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February 11, 2014

Great Social Media Campaigns of 2013

San Francisco Bat Kid
Photo Credit: Chris Witte via flickr

Social media platforms continued to multiply and gain influence in 2013, both in our personal lives and in the business world. In fact, a research study sponsored by Social Media Examiner shows that 94 percent of businesses are using social media, and 85 percent of those organizations say that it’s given their business more exposure.

It comes as no surprise then, that one of the top skills that today’s workers need to get ahead in the current business climate is the ability to navigate social media. As platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow brands to engage with potential customers in new and exciting ways, marketing and social media teams are competing to develop the most innovative and eye-catching new campaigns. Read on to learn about some social media campaigns that really got it right in 2013, and why they were so successful.

1. Oreo’s Super Bowl Blackout Tweet

The social media marketing strategy team at Oreo didn’t spend months planning a social media campaign related to the Super Bowl, but they did take advantage of a golden opportunity. During the third quarter of Super Bowl XLVII, a power outage at the Superdome in New Orleans, LA caused a 34-minute delay of the game. While viewers took to their preferred social media sites, including Twitter, to vent their frustrations over the glitch, Oreo sent out a brilliantly simple Tweet that said “Power Out? No problem.” with an attached photo depicting a single Oreo lit by a spotlight on an otherwise black background with the caption “you can still dunk in the dark.” The tweet was retweeted about 15,000 times and received more than 20,000 likes on Facebook.

2. #SFbatkid

Right around Thanksgiving, the Make-A-Wish Foundation planned and directed a campaign in San Francisco to make the wish of Miles Scott, a little boy diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, come true. Miles’ adventures as Batkid, tweeted about with the hashtag #SFbatkid, drew crowds of people to see his adventures in person, and engaged people worldwide on the Internet. As Batkid saved a damsel in distress from the Riddler and the San Francisco Giants’ mascot Lou Seal from the Penguin, thousands of people got involved to make his day special, whether in person or watching the coverage via live video streams.

3. Do Us A Flavor

Frito-Lay launched a campaign in 2012 with the hope of better engaging its consumers by showing them their opinions truly matter. The company asked consumers to submit ideas for new potato chip flavors and vote on them, with the prize of $1 million promised to the creator of the winning flavor. More than 3.8 million people across 14 countries submitted their ideas through a Facebook app developed by Frito-Lay. The campaign generated 955 million organic Facebook impressions and 1.26 billion PR impressions, boosting sales by 12 percent. Three flavors made it to the final voting round in 2013, with Cheesy Garlic Bread winning it all. The campaign was so successful that Frito-Lay has brought the search for the next great flavor back for 2014.

4. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches

Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign originally launched in 2006, targeting women, the company’s biggest consumer group. In 2013, the agency Ogilvy & Mather furthered the campaign’s success with Real Beauty Sketches. For the campaign, forensic artists prepared two sketches of the same woman without ever seeing her, one based on the woman’s description of herself, and one of someone else’s description of the same woman. The results were shocking, and highlighted the fact that women focused on their physical flaws, while others focused on their beauty. The video documentary produced of the sketch experience has been viewed by more than 114 million people, became the No. 1 viewed online video ad of all time within a month of launching, and also holds the record for the most shared video ad of all time.

These social media campaigns are not the only ones that were successful in 2013, but they exemplify what is most important to this kind of marketing strategy: how well a concept resonates with consumers. In the case of Oreo, the company engaged consumers at just the right time by speaking to an event that was affecting a large number of them.

The Dove Real Beauty Sketches and #SFbatkid spoke to the emotions of the audiences and united them around a common insecurity or the joy of seeing a young boy’s dreams come true.

Finally, Frito-Lay told consumers the company valued their opinions, and gave them the opportunity to speak out and make choices about a product. Social media can be a powerful tool when marketing teams and agencies remember what matters to their audience.


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Aimee Griffin works for corporate advisory services firm in support of their social media and marketing departments. Aimee has a bachelor's degree from Gettysburg College in English and philosophy and is a contributor to several sites, including MBAPrograms.org.

4 Responses to “Great Social Media Campaigns of 2013

    avatar Ferry says:

    Campaign through social media is one of the ways and means that can be taken to improve the marketing of a product of our

    avatar Stefania says:

    Hi Aimee!

    Great article! I’d like to clarify one point about #SFBatkid. Our agency, Clever Girls Collective, created and executed the social media plan for Miles’ wish. We were honored to be a part of it and even more honored that we will continue to be working with Make-A-Wish in 2014. Please let me know if you have any questions about our work. You can read about how we did it here: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101207123

    avatar Hamizan says:

    Many of the online world of social media platforms that can be harnessed and used as well as possible in the marketing of a product that we have and al the things above need to know too

    If you want to keep your keywords in front of Google you will have to take help from social media campaigns !!

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