3 of the best social media campaigns from 2012

When it comes to social media campaigns that catch the eye and tickle creative sensibilities, we’ve been spoilt for choice in 2012. In addition to innovative campaigns like Blu Dot’s ‘Musical Chairs’ or seamlessly integrated above-the-line and digital campaigns like Walkers’ ‘What’s That Flavour?’, there have been technological advances too. We’ve seen the introduction of Shazam in TV ads from Cadbury and Argos – the former using a track to entice the social-media-savvy Britain’s Got Talent crowd to enter their online competition, the latter using the app to cement their new market positioning as a digital retailer. We’ve even seen some head-turning Pinterest campaigns, notably from BMI, Guess Jeans and UNICEF. In short, 2012 has been a virtual smorgasboard of social media delights. Here are three tasty picks for you to savour…

1. Oreo: A daily twist on cookie creative
The ‘Daily Twist’ was a delightfully playful campaign created by Oreo as part of their 100th birthday celebrations. Starting in June 25th and running until October 2nd, Oreo took a cultural event or news item and illustrated it with an Oreo biscuit, every day, for 100 consecutive days. For the first Daily Twist on June 25, Gay Pride took centre stage with an Oreo with rainbow-colored buttercream. Interestingly, not all the attention it received was positive – the pro-gay ad prompted a backlash by Christian radical groups on Facebook who attempted to rally support for a biscuit boycott.

Undeterred, the campaign continued with some delicious creative; Curiosity’s landing on Mars on August 5th was memoralised with tire treads on red buttercream, and July 4th was celebrated with animated cookies exploding into fireworks. Twists were posted on their Facebook page, Twitter feed and the Daily Twist Pinterest board.

A crowd-sourced final twist

The grand finale of the campaign happened on October 2nd with a live, crowd-sourced ’twist’. Oreo set up a temporary ad agency in Times Square, and took suggestions for the last ad from their Facebook and Twitter fans. Those suggestions were narrowed down to a final three and creatives from agencies Draftcb and 360i whipped up the ads there and then. The finalists were broadcast live on a Times Square billboard, on Twitter and on the Oreo Facebook page.

One finalist celebrated the original Twilight Zone series, which premiered on Oct. 2, 1959. The second made reference to a current news story suggesting warp drive might be possible, but it was the anniversary of the first high five—supposedly between Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Oct. 2, 1977 – that won the hearts of voters.

Happiness is…

Conceptually strong and executionally brilliant, the 100 day campaign received plaudits from the creative community and most importantly, drove a huge increase in interaction with Oreo’s customers, and in particular, their Facebook fans. “Engagement with those Facebook posts increased 110 percent on average, which is huge,” Cindy Chen, director of marketing for Oreo, told Adweek.

So what was it about this campaign that captured the imagination so well? Was it its clean design? Relevancy? Charming, childlike humour? Jill Applebaum, creative director at Draftfcb, the CD of one of the creative agencies working on the twists believes it tapped into something more basic, “There’s so much bad news out there all the time,” she said, “Through the Oreo filter, we get to deliver a piece of happiness, a piece of kid-like delight. I think people just feel joy when they see it.”

I think she’s got a point. Cookies always make me happy.

2. Topshop creates a Unique Collection – October
This September Topshop took London Fashion Week by storm by streaming its Spring Summer 2013 catwalk show live and promising fans an unprecedented level of interactivity. It delivered. The event, Topshop Unique, was designed to encourage viewers to personalise and share aspects of the experience as it took place in real time in London’s Bedford Square. Accessible via their website, Twitter feed and Facebook page, fans were directed to a landing page where they could enjoy a number of exclusive features that would get them closer to the action.

Customise… then evangalised
The site functionality included ‘Customise the Catwalk’, where fans could not only select and order key looks and accessories, but also change the colour of products to their preferred option before pulling the trigger on a purchase. Garments ordered directly from the runway were made available exclusively for Topshop devotees three months ahead of industry lead times. That’s a brand dangling a diamond-encrusted carrot to their loyal army of die-hard fashionistas, with the added advantage of providing an invaluable insight into potential best sellers before the collection is available for general sale. Very smart.

As part of this campaign, Topshop partnered with Facebook to develop a ‘Shoot the Show’ function, a camera button embedded within the livestream window that let viewers take shots of their favourite looks. They were then invited to share the photos on their timeline, with friends and the wider community. As Topshop has over 2.6 million Facebook fans creating an intuitive feature that monopolised their fans love of fashion and all-things social was a real masterstroke.

Twitterwas in the mix too with @Topshop followers challenged to review the show in 140 characters in a ‘Fashion Tweet-off’ for the chance to win VIP tickets to attend the next catwalk show. In addition, the collection was showcased on Pinterest, all the tracks featured in the show were available to download directly from the site, and the beauty products worn by the models were available to buy online with online tutorials from make-up artists featured on the Topshop YouTube channel. A truly integrated digital campaign.


Social entertainment

Topshop’s CMO Justin Cooke, former vice president of PR at Burberry, talked about the benefits of the Unique campaign both for their customers and their brand: This show is all about the customer and creating what we call ‘social entertainment’ around our product. We want to take the energy and the excitement of our iconic Oxford street store to millions of people all over the world through Topshop.com. It’s social, it’s commerce and it’s entertainment all rolled into one.”

This is not customer engagement for the sake of this – it’s for a purpose. The whole Unique campaign was part of an evolving, intelligent, tailored communication strategy.

“By putting our customers in control of the live experience, they show us what they love, how they want to consume information, the ways they like to share and more,” Cooke says. “We will be able to measure the engagement of the customisation pieces against the other looks and see exactly what it is that makes customers want to spend time with specific elements of the experience, and we will also have tremendous insight into the colours that they want, which is very powerful for a company that delivers newness at a speed that very few others can.”

3. Marmite: A social media campaign to love… or hate

This Christmas, London’s Oxford Street played host to the first ever interactive Christmas lights installation created by Marmite and powered by social media. To promote its limited edition Gold Christmas jar (with sparkly gold Marmite no less), the brand has extended its Love it or Hate it above-the-line campaign to get their Facebook fans involved in a bit of festive fun.


Your face in lights on Facebook

Via the brand’s Facebook site, fans submitted a picture of themselves wearing an expression of love or hate and could see it displayed on a specially designed digital banner hanging above Oxford Street by Selfridges. Participants were given an allotted time slot when their image would feature in the digital Christmas decorations – and you didn’t have to brave the
Christmas chaos on Oxford Street to enjoy your fifteen minutes – those who couldn’t make it down to the capital could see their “face in lights” via a live webcam and an online gallery on Facebook.

Ok, so this campaign may not be as sophisticated either creatively or strategically as the other two featured, but because of its pure silliness and simplicity I love it… unlike Marmite… which I bloody hate.

Red C produce a Social Media Wow Book that features some of the most impressive social media campaigns we’ve found. You can download the latest copy here.