5 Social Media Campaigns

Media website Mashable looked at 5 US companies that used social media in major campaigns in the past year. Here is a summary of their analysis.

1. Gap

Apparel company Gap joined forces with an up-and-coming group-buying site Groupon for one day, offering $50 of clothes for $25. By the end of the day more than $11 million of goods were sold.

On the plus side, Gap went looking for new customers and found them by going to a relatively young site. The plan was to reach these new customers “in ways that are part of their everyday so that it becomes like a conversation,” said the Gap’s Chris Gayton.

On the negative side, according to digital marketing expert Augustine Fou, the Gap wasn’t suffering from bad word of mouth to begin with. Fou claims the company lost revenue in a needless exercise.

2. Toy Story 3

To promote their new animated film Toy Story 3, entertainment companies Pixar and Disney in addition to traditional ads used viral videos that included faux ads for vintage toys featuring the film’s new characters. They also used an iAd featured on the iPhone 4, and built a Facebook Page around the film that included a ticket sales option.

On the positive side, the virals worked across age groups, with kids enjoying the fake toy ads as entertainment in and of themselves, and parents waxing sentimental about bygone-era toys. The Facebook page contributed to word of mouth by posting news of ticket purchases to application news streams.

The only negative Mashable saw was the danger of associating the film with other brands (eg iAd). In this case there was no problem.

3. AOL

In an effort to present its brand as youthful and “in”, internet service AOL built a campaign to hire an ambassador for its social aggregation site Lifestream. The ambassador would have VIP access to concerts and events across the US and would reach out to his or her fans with regular updates.

AOL saved a bundle of cash not using traditional advertising, and instead offering members of their target demographic a dream job. The decision of who would be hired was made by fan votes, which helped word of mouth and created an active community around AOL.

On the negative side, the buzz around AOL ended when the contest did.

4. Starbucks

Starbucks cafes offered a range of promos including offering free products in conjunction with a Twitter promotion and a free pastry day promoted through Twitter and Facebook.

On the positive, Starbucks focused successfully on improving sales in its non-core products (anything but coffee). Also joining up with a new Twitter promotion won Starbucks publicity among people in the tech and social media worlds, a demographic that apparently loves coffee.

On the negative side, Starbucks promos were more about selling stuff than building a community. But, say Mashable, the company already has loads of customer loyalty, and simply may not have needed to focus on that side of things.

5. Mountain Dew

Soft drink company Mountain Dew decided to create a new flavor by handing the assignment over to its fans, narrowing down the list of flavours through home-tastings. The company created “Flavor Nations” around 3 runners up, with each “nation” working on everything from packaging to commercials to get people to vote for their favourite.

By careful handling of the campaign, Mountain Dew gained both exposure and loyalty, and built a natural fan base around a new product.

On the negative side, there was the danger that two of the company’s “nations” would disappear and potentially be alienated by a discontinuance of their flavour.

Visit the Mashable site for the full article “5 Winning Social Media Campaigns to Learn From“.