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Written by: Tom Layfield
Social Media Marketing is in full swing nowadays, and almost all of the world’s top brands are utilising it in one way or another. The campaigns aren’t always the easiest to execute (and sometimes go bad, although that’s another blog post), but if done correctly they have the potential to generate a massive return on investment. Here we look at a rundown of the ten best social media marketing campaigns of all time:
Dunkin’ Donuts came up with an awesome campaign to promote the launch of their Coolatta beverages – a sweepstakes where Dunkin’ Donuts Facebook fans could upload a photo of themselves with a Coolatta beverage to Facebook and automatically be entered into a daily giveaway. The relatively low cost campaign built up their social network following, increased brand & product recognition with the mass of Coolatta-related images flying around the web, and obviously encouraged people to buy their iced-coffee drink too.
Although these kinds of campaigns certainly aren’t rare nowadays, this was one of the first of it’s kind, which is why I think it deserves a space in the Top Ten. Dunkin’ Donuts still have a strong Facebook presence to this day, and run a similar ongoing campaign called Fan of the Week.
Google did something very uncharacteristic of the search giants on February 2010 and ran a TV advertisement campaign entitled ‘Parisian Love’ in the advertising break of the 44th annual Superbowl. The ad demonstrated some of Google’s many search-based features, and was based around somebody debating whether to move to France to meet up with a lover. The ad definitely generated a lot of buzz, and stocks rose almost instantly, but was it worth an estimated $5,000,000 price tag for the 53 second slot? Who knows, although the company was last valued at $153.4 billion, so it’s not as if they’re short of the cash.
Google later capitalised on the buzz surrounding its Parisian Love campaign by launching a Search Stories mini-site, where users can create and share their own Superbowl-style advertisement.
Dove’s viral video ‘Dove Evolution’ was part of its ‘Campaign For Real Beauty’ launched in 2006, and was the first purpose-built viral video to make a real impact on a marketing campaign for the company. The video features model Stephanie Betts being given a makeover then later being photoshopped, and is supposed to highlight how our perception of beauty is distorted. The video managed to acquire over 11,400,000 views on YouTube, and it has been estimated that it brought in a massive $150,000,000 worth of exposure for the company. Not bad.
The video also managed to inspire a number of spin-off videos, most notably ‘Slob Evolution‘, which went on to be nominated for many prestigious awards, such as a Daytime Emmy and Webby award.
My Starbucks Idea is an excellent example of crowd-sourcing quality information for the purpose of business development. The great thing about this campaign isn’t just that they acquired (and continue to acquire) a huge amount of business ideas for free, but that they’re also generating brand awareness and customer engagement as a bi-product. And just imagine how happy it would make that special someone who got their idea implemented? Priceless. Here are a few of the ideas that made it:
Evian launched its ‘Roller Babies’ video in July 2009 as part of it’s ‘Live Young’ campaign, and instantly gained success. The video notched up 27,000,000 views on the official YouTube video, and an estimated 61,000,000 views across the web in total, making it the most popular online advertisement ever. What Evian are most proud of though, is the videos ability to inspire conversation – research shows that over 80% of people who watched the clip in either France or America considered discussing it, and over 65% wanted to share it.
The most interesting aspect of Nielsen’s research though, was the fact that 95% of the people in France (one of the countries where the advertisement was first launched) who viewed the video online had not seen the ad on TV. This statistic really cemented the need for online video to run alongside – and possibly even replace – traditional media channels.
In probably the most noble campaign in our top ten, Everywhere, a social media communications and content company based in Atlanta, Georgia, launched a campaign to raise money for various non-profit cancer organisations. The campaign was based around the idea that #BeatCancer’s sponsors – eBay/Paypal & MillerCoors Brewing Company – would donate $0.01 to charity for every time the hash tag ‘#BeatCancer’ was mentioned on either a blog post, Tweet or Facebook status update. The campaign earned over $70,000 for various charities, and really showed that it’s possible to do something amazing with social media.
‘Will it Blend?’ has been going for 3 years now, and is still generating buzz around Blendtec’s products. There’s no doubt that it was (and still is) a successful marketing campaign – it won .Net Magazine’s 2007 Viral Video campaign of the year, the Bronze level Clio Award for Viral Video in 2008, and was also nominated for the 2007 YouTube award for Best Series. Currently, the Will It Blend? series has gathered more than 100,000,000 hits, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon.
It’s been well documented that Social Media was a huge part of Obama’s election campaign, and that can be backed up by some fascinating statistics regarding what the campaign achieved:
It’s also interesting to compare Obama’s Social Media campaign to that of his nearest rival, John McCain. For example: On election day Obama had 3,000,000 Facebook supporters opposed to McCain’s 600,000, 859,000 MySpace friends opposed to McCain’s 319,000, 115,623 Twitter followers opposed to McCain’s 4,911 and 117,873 YouTube subscribers as opposed to McCain’s 2,902. To sum it up, he absolutely destroyed McCain on every major social media platform, and maybe – just maybe – that’s what gave him the edge in the election.
The UK-based car insurance comparison site Compare the Market launched its legendary Compare the Meerkat TV campaign in early 2009. The campaign was based around ‘Aleksandr’, owner of Compare the Meerkat, who was getting rather annoyed with people getting mixed up between Compare the Meerkat and Compare the Market, so decided to launch a campaign to inform people of the differences between the two. The campaign went viral in the offline space almost immediately, and the online world wasn’t far behind when the Compare the Meerkat mini-site was launched along with Aleksandr’s Twitter account.
In my opinion, the Compare the Meerkat campaign was the most innovative out of the top 10 – the virality of the content is second to none; I can’t count the amount of people who have asked me if I’ve seen the advert, or reciting any one of the numerous catchphrases associated with it. The real power comes from how the campaign is so closely linked to the Compare the Market brand, though – Excellent viral content + Heavy brand association = successful marketing campaign. Simples.
Yeah, yeah – I know it’s so cliché, and I really was going to put it at number two just to be different, but there are just too many reasons why the Old Spice YouTube campaign was the best of all time. Let’s look at a few of them:
Amazing, huh? Sure, a 107% increase in short-term sales is an insanely good return for a marketing campaign, but you really don’t appreciate how good it is until you have a think about the ROI. You see, this particular Old Spice campaign didn’t require a $5,000,000 ad spot, a $8,000,000 celebrity paycheck, or a $15,550,000 video campaign – it’s estimated that the campaign cost a very modest $250,000 to run. Sadly it’s still too early to calculate the actual ROI of the campaign, but you can bet your bottom dollar that it’s going to be positive.
Thanks for reading! If you think that there’s a campaign that deserves to be in the top 10 that isn’t, please post it in a the comments below.
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