Welcome to the 1700s. If you wanted to get your message heard in this time, the newspaper was your medium and fitting as much copy in your allotted space was the name of the game. Fast forward to the Golden Age of Radio, where brands sponsored radio programs, and seamlessly incorporating their products into Soap Operas was the name of the game. In 2015, the internet is our medium, and successful brands are chameleons that adapt their message to the ever-changing social media landscape. In such a crowded world of ads, simply resizing your message so it fits within a social platform is not enough to catch the eye of the consumer. Nowadays, successful campaigns are created not only with the purpose of displaying on social media, but also utilize the platform to their advantage. Through this creative use of the medium, advertisers surprise and delight the social audience and potential customers. These five brands have mastered this skill and are dominating social platforms:
Campaign: IKEA PS 2014
Platform Used: Instagram
How do you build an interactive site without spending a single penny on web design? Get Instagram to do all the work for you. For the launch of Ikea’s PS collection in Russia, the company fully utilized Instagram’s account functions to build an operating website. Each piece of furniture has its own account, and users can travel throughout the site using tags. Ikea even gets free advertising when users tag the products in their own photos!
Platform Used: YouTube
We all wait with our hands hovering over the countdown button “You can skip in 5...4...3...2…” We’re barely watching the screen except to furiously click the bottom right corner when we can skip the ad and get to our YouTube video. But as we wait to skip the ad, a voiceover tells us that we “can’t skip this ad, because it’s already over.” Once proclaimed “over,” that’s when we start to pay attention. With the implementation of YouTube pre-roll ads, advertisers were forever trying to figure out how to keep audiences watching after the mandatory 5 seconds. Geico managed to simultaneously communicate their ad message in 5 seconds and get an audience to watch far longer, all while having “GEICO” take center stage on the screen.
Platform Used: Facebook
Campaign: Buds for Buds
Capitalizing on an admittedly perfect pun, the Buds for Buds campaign ventured to bring the idea of sharing a beer with a friend into the 21st century, attempting to expand the brand’s base to a younger (but 21+) audience. The campaign allowed consumers to purchase a Budweiser directly from budweiser.com and send it to a Facebook friend, to be redeemed in a bar of the recipient’s choosing. This campaign could only work on Facebook. Not only did the brand take advantage of the “friends” feature, but used a unique filter to target ads on newsfeeds depending on whether users were of legal drinking age and had "friends” in Chicago or Denver (the locations of participating bars).
4. Sky Atlantic
Platform Used: Twitter
Fortitude is a television series airing on Europe’s Sky Atlantic channel. As an individual based in the US, I have never heard of this network (I assumed it was an airline?), let alone seen this show. But after seeing this tweet, I want to now. The genius behind this post uses the knowledge that Twitter’s main feed has a white background, while clicking on a photo exposes a black background. Uploading a transparent PNG image, Sky Atlantic was able to manipulate Twitter’s platform into “revealing” a second image, when in reality it’s the same file.
5. Fruit of the Loom
Campaign: Start Happy
Platform Used: LinkedIn
If you thought underwear and a professional website wouldn’t mix, this next campaign is going to prove you wrong. Fruit of the Loom partnered with LinkedIn to launch a promotion based on the idea that putting on comfortable underwear can help help kickstart your workday. The brand sent a promotional offer to LinkedIn users who changed or got a new job in the last 30 days offering a free pair of undies along with a $5 coupon and a call-to-action to share the promotion across social platforms.