One of the biggest determinants of success for a modern marketing campaign is creativity. When we look at marketing and social media campaigns from this perspective, each one contains a lesson to be learned.

We found 5 clever marketing and social media campaigns that have stood in the highly competitive industry so that you can start brainstorming for your upcoming campaigns this year.

Buzzfeed Tasty

Last year was the year when video became a craze for marketers. Buzzfeed’s social media channel, Tasty, took a new approach to an already widespread concept all the while catching the waves of a popular format.

Recipe videos have been on YouTube for years, but Buzzfeed did something a little different. They’ve successfully taken a popular concept and split it it into little videos that can be used on other platforms besides YouTube.

Videos on Buzzfeed’s Tasty channel exclude lengthy instructions and unnecessary voiceovers. With the help of some text and a clean filming style, their channel is simply a joy to watch. The engagement data for Tasty was perhaps the most impressive yet. The top post gathered 191 million views, over 4 million shares and more than 1 million likes.

Takeaway

There is nothing unnecessary in Buzzfeed’s Tasty videos. The videos include only the critical parts, simplifying the cooking process. Essentially, Tasty took something very complex like cooking meals and made it look easy. There’s a difference between 30 minute instructions and 30 second ones. Tasty made cooking accessible for everyone.

These videos are valuable and they cut straight to the point. This kind of format where something is simplified and made in a way that is easier to digest by the audience is really the winning element.

The spin on an old concept of cooking videos to come up with a more refreshing format of videos is what has made this campaign so successful. Many of these videos have gone viral. The key lesson to take away here is that simplicity can play in your favor.

AirBnB #livethere

In terms of hospitality and concept, Airbnb have taken the housing service to a new level. To top it off, their campaigns are great examples of marketing. ‘Live there’ focuses on encouraging people to live like a local in popular and remote destinations. The campaign video has over 11 million views on Facebook, over 50,000 likes and thousands of comments.

Airbnb has made a name for themselves with this campaign by partnering up with professional photographers to create these images and translate their message. With a great overall aesthetic and a simple message, Airbnb have found their sweet spot on social media.

Takeaway

Every business offers a unique product or service. How you pitch your benefits and the words you choose to stand out from your competitors is crucial. Airbnb’s campaign shows that a creative spin and a catchy message is all you need to convince potential clients to choose you.

‘Live there’ made big waves and resulted in lots of responses on Instagram. The brand encouraged users to post their own moments showing their stay with Airbnb. This kind of interaction and user generated content can work in your favors. For Airbnb, it encouraged more people to click through to the website.

How you engage your users is another important element of a successful marketing campaign. The promo video came with a clever tactic to engage people from all over the world to contribute. Thinking beyond your main promotional materials the way Airbnb has is a great way to expand your influence on multiple social media platforms.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

This campaign was made possible by advertising giants Ogilvy and Mathers. The campaign’s message was that we shouldn’t be critical of ourselves. Our self perception differents greatly to how others see us. Although it is natural to be self critical, often times our own perception is far from reality.

The setup was simple. Participants of the campaign were asked to spend some time with a sketch artist describing their faces. Later, they had strangers describe them in detail and a new sketch was made. The results of this experiment was quite dramatic and very touching.

The campaign generated a lot of responses and was shared over 630,000 times on facebook during the initial launch.

Takeaway

Social experiments are powerful. Instead of flat out saying what you’ve discovered or using numbers to show some crazy data, show how you arrived at your conclusions. This campaign would not be the same if Dove showed us some statistics in a compelling way. This approach doesn’t command attention. Instead, they created their own experiment so each one of us can come up with our own conclusion based on what we see.

Many companies have tried this approach and the feedback is usually positive. We respond to short stories or a little bit of storytelling in videos in a positive way. It’s an engaging medium and if your message is worthy of global attention, find creative means to get it to the public.

TOMS #withoutshoes

Here’s a great example of a brand integrating their values into their marketing strategy. Many companies have done giveaways  but TOMS put a little twist on their pledge. They told their clients and new users that for every barefoot photograph that was posted with the hashtag #withoutshoes, the company would donate a pair of shoes to children in need.

When there is a good cause involved, you can be sure that users will get on board. The hashtag resulted in hundreds and later thousands of Instagram posts and the campaign eventually went viral.

The most interesting part of this campaign was that the entrants for this cause didn’t get anything in return. What they did appreciate was being part of a good cause and sometimes that’s all you need to marry a viral campaign with popularity.

Takeaway

Without stating the obvious, TOMS probably received new followers and clients in the process of their campaign. They told their loyal, existing customers that they are aware of social issues which also attracted new ones. The lesson to take away is that you shouldn’t just be looking for more followers, you want new followers that are going to back you up and what you stand for.

By making your values known, you are helping people form associations with your brand. You can get your users engaged, and help them promote your initiatives and spread your message like wildfire. Your marketing strategies can be aimed to show exactly what you stand for and the core values of your brand. You can do so in compelling and creative campaigns, similar to TOMS.

Spotify – Thanks 2016, It’s been weird.

This list won’t be complete without a little humor. Sometimes brands come up with the most clever ideas as a way to inject humor into their marketing strategies. Spotify started their biggest global campaign with simply entertaining and hilarious copy. With all the data they’ve been gathering throughout the year, some of it has helped them come to a realization that 2016 can be summed up as a little ‘weird’.

They played on words, poked fun at some of their clients and filled their ads with little running jokes based on their data. Their campaign stretched out to the US, UK, Germany, France and about 10 other markets. Each campaign was particular to the country which made it even funnier in real life for casual passerbys.

Takeaway

Words are extremely powerful, as is big data. This campaign shouldn’t inspire you to poke fun of your clients or users from the data you collection (although it could be quite entertaining for every business). This campaign is rather an example of clever copy together with simple graphics that is cheeky enough to put smiles on people’s faces.

This campaign idea was something different that hasn’t been done before. It’s relatable to all and undoubtedly filled cities with smiles. You can use data-driven insights to come up with something inventive and humorous like Spotify has done. Just be careful how you use your information. Wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

Conclusion

We’ve gone through just 5 campaigns out of hundreds noteworthy ones because these ones have set the bar high. If you’re looking for a little inspiration, let these campaigns set a great example. Instead of duplicating similar campaigns, bounce ideas off of your team and let these lessons guide you in your upcoming projects.

Think outside the box, and find a way to make it work for your business. Use video to your advantage, inject creativity into your campaigns, send a powerful message, engage your users, or resort to humor to give everyone something to think (or giggle) about.

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