The Best Social Media Campaigns Of All Time

By Fadi George

The Best Social Media Campaigns of 2014

DHL: The Trojan Mailing Campaign

Date: Feb 18/2014 Agency on Record: Jung von Matt/Neckar, Stuttgart, Germany

This campaign is genius. By using thermal activated tape, DHL was able to disguise advertisements as plain black boxes. They then hired the competition to deliver the boxes to locations all over the city. Once the boxes were exposed to normal atmospheric conditions, the thermal tape exposed the truth. The boxes were big advertisements for DHL. The video has generated 41k FB shares to date and has generate 5.3M minutes of watched video.

Buy My Volvo

Date: May 11, 2014 Agency Person on Record: Castor

Epic social media campaigns aren't reserved to the big agencies. This campaign by Castor, creative director of Colibri, is for his used 1993 Volvo 245GL. To date the video has been watched 1.8M times, and has been shared or liked on Facebook 35,000 times. The video has received a staggering 11,000/198 likes/dislikes ratio. Probably the most important metric of all, the car sold.

A.1. Sauce: New Friend Requests

Date: May 14, 2014 Agency on Record: CP+B

When Kraft decided to drop the "steak" from "A.1. Steak Sauce" they needed a way to raise awareness about it. The food manufacturer turned to Boulder-based creative agency CP+B to help A.1. update the sauce's relationship status with steak. This YT spot they created resulted in 1.4M views which soaked up 1.6M minutes of YouTube viewing time. That's more than a minute/view on average. To date the video has been liked or shared on Facebook over 6,000 times.

Coca-Cola: Friendly Twist

Date: May 19, 2014 Agency on Record: Leo Burnett, Columbia

All over the world, the first day of college is very similar. Shy students shuffle about, looking for their next classes. Nobody knows anybody, but everybody wants to make new friends. All they need is an icebreaker.

Leo Burnett Columbia put a "twist" on the first day of college with this brilliant campaign for Coca-Cola. They set the stage with a bright red fridge stocked full of free (?) Cokes. Only they created a smart cap, that prevented the students from being able to open the bottle -- alone. In order to refresh their thirst, the students needed to pair up with another person and user two bottles to unlock each other. Coca-Cola? Friendships.

The video they produced for the campaign has generated 9M views to date, drove 5,000+ subscriptions to the Coca-Cola YouTube channel, and has generated 160,000 likes and shares on Facebook. Proving that positive emotion plays (see what I did there), the video has a staggering 30/1 like to dislike ratio.

Fiskers: Dear Kitten

Date: Jun 5, 2014 Agency on Record: Buzzfeed?

When cat-food creater Fiskers wanted to create a new content marketing campaign, they went with the SME of internet cat content. Fiskers hired Buzzfeed to create this advertorial content featuring a wise older cat mentoring a younger kitten. Needless to say its adorable. Surprisingly its relevant. Cats for cats sake is a marketing disconnect. But when it makes sense? Social media gold. To date the video has racked up 20M views, and generated 42M minutes of watched video. That's an average watch time of over 2 minutes per viewer. In 7 months the video has generated over 300,000 Facebook likes and shares.

Dove Men + Care: Real Dad Moments

Date: Jun 9, 2014 Agency on Record: Unknown with help from Edelman Berland

In order to create this Dove Men + Care commercial successful, Dove's parent company Unilever partnered with market research firm Edelman Berland to survey over 1,000 dads about what it means to be a parent. According to the survey a strong majority of fathers are involved in their childrens lives because they want to be. An even larger majority is proud to be a strong presence in their childrens lives. Despite this, 3 out of 5 dads say that the media portrays them negatively and 3 out of 5 also believe that the media makes light of what it means to be a father.

All this research paid off in results. Dove Men + Care: Real Dad Moments has generated over 12M views on YouTube and has been watched for more than 10M minutes. The video has received 230,000 combined Facebook likes + shares.

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Verizon: Inspire Her Mind

Date: Jun 2, 2014 Agency on Record: AKQA

Verizon partnered with AKQA to create this heartfelt spot. The ad hopes to remind viewers that girls aren't just pretty, they are "pretty brilliant too." The ad is a partnership with the Verizon Foundation and features Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code.

The spot does more than serve as a PSA to encourage girls to be more active in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), but also earned great numbers. The video was embedded in 822 places online, and was watched over 4M times. It generated over 70,000 combined Facebook likes + shares.

