— June 20, 2018
As we are halfway through 2018 it seems a little early to be thinking of ‘best of’ lists. The last year was pretty good, as it happens, so we thought we’d have a little crawl through it, and see which campaigns really inspired us.
The first one on the list? A rather unique and lucky entry by one of the few brands that really doesn’t have to rely on luck.
The brand is solid (even bearing in mind some unfortunate events in the UK recently) and has no need to work hard on it’s Twitter account. It’s locked down.
However, the KFC Twitter account is about as meta as it could possibly ever be. You know where big brands only follow a few other accounts? It’s kind of about exclusivity, and the unique place the brand owns in modern culture.
KFC follows 11 people on Twitter. The 11 people include all the Spice girls and 5 guys who are named Herb. In late 2017 a Twitter user spotted that this meant the brand followed five spices and 6 herbs, which neatly matched it’s boast of having a secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices.
A funny joke, but no one spotted it, until someone did. In October last year a guy tweeted that he’d just worked out the sly joke and the whole thing went viral. As if to reaffirm that they didn’t really worry about marketing too much a KFC spokesman went on record saying that they just ‘put it out there’ in a hope that it would become popular as an idea.
It gained almost 2000 comments.
.@KFC follows 11 people.
Those 11 people? 5 Spice Girls and 6 guys named Herb.
11 Herbs & Spices. I need time to process this.
— (@edgette22) October 19, 2017
Other successful social media campaigns in 2017 included one that kind of took over Instagram with a hashtag that cleverly mixed Instagram with a noble and powerful idea..
The #Realstagram campaign
This was more of a movement, but it showcased the best bits about social media, including hashtag use and a comment on one of the failings of social media culture.
Kaitlyn Bristowe is an Influencer, and she used her influence for good. Essentially, she wanted to show young people that the images and the airbrushed campaigns on Instagram were not reality,and that ‘being beautiful’ meant being yourself.
So the whole thing kicked off a bunch of other Influencers and celebrities, all of them wearing no makeup and without filters. It is testament to the power of a hashtag, and a timely reminder of the value of respect in a year that seriously lacked it.
Wix and audience participation
Wix make websites very quickly and very efficiently. A number of small businesses and freelancers swear it’s the best thing that ever happened to them.
They pulled off an amazing social media campaign right at the start of 2017 during Super Bowl time. Running up to the big game, they stuck a football helmet in a block of ice every day. Then they pointed fire at it and melted the block. When the helmet fell out, someone won $ 10,000.
This carried on all the way to the day of the game, when $ 50,000 could be won. It was all very exciting stuff, and the best thing about it was the idea of a competition being taken to the ‘nth’ level.
And the whole thing was done via Facebook Live, culminating in a hip Superbowl TV ad on game day.
Another hashtag, in a year that was full of important movements and people owning up to their issues. However, this one was all about the hurricane in Puerto Rico, and a load of celebrities posting photos of their puberty years (awkward and embarrassing in the main, for all of us) to raise money for the relief effort.
It was great fun, and it was simple. The campaign was clear evidence that if an idea resonates with people, then it will fly, and if you’re lucky it will help people too.
Huge fast food giant in the US, and also a brand that doesn’t really need to do anything other than be cool. But it decided to go a little further and ran a Snapchat (yes, brands use it) campaign around the Cinco De Mayo holiday. The campaign produced a filter that actually allowed a user to become a taco by planting a taco on top of their face.
If it seems weird, it is weird. However, the whole thing went ‘meta’ on users by having the campaign run for one day only. If it hasn’t sunk in yet, that decision was very cool. Why? Because Snapchat is known as a temporary, fleeting platform. The one-day thing worked a treat.
It became the most viewed Snapchat lens ever, with 224 million views on the day.
So why were these the most effective social media campaigns?
First of all, they worked. A marketing aim (except, perhaps, for the sheer fluke of KFC’s work) was stated, a team or individual ran with it, and the result was achieved. Even the #Realstagram campaign had an aim of raising awareness.
They were also effective because they simply capitalized on an aspect of social media that showed a certain amount of savvy. Knowing the power of hashtags and how to use them with an audience is intelligent. Understanding how a lens can create an instant buzz shows great social media understanding.
And one effective social media campaign you probably weren’t aware of…
Uber. And Singapore.
Uber did not have a great year, let’s be honest. But they are good at the mission thing. And in 2017 they managed to take a giant step towards their goal of reducing traffic congestion in Singapore.
There’s a trend in Singapore known as ‘the chope’, where people reserve seats on transport by leaving a tissue packet in the required spot.
Uber placed giant tissue packets in parking bays around Singapore, basically ‘choping’ (we think that’s a word) car travel spaces. It was genius. Take a look at it and feel amazed.