sure, it was cute - but it was also hugely effective, earning them over 1.3 million video views and even some valuable media mentions. They also launched a new Pinterest page campaign to carry over the persona of A.1. getting to know its new friends.
Another great campaign was Snickers' "You're Not You When You're Hungry," which had elements on YouTube, social networks, and television. In one video, the company tapped into the emotion surrounding the misogyny women face in everyday life, and had a group of Australian construction workers yell empowering messages at women in the street. It was unexpected, creative and ultimately earned them over 3.3 million YouTube views and a ton of backlinks and exposure (there are over 24,000 Google results now for the exact title of the video):
These are just a couple of examples and I expect we'll see many more in 2015!
The terrible hostage crisis in Australia had all the ingredients to create a manic backlash against a category of the population. But instead of diving into dangerous overreactions, the Aussies responded strongly with the hashtag #IllRideWithYou , used more than 450,000 times in less than two days:
Rachael Jacobs, a young Brisbane citizen, was spotted as the initiator of this social movement. She shared a Facebook status about a Muslim woman who was scared of the reaction of others over the fact that she was wearing a hijab. Jacobs wrote: "...and the (presumably) Muslim woman sitting next to me on the train silently removes her hijab"; "I ran after her at the train station. I said 'put it back on. I'll walk with u'. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute - then walked off alone."
This was a social firework of solidarity, and a demonstration that the best answer to tragedy can sometimes be found in acts of bravery.
2014 had some really great social marketing campaigns, largely due to the fact that so much happened this year.
The 2014 World Cup was the most tweeted about event in the platform's history, and there were some great branded campaigns during it. Adidas stood out amongst all of the world cup's advertisers with their #allin campaign, largely thanks to its authenticity and its ubiquity.
They succeeded in blending traditional advertising with their social presence, and people actually wanted to engage with this campaign because it was obviously run and directed by people who were fans of the game. It wasn't as though Adidas just tried to latch onto the moments and videos they pushed--they captured the feeling of being a fan pervade their marketing campaign and, as the World Cup had come under scrutiny for becoming a corporate event, that was really important in achieving their monumental, record-breaking reach.
I also really enjoyed the #EverySimpsonsEver campaign that FXX put on. Essentially, the new network, which is a subsidiary of Fox, gained the rights to air the entire back-catalog of The Simpsons. Five hundred and twenty-two episodes, with commercials, were aired in a mega-marathon that lasted 261 hours.
Over the course of the marathon, FXX's social presence buzzed with Q&A sessions, contests, and conversations about the Simpsons. The results were fantastic, with Entertainment Weekly stating that this marathon launched FXX as a viable network, as it had struggled to gain a regular audience until this campaign.
Finally, I think we would be remiss not to mention the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The origins of the challenge are up for debate, but it undoubtedly started as a grass-roots effort to raise awareness for ALS. However, the challenge became a social media monster in 2014, due to coverage by traditional media and the rules of the challenge, which allowed participants to tag their friends and family to participate and/or donate.
More than $100 million was raised for the ALS-association, with other smaller ALS charity groups also benefitting from the challenge. Obviously, the ALSA, along with other ALS groups, supported and fostered this movement, but the fact that it started as a grass-roots campaign shows the power of social marketing to inspire millions to support a great cause.