Every end of year is a good time to reflect on what brands have done right and wrong in social media. While 2013 ended with a glimmer of hope despite some huge blunders, 2014 seems to have witnessed some notable improvements.
Does it mean that the word “mistake” or “fail” will never be used next to the words “social media” again? Not really. Even with the best of intentions, brands are not perfect. But the more proactive they are to make amends and learn important lessons, the better it will be for everyone.
In the meantime, we can always celebrate the successful and inspiring campaigns that have been launched in the last 12 months. There is a lot to learn from them, especially the six in this article.
A.1. Sauce’s Re-branding
This year, A.1. Sauce decided to remove the word “steak” from its name. The idea was to reflect “the dining habits of A.1. fans who enjoy saucing many different foods.” For a product that has been around since the 19th century, that was a bold move.
It had several components, one being “New Friend Requests,” a witty and humorous video released on Facebook and YouTube that plays around the concept of friending and de-friending.
Other parts of the campaign involved two TV commercials “capturing the confident, swaggering attitude of A.1. Sauce fans who do things their own way” and a Pinterest page with boards containing a variety of foods and recipes.
That page did not really take off. However, the video has triggered more than 1.9 million views on YouTube. On Facebook, thousands of people have shared, commented, and liked it. Spotify even joined in the fun!
Takeaway: The most creative campaigns often stand out because of their simplicity. A.1. Sauce clearly knows its audience and the way Facebook works.
April Fool’s Day
April Fools’ Day is an institution for brands. Some do a great job, and others not so much. Here are two companies that definitely are in the first category.
First, LEGO. The toy company went for something that would amuse the entire family on Twitter.
— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) April 1, 2014
And what about Honda’s 2015 Fit Kit campaign (#FitKit), “the first production car you build yourself, in the convenience of your own home”? All 200,000 mechanical parts are delivered by drone!
Takeaway: Humor may be a great tool, but it only works if it fits your brand’s personality and is relevant to your usual messages. And while risks are often involved, don’t forget that your audience is anything but uniform. There are different ages, cultures, and backgrounds to take into account…
UnMarketing’s UnSecret Santa
Scott Stratten’s UnMarketing recently launched its annual UnSecret Santa campaign. The goal of the Facebook-exclusive campaign is to turn Christmas into a good-will event via the use of Amazon wish lists.
At the time of writing this article, the campaign is only 20-hours old. It has already gathered more than 1,095 comments, 250 likes, and 105 shares! According to a friend of mine, many look forward to the event every year.
Takeaway: The holiday season is a time for celebration. We may be busy shopping and enjoy good deals, but we also love brands that care and give more than they take. It’s a fantastic way to build trust and transparency.
By the way, did you notice that UnMarketing doesn’t share its Amazon wish list?
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
If you haven’t heard of the Ice Bucket Challenge, you probably live under a rock.
The campaign had one goal: raise awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord and eventually leads to death. Initially, participants had to donate money to the ALS Association or dump ici water on their heads, and challenge their friends to do the same. They ended up doing everything.
The campaign started in the U.S. but really took off when celebrities and athletes became involved and nominated other celebrities. From Bill Gates to Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Jessica Alba, the challenge united millions of people around the world who posted videos on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.
- 17 million videos shared
- 10 billion views
- 28 million people joined the conversation
- Top 10 countries that took part in the challenge: United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and India
Takeaway: People love challenges that are fun, simple to join, and philanthropic. And if you can involve the right influencers, you will increase the virality potential. Human beings enjoy feeling as though they have “bonded” with their favorite celebrities.
Samsung New Zealand Helps Black Cats
I would like to end this article with my favorite campaign of 2014.
Apparently, 70% of the cats waiting for adoption are black. It’s hard to find them a home because they are… tricky to photograph!
To raise awareness of the issue, Samsung New Zealand partnered with animal photographer Rachael Hale McKenna and the Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Together, they created an instructional video to help people take better photos of black cats with the GALAXY S5, one of its new phones.
Takeaway: A successful product launch requires a smart balance between subtle promotion, emotions, and relevancy. One of the best ways to achieve results is to include entertainment in the mix. Find one fun thing that ties into your brand and use it to add value to the conversation.
Which campaign did you like the most? Are there others that impressed you in 2014?