Uber: Newest Uber Driver - Optimus Prime

Date: Jun 16, 2014 Agency on Record: Internal + Paramount Pictures

To build hype for Uber and the upcoming Transforms: Age of Extinction, the ride sharing giant collaborated with Paramount Pictures (and General Motors). Uber made it possible for users to request a ride in Optimus Prime (in his car form) a recently remade semi-truck.

Since there is only one Optimus Prime and there were a lot of demand to ride in the super-hero, Uber limited rides to 15 minutes or less. The blog post generated over 203 links from over 110 unique root domains, and over 2,800 shares on Facebook. The corresponding Mashable post covering the stunt generated over 17,000 shares. VentureBeat broke the story which generated over 300 shares and 70 backlinks.

HelloFlo: First Moon Party

Date: Jun 17, 2014 Agency on Record: Internal

HelloFlo is no stranger to this list, from their initial launch video in 2013, this one is no exception. Dubbed the "First Moon Party" the video tackles the nuances of transitioning from a girl to a woman with grace.

The internal video was watched over 30M times, with an average watch time of just under 2:00m. It was shared, liked, or commented on Facebook nearly 300,000 times. Proving that big brand numbers can be achieved by nimble internal teams.

Google + Manchester United: The Front Row Story

Date: Mar 27, 2014 Agency on Record: Internal

Technology allows us to untie our experiences from our physical identities. Social networks have created the possibility for people all over the world to share experiences. This motivated Google to use Hangouts to provide a front-row seat for Manchester United fans that wouldn't otherwise be able to attend.

Google made the experience possible by taking over the on-field adverting screens, typically used to deliver rotating static creatives. The internet giant then displayed the "Front Row Teams" faces via Google Hangouts, so that they could be in the front row, cheering on their "home" team.

The follow-up video generated 1 million views, and the average viewer watched the coverage for at least a minute.

Always: Like a Girl

Date: Jun 26, 2014 Agency on Record: Leo Burnett Chicago, London, and Toronto with help by Research Now

Always' Like a Girl campaign is another gender-empowering spot. This time from P&G's Always brand, instead of Dove, the video is supported by market research by Research Now.

The video features two sets of females, both pre (children) and post (adults) puberty asked to act out a series of actions, "like a girl." As you might expect, the adult females lack coordination, grace, and effort. The younger set behaves completely differently, moving with purpose as they carry out what is asked of them.

Using #LikeAGirl as an insult is a hard knock against any adolescent girl. And since the rest of puberty's really no picnic either, it's easy to see what a huge impact it can have on a girl's self-confidence.
We're kicking off an epic battle to make sure that girls everywhere keep their confidence throughout puberty and beyond, and making a start by showing them that doing it #LikeAGirl is an awesome thing.

~ Always YouTube Channel

To date the campaign has generated 54 million views, with an average view time over 2 minutes. The spot has been liked, shared, or commented on Facebook over a million times. Thats a lot of powerful, positive, discussion, all centered around the P&G brand.

Hyundai: The Empty Car Convoy

Date: Jun 25, 2014 Agency on Record: The Viral Factory

A remote desert location, a whole bunch of gopros, a car company, and an impossible sounding stunt, . It worked last year with the epic Volvo Spilt's spot, so Hyundai and the Viral Factory went for it again this year.

The spot features a caravan of 5 new Hyundais equipped with "Caring Driver Assist Features" and demonstrate them. By demonstrate them, I mean jumping out of the auto-piloted cars onto a moving semi-truck, and letting the entire caravan stop itself, in its lane, on the front car's queue.

To date, the ad has generated nearly 40K FB likes and shares, and has been watched 12M times.

Ikea PS: Instagram Website

Date: Jul, 2014 Agency on Record: Instinct, Russia

Ikea worked with its Russian agency on this ingenious campaign to hack Instagram. Hang on, this gets a little complicated. Ikea created a separate instagram user for Ikea's new PS 2014 designer collection. Each image in the account was organized to display correctly on the parent account.

Using Instagram's tagging feature, they then created an interactive menu, where the user could click through to each product in the collection. These separate projects got their own accounts as well, and consumers could use the accounts to tag their own pieces of furniture. This user generated content allowed the instagram "catalog" to be extended indefinitely.

