Whitepaper: Ads that rocked social media

Ads that rocked social media

This is the campaign that changed the meaning of the phrase ‘like a girl’, into a positive, powerful message, and moved the Always brand far, far away from the blue-liquid ads the feminine hygiene category had been known for.

Here are some statistics to show why this social campaign by Leo Burnett (now nearly two years old) still ranks as one of the hottest:

31m views on YouTube in its first week;

● featured in more than 1,000 media outlets;

outperformed the average ad recall by 6.5 times; and

won countless awards, including an Emmy, a Webby, the PR Grand Prix at Cannes Lions, and a D&AD Black Pencil.

The campaign continues, with LikeAGirl now tackling sexist emojis.
Watch this space.

1 ads rocked like a girl

Who would dare hijack the launch of tech giant Apple’s iPhone 6?

A Swedish furniture company, of course.
‘Each crystal clear page loads instantaneously, no matter how fast you scroll,’ says the voiceover for IKEA as a hand turns the pages of its catalogue in a video spoofing the style of iPhone commercials.

Not only was the campaign creative and funny, it was cleverly seeded, launching a week before the new smartphone.

2 adds rocked Ikea Bookbook

Collectors’ editions of the catalogue (or Bookbook) were sent to influencers, helping to make the video go viral:

it was viewed 12.7 million times and shared by over 500,000 people over the campaign period according to Unruly’s viral video chart.

Would you take on a job that meant being ‘constantly on your feet, constantly bending over, constantly exerting yourself for unlimited hours each week, with no breaks available’?

3 ads toughtest work

One where, ‘if you had a life, we’d ask you to give that up,’ and which paid ‘absolutely nothing’?

American Greetings wanted to drive sales for Mother’s Day via cardstore.com, and created a fake job ad for an ‘operations director,’ filming the respondents’ interviews, and revealing that
this job – that of a mother – is something billions of women do for free.

The World’s Toughest Job video has had more than 25 million views to date, the website had 60 per cent more new visitors and card sales went up 22 per cent

Winner of a Glass Lion award at Cannes in 2015 (the new category honours campaigns that tackle gender bias or inequality), This Girl Can saw 150,000 more women take part in sport each week between April and September last year.

Spurred on by inspiring advertising from FCB Inferno with messages including, ‘I’m slow, but I’m lapping everyone on the couch,’ and, ‘Hot and not bothered’.

4 ads rocked This Girl Can

A TV ad, soundtracked by Missy Elliott’s ‘Get Your Freak On,’ was watched more than 37 million times on Facebook and YouTube, and featured ‘normal’ women playing sport or exercising.
A dedicated website showcases social media posts, and #thisgirlcan has racked up more than 230,000 tags on Instagram.

Oreo famously ‘won’ the Super Bowl in one single tweet during a power cut at the Superdome in 2013, and ‘You Can Still Dunk In The Dark,’ has gone down in history as the real-time reactionary marketing case study.

5 ads rocked Oreo You can still Dunk

The message was shared on Facebook and Twitter more than 20,000 times in an hour, and was put together ‘in minutes’ by a team of social media experts and brand managers at digital agency i360’s New York HQ.

It got more than 525m earned media impressions (responses, likes and shares outside of the brand’s owned media), which is five times the number of people who tuned in to watch the San Francisco 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens.

Huge sporting events such as the World Cup present great opportunities and challenges for brands, not least being how they get noticed.

Luckily, Nike had star pulling power for its 2014 campaign, working with agency W+K to produce a series of more than 200 pieces of content under the ‘Risk Everything’ banner, featuring Ronaldo, Neymar and Rooney, and encouraging fans to take every chance to beat their rivals.

06 Nike Risk Everything

It reached more than 122m people, according to analytics company Visible Measures, which also called it the most viral campaign of the World Cup.


Volvo Trucks ‘The Epic Split feat. Van Damme (Live Test)’

7 ad Van Damme Volvo Trucks

Volvo made trucks sexy (on a media budget of zero) with its death-defying video featuring stuntman Jean Claude Van Damme perched on the rear-view mirrors of two of the vehicles, arms crossed, eyes closed as they drive backwards down a runway.

The trucks move ever so slightly apart, far enough for Van Damme to serenely do the splits.

Created by agency Forsman & Bodenfors, the video has been watched more than 82m times, and is part of a Live Test series that has had more than 20,000 pieces of media coverage worldwide.

Crucially, it has had a big impact on truck owners: of 2,200 surveyed in 2014, more than half said they would consider a Volvo the next time they buy.

7 ads rocked Volvo Trucks

Take one major American cultural event (Halloween), add in a controversial costume (a full-body disease protection suit) and include a deadly illness, and you not only have news headlines, you have money donated fast, as unknown charity Doctors Of The World found.

