We're always surprised how often Coca-Cola shows up in our annual Top 10 lists. But this year, the brand accounts for 20% of our list of top social media initiatives on its own.
Indeed, the Coke innovation machine made the most of social media in 2013 (well, make that ever medium). But other brands weren't exactly slackers, either.
Oh, and one social platform in particular stood out for us this year. Yes, the one with the hoopla around its highly successful IPO.
What initiatives made your list? Share it - and let's discuss the social year that was.
This recent initiative makes our list if for nothing else, its sheer cockiness. In the year's most daring brand stunt, Burger King Norway offered McDonald's Big Macs to go away and not be friends anymore. In fact, takers would be banned from the BK Facebook page henceforth. According to this case study video from DIST Creative (by way of AdAge), out of 38,000 total Facebook fans, a full 30,000 of them took the offer - leaving just 8,000 true, loyal fans (...or else very infrequent Facebook users...). And BK says it couldn't be happier, saying these fans are much more engaged and interact with the brand in a more positive manner.
9. Wendy’s: #PretzelLoveStories
This year, Wendy's had its social success with a side of hashtag. While Burger King US's social campaign for its Satisfries lower-fat French fries was seen by some as a royal fiasco, Wendy' #PretzelLoveStories earned serious buzz over an absurdist video soap opera series where actors use real, user-generated tweets as dialogue to hilarious effect. As Forbes puts it, the series relies on the one factor that reliably gets social media users engaged: "Unbelievably dumb stuff that's blow-milk-out-your-nose funny."
Be careful what you tweet for. It might literally send you packing. You have to love this latest installment of W+K's 'Departure Roulette' initiative for Heineken. If you missed the original, Heineken recently placed a billboard in airports to daring people to press the button to drop everything and go on free trip to whatever random location appears. As you can imagine, more than a few people took to Twitter to say they'd love to try this, had they seen it in an airport. Well now, the billboard has come to them, daring them to walk the talk - or the tweet, as the case may be. As you'll see, most are game - but not all are jazzed about the outcome.
As an Apple devotee, it pains me to say that Samsung's marketing in the mobile wars is increasingly impressive (and scathing) - especially the ads mocking iPhone fans waiting in long lines for the next iPhone.
And now, this new effort from BBDO New Zealand raises the bar. Galaxy fans could skip ahead by tweeting. Brilliant. And you won't believe the results. Of course, none of it stopped the iPhone 5S from selling out in one day (sorry, had to get that in).
I'll drink to that. As I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, we've reached a point now where brands should no longer view social media as a cool new way to connect with consumers. We must now view social media as a means by which we as brands can enable consumers not just to connect with us, but to each other. And not just in some virtual space, but in the physical world as well. This initiative can help break the ice in a social setting - as well as continue the conversation (and/or flirtation) after that beer (or the many, many beers, as the case may be) is gone. Cheers to Bud for the bold idea.
Who says Coke should have all the fun? This new machine from Pepsi doesn't take cash. It dispenses with a free soda for every Facebook 'Like' it receives. Which is one way to boost your Like counts - and a pretty tasty one, at that.
Yet another reason Coca-Cola was named Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes this year. This "Wearable Movie" concept, from Ogilvy and Psyop, is so simple and yet so true to the nature of the brand. What I like about it is that it follows a concept that I talk about in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, called "Accentuating the P.O.S.-itive - making brand experiences Personalizable, Ownable and Sharable. Here, users participate in the creation of a short film featuring a beloved brand - and become the viral engine by which it is spread. It's enough for any brand - and its army of fans – to smile.
Talk about one beauty of a campaign. Pereira O'Dell's social film for the Intel Toshiba partnership was awarded the Film/Branded Content & Cyber Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. The six-week series, called "The Beauty Inside," stars Topher Grace as Alex, who wakes up every day in a different body - each new body played by a cast of consumers who auditioned via Facebook for their roles. The strange adventure, which Alex chronicles on his Intel-powered Toshiba laptop (naturally), gets problematic when the body-switching character falls in love. According to Ad Age, the judges praised the quality of the production and story, which "represented a move forward in filmic and online storytelling," as the pub puts it. As tenuous as the connection to the Intel-based Toshiba product may be (based on this first episode - see YouTube window above – one could be forgiven for wondering whether it really matters which notebook the character uses) the effort lives up to a central tenet of THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, which is to move marketing away from using the web as merely a channel for message distribution, toward content based on real-time participation, creation, collaboration and exhibition. Here, consumers could watch the video on Facebook or via a special site, "Like" it to hear about the next installment, and, as mentioned, audition to play Alex. The nice interspersing webcam snippets enable many to play the role from the comfort of home. One could argue that this is less product integration than mere product placement (I'm not sure I'd notice the product brand if I didn't know who was behind this). But it is a compelling way to make the product the central mechanism a provocative and entertaining narrative.
First there was that tweet during the Super Bowl - "You can still dunk in the dark." Then, during last night's Grammys, Oreo scores again with a visual tweet about Justin Timberlake's "return" to pop music. (I hadn't realized he'd left; then again, during the time he was bringing "sexy back," I hadn't realized that had gone anywhere, either). As PR Newser put it, it's unclear if this visual was crafted on the fly - Timberlake was wearing a bow tie - but either way, Oreo delivered the goods, again.
There has long been a belief that popular culture breaks down barriers - the idea that engagement always trumps disengagement. That was true when it came to the Soviet Union. That's true when it comes to China. And to the extent than popular culture includes consumer products (it includes music, movies and fashion, so why not CPG?), Coca-Cola has always been at the forefront of cashing in on any peace dividend it could help create. Just look at the "I'd Like to Buy The World A Coke" spot from the 60s. And look at the YouTube video above. This fantastic outdoor-cum-live-social-media effort from Coca-Cola provides a live communications portal between people in two nations who have long had antagonisms - India and Pakistan – and gets them to complete some engaging task, like touching hands, or drawing symbols for happiness, peace and love together. I dare you not to get choked up.
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