Social media: it’s the ‘in thing’ for marketing departments around the world. But not all campaigns are created equal, and the internet is a fickle place. What works for one campaign might not for another, and ideas quickly get stale.
We’re always impressed with creative uses of social media, and this year we’ve seen some incredibly inventive ideas. Keep reading to find out about three of our favourite campaigns of 2009, and one of the worst. Don’t forget to let us know about your favourites in the comments!
IKEA had a neat idea in November when it ran a Facebook competition to promote its new store in Malmö. Store manager Gordon Gustavsson put up a series of photos of the store display areas and got Facebook users to ‘tag’ themselves over items of furniture; the first person to tag an item won it.
Why did we like this?
For a start, it got people to go look at the Facebook page for a furniture shop – not the easiest task. More importantly, users’ news feeds would announce whenever they tagged themselves in photos, thus alerting all of their friends. Many companies have tried to replicate the viral nature of memes on the internet, but usually they come off as cynical or out of touch. IKEA, meanwhile, managed to keep a friendly, personable air about them.
Whether or not the campaign encouraged people to go to the Malmö store – it definitely worked to personalise IKEA in the eyes of customers. In the long term, this is an important goal to have achieved.
Cadbury Creme Egg Twisted
Full disclosure: Cadbury is a client of ours, but unfortunately we didn’t run this campaign!
Cadbury is fast becoming a master of advertising, with their fabulous “Glass and a half of joy” ads (including the famous gorilla and eyebrow-dancing kids). This expertise is now being applied to the world of social media – Cadbury product launches are accompanied by Facebook pages and YouTube videos.
This year, however, the real standout was the Goo On The Loose campaign, supporting Creme Egg Twisted. This involved a number of secret agents, drafted from a previous competition, working to solve clues and post content around the internet in a bid for maximum exposure.
Why did we like this?
Because the secret agents seemed to be having so much fun, which was vital for a campaign for a company such as Cadbury. By solving clues that led to famous landmarks the agents had to make witty videos, photos and blog posts to earn points that could win them £20,000. Further points could be earned by garnering exposure on other websites.
Via these secret agents, the campaign made use of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and various blogs around the internet, and even made it as far as more serious sites such as Mashable.
On the face of it, Gardasil didn’t do anything massively impressive: it set up a Facebook page. However, Gardasil – owned by Merck – is a vaccine for cervical cancer, and the idea that a drugs company might set up a page on Facebook that is honest, informative and useful is (so far) pretty unique.
Why did we like this?
Because Gardasil didn’t mess around and try to be something it isn’t. The Facebook page doesn’t hide behind a veneer of infomercial: it is up-front about being the page of a drug company, and this is refreshing in a world where other companies are still wondering about FDA regulation.
The beauty of the page is that it lets women connect with each other on the subject of cervical cancer, creating a proper health community – one of the first good examples on the internet. Yes, it is ultimately designed to sell a drug, but all of the relevant disclaimers are present and correct, and we think that many other companies – including those outside the pharmaceutical industry – could learn from Gardasil’s example. They should also take a look at Gardasil’s website, which is both pretty and functional.
Toyota ran a live social media pitch from five different marketing companies, each one running competing campaigns. These pitches varied in quality, but undoubtedly the worst came from Saatchi & Saatchi. This campaign, which consisted of a badly-run Facebook page and little else, asked users to create short films that featured a Toyota Yaris.
Why didn’t this work?
Several reasons, the primary one being that no one bothered to sign up for the competition. This left Saatchi & Saatchi in an awkward position, and they tried to save face by sending an email out to contacts in actual production houses – thereby destroying any notion of ‘user generated content’.
The failure was then compounded by the winning entry, which was probably aimed at comedy in a Carry On sort of way. It was sexist, not especially funny and – according to some – carried some distinctly disturbing undertones in the relationship between a father and daughter. Toyota eventually disowned the ad, but by then they had already endorsed it by letting it win the competition.