ALS: Ice Bucket Challenge

Date: August, 2014 Agency on Record: Organic/NA

The clear winner of the internet for 2014 was the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. More difficult to quantify than a single YouTube video or campaign, this "campaign" was massive. Some sources peg the number of videos uploaded to Facebook as 2.4 million. Participants were mostly regular people, however there was a show of participation from a large number of celebrities.

Despite the "silliness" the social media campaign increased awareness for ALS, more commonly referred to as Lou Gerhig's disease. Visits to the ALS Wikipedia page soared from 163k views to nearly 2.9M in August, with similar increase in views on international versions of the site.

The campaign impacted much more than awareness for the disease. According to the New York Times the ALS Association received $49M between July 29 and August 20, doubling the $19.4M the ALS Association received in all of 2013. By the end of the month the ALS Association announced that donations exceeded $100 M.

Neighboring associations saw an increase in donations as well, with the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the ALS Foundation Netherlands, and Project ALS all reporting significant boosts to donations.

Ikea: Experience the Power of a BookBook

Date: Sep 3, 2014 Agency on Record: BBH Singapore

Another classic from the marketing video cookbook: "making fun of Apple with a physical product." This one comes out of Ikea via agency BBH. The video features Ikea's "Chief Design Guru" sitting in front of a white screen, talking in a soothing voice.

Its a good tongue-in-cheek reminder that furniture's roots are in design, and true students of design study Frank Lloyd Wright, and The Eames, and Mies. Personally I think the cider spot from last year (read on) did a better job poking fun at jobs, but this one was good.

The video generated soaked up 23M of viewers time, and was shared or liked on Facebook over 350k times, proving once again, if it aint broke, dont fix it.

Air New Zealand: The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made

Date: Oct 22, 2014 Agency on Record: True Auckland

Air New Zealand, in partnership with True Auckland creative agency, set out to create the most epic safety video ever made. I'm not sure if they succeeded (how is that measured?) but they sure came close. The promotional video, which doubles as a safety video for in-flight passengers (or is it the other way around), was built in collaboration with many of the stars of The Hobbit.

The video features actors Elijah Wood, Dean O'Gorman, Sylvester McCoy (Frodo, Fili the Dwarf, and Radagast, respectively) in addition to Sir Peter Jackson, the creator of the Hobbit Trilogy and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

To date, the video has generated nearly 400k FB Likes and Shares, and over 24,000 Tweets.

Diet Coke: Millions of One of a Kind Bottles

Date: Oct, 2014 Agency on Record: Gefen Team, Israel

Coke got personal in 2014. First it rolled out 250 personalized labels with people's names on it. 250 unique labels sounds daunting to me, but I wasn't a packaging major. Coke disagreed. They set out to raise the bar to a near unmatchable height.

Thats why they partnered with Gefen Team, Q-Digital and HP Indigo to create over 2 million unique labels for their Coke bottles.

The campaign was created to communicate that "Diet Coke lovers are extraordinary by creating unique one-of-a-kind extraordinary bottles," said Alan Zamir, VP of marketing for Coca-Cola Israel. It is difficult to quantify the results of such a campaign, but the Adweek article generated over 70k shares on Facebook, and it is safe to say that they generated at least 2 million impressions.

Chevrolet: Rikk Wilde Response

Date: Oct 29, 2014 Agency on Record: Internal

They say that more people are afraid of speaking in public than death itself. That means that if you are tasked with speaking to the televised crowd of MLB World Series you are likely going to be pretty nervous.

That was at least the case for Chevrolet spokesperson Rick Wilde who was tasked with presenting the 2014 MLB Chevrolet MVP award (a 2015 Chevy Colorado) to the World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner. During the super-awkward presentation, Wilde announced that the track is full of "technology and stuff."

The incident immediately created a social media surge, featuring the hashtag #technologyandstuff. Quick to make lemonade out of a lemon chevrolet graciously defended Wilde as the right choice to present the award, and spun the whole thing into a positive campaign.


“Having Rikk do the presentation is easy to second guess now,” said Terry Rhadigan, GM’s executive director of product and communication . “But Rikk’s our guy in Kansas City. We’ve always had a brand representative present the car or truck to the MVP.”

Chevrolet definitely gets the 2014 World Series MVP of Social Media Campaigns for being a team player.

