2015's Top 10 Social Media Campaigns

Rick Mathieson

Turns out all the crazy rumors were true: Social media marketing is more than just Facebook, YouTube & Twitter these days.

For all the buzz we’d hear over the years about how this or that social platform is sure to be a boon for marketers (…remember Google+?...) talk usually just circled back to Facebook, Twitter and maybe throw in a YouTube video and a vine and call it a day.

Not in 2015 – at least not all the time.

With certain audiences (read: millennials) Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat and others helped marketers seriously hit their marks.

A look at some of our favorite social media campaigns from the year that was, not necessarily in any order:


GoPro is obviously a brand built on content – it is, after all, its raison d'etre. Who doesn’t love those extreme sports shots of people doing acrobatics as they skydive or ski or jump trashcans in the driveway on their bikes? But even in 2015, we can’t escape online cat videos—and in the case of this Instagram (and YouTube) campaign, you wouldn’t want to. Meet Didga, an Australian cat that skateboards—incredibly well. That said, there's a family nearby that has a dog—a little bulldog named Henny—that skateboards all over the place, and even has her own YouTube channel. I'm not sure she's quite Didga's level yet. But who knows: Maybe she'll have her own GoPro video series one day.


My wife could seriously be a talent scout for any genre in the music industry—I can’t tell you how many times she has discovered bands and said “these guys are going to be huge in a couple of years" and been spot on. Unlike my wife, many music aficionados like to claim bragging rights for being the first to find hot acts. Which makes Spotify’s #FoundThemFirst social campaign so compelling. Last summer, the online music streaming service rolled out a "Found Them First" microsite that lets users see which musicians the system knows they heard before they became megawatt sensations. They can then build and share a playlist built on their discoveries—and Spotify will offer them a new playlist with other new acts they might like as well.


I've never been that into Groupon, but I have to admit this campaign was, er, ballsy. In April, Groupon posted a Facebook photo of plastic banana containers, as if they were packaged goods, and responded to everybody who posted a suggestive joke. I have no idea if the bunkers sold well, but it’s still fun. And at over 45,000 shares, apparently others also saw the appeal. Pardon the pun.


Taco Bell and millennials are made for each other. So Snapchat must be the perfect platform for both, right? Well if this little initiative is any indication, the answer is an emphatic (thumb’s up). Taco Bell hired two twentysomethings to essentially set up a “Stories” studio/”news room” where they could create and collaborate with super fans on fun real-time and more thought-out content (including a lot of UGC). And while we haven’t seen any sales figures for platform promotions, we still have to imagine this channel can’t hurt with this QSR’s most devote customers.


Let’s try to get a little control over our Emoji, folks. Yes, Oxford named this emoji as its 2015 Word of the Year. Not the word “emoji,” mind you. Literally this symbol—“tears of joy” is the Word of the year. And as if by magic, Durex has a new hashtag campaign that might just inspire you to use that emoji – or even better, one that helps young people talk about safe sex. As it happens, Durex research shows that 50% of 18-25 year-olds use emoji when discussing sex. So for World AIDS Day December 1, Durex is asking for help encouraging the Emoji masters who create the official icons to create a condom Emoji.


Worth it: This series of online videos for Hefty Easy Grip plastic cups turns conventions on head with stereotypical moms who speak fluent over-the-top teen that had had fans going cray. One installment, #Turnt (shown at top), has been viewed 2.6 million times on YouTube alone, #WorthIt, 2.1 million times. Who knew suburban moms could have so much street cred?


This UK-based consumer insurance cooperative was putting on the hits this year with NostalgiaFM, which allows users to enter the year they first past their driver’s test for a playlist of #1 songs from that month and year. Over 15,000 people used the app on its first day. And in its first five days, the effort generated 200,000 engagements on Twitter and Facebook, and a huge amount of traffic to the company’s website.


What’s not to love about the World Wild Life Fund’s “Last Selfie” promotion with Snapchat, which takes advantage of the fleeting, transient nature of Snapchat communications with short ads that show just how quickly an endangered species can be wiped off the planet. Powerful, and perfect for the platform. In just its first week, consumers posted 40,000 tweets about the initiatives to 120 million timelines. And in just three days, WWF reached its fundraising target for the entire month.


These shoes were made for helping: TOMS built its brand on donating a pair of shoes to needy children for every pair sold. This summer, whenever someone posted an Instagram photo of their bare feet using the hashtag, TOMS would give away a pair of shoes to someone in need—no purchase necessary—to the tune of 296,243 pairs.


Maybe it’s not as good as the original, GoodWorks Effie-winning #LikeAGirl (60 million views on YouTube, and millions more on other sites) but it’s still a powerful message, perfect timed around all the "Fight Song"-infused hype last summer for CBS’s new hit show "Supergirl.” #Unstoppable has generated nearly 40 million views on its own. And best of all, Always is partnering with TED-Ed to launch programs to boost girls’ confidence. An heroic effort, for sure.

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