Businesses of all sizes from everywhere in the world have been attempting to crack the code to a successful viral marketing campaign. While it may seem like social media has only become a key factor in the viral campaign industry over the last several years, social media campaigns date as far back to 1999 with the movie The Blair Witch Project.
We’ve compiled our own list of the Top 5 Social Media Campaigns of All Time. Maybe you can pick up a few tips from these successful marketing strategies:
1. The Blair Witch Project
There may not have been Facebook and Twitter in the summer of 1999 when The Blair Witch Project was released, but these marketers made one of the first ever attempts at a viral marketing campaign. They were able to generate a big buzz for a small budget movie by posting fake newspaper clippings about the disappearance of the movie’s characters on web sites and message boards. Were the events depicted in the movie based on a true story? We will never know.
This campaign sparked interests in the film months before its release, and led to box office earnings of $29 million during its first week alone.
2. Old Spice Spokesman
While the Old Spice slogan “Smell like a man, man” and its TV commercials are successful marketing campaigns on their own, the grooming products company hit gold with their interactive viral social media campaign. Spokesperson Isaiah Mustafa was already popular from their commercials, but Old Spice took it to a new level by interacting with fans via web videos in 2010. Fans submitted questions to Mustafa via Twitter, and the Old Spice spokesman responded to these questions with over 180 web videos. He responded via video to one Twitter user @Alyssa_Milano four times and even sent her flowers.
Talk about increasing audience engagement, am I right?!
3. ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
Perhaps one of the most engaging social media campaigns of its time, the ALS Association generated 70 billion video views and raised $220 million in the summer of 2014. The association raised awareness for ALS by having people dump buckets of ice on their heads and post a video of it on social media, challenging other friends to do the same and donate to the cause. Celebrities from all over got on board with the campaign and posted hilarious videos of themselves participating in the challenge. Amongst the most popular celebrity Ice Bucket Challenges were Justin Bieber, Bill Gates, and Kim Kardashian on the Ellen Degeneres show.
The ALS Association spent no money on promoting this campaign, and was awarded the Facebook for Good award in the Facebook Awards.
4. Always #LikeAGirl
Another 2015 Facebook Awards winner for their viral campaign was the Always #LikeAGirl campaign which raised awareness and confronted gender norms. Their videos called for a change in perceptions of what it means to “act like a girl.” As these videos went viral all over social media, and especially on Facebook, they generated a lot of feedback from their audience and social media users. The feminine hygiene brand increased the emotional connection with their audience and boosted purchase intent. The #LikeAGirl video became the most watched video in Procter & Gamble history with 76 million views.
5. World Wildlife Fund #LastSelfie
And finally a viral social media campaign from 2016, the WWF’s #LastSelfie Snapchat campaign brings awareness to animal species at risk for extinction. The idea behind their campaign was to show audiences that endangered species are disappearing in the world just like selfies disappear from Snapchat in 10 seconds. These vibrant images capturing different endangered animals grab your attention, along with their sad but brutally honest captions that this could be their “last selfie.” The WWF took something everyday like a selfie and used it as a call to action, raising awareness for animal species in danger of going extinct all over the world.
All of these viral campaigns have one thing in common: they thought outside of the box. To create a viral social media campaign, you need to get away from ‘the norm’ and get creative outside of your comfort zone!
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