It hired Publicis to help it raise money for its staff in West Africa, and decided to fundraise wearing Ebola protective suits.

8 ads rocked Doctors of the World More than a Costume

In just seven days, its social following had gone up by 45 per cent, its lifetime donors had doubled and it had raised enough money to equip 4,600 doctors in the field.

Pet food brand Purina worked with BuzzFeed to produce a series of videos featuring possibly the cutest, tiniest Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy you’ve ever seen.

There are no glossy-coated clichés going for a walk in the park here: Chloe the puppy knocks her food all over the floor, eats the sofa cushions and destroys her owner’s work.

9 ads rocked Purina Puppyhood

The film (featured on BuzzFeed as a native ad) links to a website sponsored by Puppy Chow, with advice on nutrition, grooming and exercise, and shows how a media/brand partnership can work well.

It was AdAge’s sixth most viewed ad of 2015, clocking up 102m views across sites such as Facebook and YouTube.

The Canadian backpack and accessories maker launched in 2009 and has been quietly growing its social following ever since. Though it hasn’t focused on running campaigns that have rocked social media per se, that’s not its style: it shuns big, brash brand activity and plays the long game to generate a loyal following.

Herschel has around 1.2m followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and it uses each platform cleverly and to maximum effect.

10 ads rocked Herschel Supply

Posts are rarely hard sell and don’t always feature product: its 755,000 Instagram followers are treated to interesting architecture, landscapes and urban imagery from around the world.

But its activity also sees measurable results, with a 20 per cent uplift in customer satisfaction since it set up Twitter handle @HSC_Support, allowing it to answer queries quickly.

Six learnings from the brands that rocked social media

1. Have an editorial mind set

Increasingly, social media content is successful when produced in a more editorial style than being a hard sell. Brands should think about what is entertaining or educational rather than having an advertising mind set.

As Rick Spiekermann, director of content at Nestle, the company behind Puppyhood says: ‘Brands are more elastic in today’s world than previously believed. New creators, including BuzzFeed, help us reimagine how to build brands.’ Content that features believable characters and tells a story will get shared.

2. Take calculated risks

Spending your marketing budget on content that doesn’t immediately translate into hard cash can understandably feel risky for brand owners, especially in large corporates.

But siphoning off money for experimentation could be a way around that.

“Encourage risk-taking and new partners will deliver great work and teach your people innovative ways to create and distribute content,” Spiekermann told Marketingland.com.

3. Test your copy and creative

Testing may seem counterintuitive for the immediate and viral nature of social media platforms. But for large scale, multi-channel and multi-platform campaigns like Puppyhood and Like a Girl, understanding what messages appeal on which platforms is essential to optimize campaigns.

Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, states, ‘I’ve certainly got enough evidence, real hard evidence, showing that ads we’ve pretested perform better in the marketplace than ads we don’t. It’s inarguable proof.’

4. Plan and measure, but be flexible

As with any brand activity, make sure your social media campaign has objectives beyond simply getting seen. It’s engagement that counts, and ultimately, sales (which is what your CFO will be after when you ask for the budget to run your campaign). Doctors Of The World is a small charity, but knew its ‘More Than A Costume’ campaign had to translate into donations, and it was literally saving lives in doing so.

But be flexible. When you put out a message or ad, realise that it is consumers who decide what it means and whether it succeeds.

When UK grocery store Waitrose asked shoppers to finish the sentence, ‘I shop at Waitrose because,’ on Twitter, it got responses such as ‘because Clarrisa’s pony just WILL NOT eat ASDA Value straw.’ You have to take the rough with the smooth.

5. Break down corporate barriers

If you want to interact in real-time as Mondelez did with Oreo and ‘You Can Still Dunk in the Dark,’ your organisation needs to be set up for it: corporate barriers need breaking down. For large companies, this may be a leap of faith, but consumers don’t care about your corporate structure or bureaucracy.

Marketing teams can change, as an article in the Harvard Business Review notes: ‘Complex matrixed organisational structures —like those captured in traditional, rigid “Christmas tree” org charts— are giving way to networked organisations characterised by flexible roles, fluid responsibilities, and more-relaxed sign‑off processes designed for speed.’

6. Don’t be a one-hit wonder

You may want to rock social media with your carefully thought-out campaign which is editorial in tone, measurable and slightly risky, but think beyond the initial few weeks and the first (big) traffic hit.

Brand strategist Mark Di Somma points out that brands must think longevity from the start, ‘because if they don’t, they risk building brands that lack substance, that are so locked into this tweet,

this click, this offer, this like, that they lack direction, dimension and long-term interest.’ So when Always came up with the LikeAGirl campaign, it was with a long-term goal: to stop.

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