5 Social Media Campaigns: Brand Lessons from Around the World

Here's what online marketers can learn from these five social media campaigns that went viral.

social media campaigns

Rohan Ayyar works at E2M, a premium digital marketing firm specializing in creative content strategy, web analytics and conversion rate optimization for startups. He is an avid blogger, with posts featured on MarketingProfs, Social Media Today and Fast Company, among other places. Hit it up with him on Twitter @searchrook

Social media reaches four out of five Americans every single day. It has the power to educate, entertain and inspire.

Exciting, successful social media campaigns involve crafting content that can range from viral videos that attract millions of eyeballs to pulling off PR stunts that stick to memory for years.

Here’s a look at five effective social media campaigns, and what marketers like you and I can glean from their success.

1. XBox, Colombia – “FIFA 14”
Latin America and its obsession with soccer is legendary. The continent that produced legends like Pele, Maradona and Ronaldo takes its soccer seriously indeed.

XBox Colombia tapped into this soccer mania to announce the inclusion of local Colombian soccer leagues in its FIFA 14 game. To make their point crystal clear, they pulled in top gamers, who mirrored the moves of a real live soccer game using the XBox console.

XBox then went ahead and did the unthinkable. It interrupted a live Colombian soccer league game with snippets of the VR game that was created by experts. The resulting video was so seamless that Colombians actually loved the experiment instead of labelling it as the Satan of advertising. The video became so popular that Wunderman, the agency behind it, won a Webby in 2014 for Social Media Marketing in the Sports genre.

Take a look at magic for yourself:

FIFA 14 from Daniel Saenz on Vimeo.

Takeaway: Our job as social media managers is to have our fingers on the pulse of the audience. Latin America eats, breathes and drinks soccer. XBox tapped into a national obsession using technology and some lateral thinking to create a campaign that showcased its product to the right audience at the right time in a unique way. It won huge appreciation from fans for its near authentic game play. XBox – 1, Competition – 0.

2. Kern & Sohn, Germany – “The Gnome Experiment”
Kern Scales – a German maker of precision scales – had a cool USP.

None of the other scales in the world could show the slight differences in the weight of the same item that occur when weighed at different locations (due to different levels of gravitational pull at different points on Earth). Kern’s scales could.

The idea was to showcase this special calibration to local gravitational fields at any point and the resulting precision in weights.

The company hit upon a novel idea to promote this USP. They shipped a cute little garden gnome accompanied by their precision scales to scientists across the world and encouraged them to check the weight of the Kern Gnome in their countries. They backed this up with a social media campaign where users were encouraged to share their stories and pictures of Kern, the Gnome.

The idea caught on like wildfire, with people (non-scientists!) writing in, requesting their own Gnome Kits and posting pictures of Kern the Gnome across social media.

social media campaigns

Within two weeks of launch, the experiment touched over 355 million people in 152 countries. Sales grew 22 percent, Kern got a 1042 percent ROI on their experiment and the story got turned into a TED talk. Talk about weighty matters!

Takeaway: Even B2B products can be turned into social media sensations. An out of the box idea sparked interest in a mundane topic like precision scales. This recipe took a combination of nerd science, Gnome cuteness and the power of social media to propel Kern & Sohn to the No. 1 spot for precision scales.