We're only halfway through 2013, and already some seriously impressive social media campaigns have graced our screens. From Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest to Vine, some brands are really starting to get the hang of what running a social media campaign should entail. And ideas continue to be unique and engaging. That's impressive!
That said, there is evidence that some brands are still struggling to anticipate when a social media campaigns might go awry. We've seen our share of those moments as well over the past six months.
In this article, I'll present just a few of my favorite social campaigns of 2013 so far, along with one unfortunate mishap.
What would you add to the ongoing 2013 best and worst lists?
Water is Life: "Hashtag Killer"
Most of us are familiar with the #firstworldproblems hashtag. You know, the one you use when you tweet about trivial life afflictions such as your iPhone 5 not updating quickly enough or your Uber driver not arriving within the designated two minutes. Well, charity organization Water is Life set out to kill this hashtag and, in turn, raise awareness about serious developing world issues.
Water is Life began the campaign by creating an anthem commercial that features Haitians reciting some of the tweets that included the #firstworldproblems hashtag.
Perhaps what was even more powerful was when the Haitians actually consoled those who were tweeting using the hashtag: "I'm sorry your leather seats weren't heated...I hope your day gets better!"
People began using the hashtag to drive awareness of Water is Life's message around clean water. Throughout the course of the campaign, 1 million days' worth of clean water were donated.
Jell-O: "Fun My Life" Twitter campaign
The jury is still out on this one, but I think it's pretty clever. Pretty much since Twitter was invented, the hashtag #FML has been a well-known expression of self-pity using a choice word (adults only -- earmuffs, kids!) as the F, and "my life" being the last two words in the acronym.
In another case of hashtag flipping, Jell-O is trying to redefine the acronym as part of a new campaign that is "on a mission to fun things up, one #FML tweet at a time." FML no longer stands for what we think it does. Instead, it stands for "fun my life."
Thus far, Jell-O has been monitoring the #FML hashtag and rewarding some people who use it with free Jell-O in the hopes of turning their traditional FML experience into a fun one.
As this campaign is in early stages, we'll just have to wait and see how much fun Jell-O can truly add. Regardless, it is pretty entertaining to watch a life stream of all the #FML tweets rolling in.
Dove: "Real Beauty Sketches"
You've likely seen this campaign, but it must be included all the same. This is probably one of the most touching video and social media efforts I've seen. Sure, it could be because I'm a woman, but I think we can all agree that Dove is doing some powerful things to change the perception of beauty.
In this campaign, Dove presented an online video in three- and six-minute versions. The video shows a forensic sketch artist who is asked to draw a series of women based on descriptions provided by both the individuals themselves and someone who had just met them.
These sketches were created with the intent to prove that "women are their own worst beauty critics." And the video is part of Dove's campaign, beginning in 2005, that focuses on redefining the meaning of "real beauty."
The three-minute video has more than 54 million views, making it the most-watched video ad ever.
The one that didn't quite turn out as planned...
Durex: Condoms gone wrong
Ironically, Durex isn't playing it safe. In its "SOS Condoms" campaign, couples who do not plan ahead and buy condoms in advance can download an iPhone application that allows them to order condoms and request an "emergency delivery."
In an effort to drive this campaign in social media, Durex asked its Facebook fans to visit a microsite to vote on the city where they would like the emergency service to be available next.
Voters were allowed to choose any place in the world -- not just places from a pre-set list of cities.
Well, the people have spoken -- and they chose Batman, a city in Turkey that is conservative and predominantly Muslim. Clearly, internet pranksters dominated this campaign. Durex was quick to respond and pulled the "SOS Condoms" campaign down.
What can we learn? Always anticipate the worst possible outcome and plan for it. The internet is unpredictable, but if you're careful, brands can help control some outcomes.
There's plenty of time left in 2013, and I can't wait to see what brands come up with for the last half of the year! Don't forget to add some of your own favorites in the comments below.
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