 The Best Social Media Campaigns of 2013

Lay's Potato Chips - Do Us a Flavor (Sriracha, Chicken & Waffles and Cheesy Garlic Bread)

Date: 02/13 AOR: Energy BBDO, Xi Chicago

“Do Us A Flavor” invited users to submit ideas for a new potato chip flavor on the Lay’s Facebook page. Lay’s saw everything from Bacon Jalapeño to Grilled Cheese. The three best flavors were actually sold in stores, and fans could vote on their favorite so it could stay on shelves permanently.

By the end of the campaign Do Us A Flavor had generated:

  • 3.8 million submissions.
  • 4.9 billion PR impressions.
  • Over 1 billion fb impressions.
  • 12% increase in sales.

It's impressive that Frito Lay’s was willing to take a risk of that magnitude, and it paid off tremendously.

Somersby Cidar - The Somersby Store

Date: 3/25/13 Agency on Record: Fold7

Fold7 did a great job timing the release of their apple cider client’s campaign during the peak of Apple’s spring excitement. The original spot premiered during a primetime England football match. The campaign went on to generate over 1 million impressions in the first month.

Dove - Real Beauty Sketches

Date: 4/14/13 Agency on Record: Ogilvy & Mather

Dove’s Real Beauty campaign initially launched in 2006 and has been making waves ever since. In the spring of 2013 Ogilvy added another success to it’s stable with this Dove: Real Beauty Sketches short film.

The video generated nearly 60 million impressions for the Dove brand in the first 60 days. The short then went on to earn Ogilvy the Titanium Grand Prix at Cannes Lions in addition to an Integrated Gold Lion.

Hello Flo - The Camp Gyno

Date: 7/28/13 Agency on Record: Internal

The fact that Hello Flo created this campaign internally is truly impressive. Subscription box provider Hello Flo gained instant social presence with their ability to delicately navigate sensitive subject matter with humor and endearment. The long-form spot generated an impressive 6.5 million views and 25,000 upvotes to date.

Guinness - Friendship

Date: 9/3/13 Agency on Record: BBDO New York

Campaigns evoking positive emotions did very well in 2013 and this wonderful 60-second spot for Guinness was no exception. Created by BBDO New York, the spot dominated all other beer commercials in the 3rd quarter of 2013 according to Ace Metrix. The brand scored 30 percent higher than it’s competitors during the quarter.

Chipotle - The Scarecrow

Date: 9/11/13 Agency on Record: CAA Marketing/Moonbot Studios

Chipotle, took it’s successful creative formula of creepy song cover, animated short and powerful message about food to another level in their 2013 campaign 'The Scarecrow.' The campaign features a powerful animated video featuring Fiona Apple’s cover of Pure Imagination. The video (which generated over 10 million views to date) was just the start.

Creative agency Moonbot Studios worked with CAA Marketing and Chipotle to create The Scarecrow game, available on Android and iOS, which has since generated a 4 star rating accross 172 reviews.

Go Pro - Fireman Saves Kitten's Life

Date: 9/25/13 Agency on Record: Internal

This ad, created by GoPro from an original video produced by Vegan Films, completely won the internet the week it was released. The video surpassed the next best brand spot by 12 million views. It’s no surprise really, because kittens.

Volvo Trucks - The Epic Split

Date: 11/13/13 Agency on Record: Forsman Bodenfors

Who says B2B can’t do social? Volvo Trucks took months planning this Jean Claude Van-Damme/Enya spot and it paid off tremendously. The campaign has generated over 1.3 million Facebook Likes to date, and over 61 million views on YouTube. That’s more likes than some of our top campaigns have views.

Westjet - Christmas Miracle

Date: 12/8/13 Agency on Record: Studio M

It seems that this Toronto based airline company wanted the holidays all to itself. What this campaign lacks in big-budget production value, it more than makes up for in spirit. Canadian airline carrier Westjet teamed up with the agency Studio M for this successful spot. The campaign already has over 3 million views since launching 11 days ago and is on track to hit 1 million facebook likes by Christmas.

Coca Cola Life - Parenting

Date: 12/3/13 Agency on Record: Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi/Santo Buenos Aires

This international spot for Coca Cola Life in Argentina has been captivating the social media airwaves since it launched a couple weeks ago. It’s no surprise, videos evoking strong positive emotions have done well all year. So far this video has generated over 4 million views, or about 5,000% better than Santo’s average of 840 views/video.

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Tags: Social Media

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