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Three campaigns that went viral with one key ingredient

Why do some brands win at social media while others fall flat? It would be unfair to say that it boils down to effort. In most cases a lot of consistent effort goes into social media marketing with good returns over a period of time.

In rare cases, a company’s social media campaign connects like a plug in a socket and the brand lights up like a beacon. If your brand wants to be the shining light in a sea of social media, then watch and learn from these three companies that got it right.

  1. Why is it that we feel compelled to prove ourselves if someone says those three fateful words “I dare you”? Imagine if you could reach hundreds of millions of people and not only create awareness, but get people to actively participate in your cause, with a challenge that seems like it was thought up by your older brother as entertainment over a long summer holiday.

The ALS Association did exactly that with The ALS ice-bucket challenge in 2015. 440 million people watched and participated in videos of people having icy water thrown over their heads. The campaign didn’t cost a cent, yet it brought in over $220 million for the foundation.

  1. truth is an anti-smoking non-profit organisation aimed at stopping teen smoking. Their most successful campaign didn’t use judgement, discrimination, shame or scare tactics. Instead, they subtly appealed to teens through other people’s perceptions of them.

Partnering with a handful of Youtube celebrities with a combined following of over 3 million subscribers, they wrote a song titled “Left Swipe Dat”. The video and song reiterated a previously proven fact that Tinder users are less likely to swipe right on someone who is smoking in their profile pictures. #LeftSwipeDat became a top trending topic for a great cause.

The combination of music, hashtagging and YouTube celebs made this campaign a far greater success than any stern warning by a doctor in a white coat next to a cancerous pair of lungs.

  1. Dove created one of the most talked about social experiments last year when they got a forensic artist to draw women as they described themselves without having seen them. The artist then drew another portrait based on how they were described by a stranger. The campaign videos which formed part of a larger campaign called Real Beauty Sketches were viewed over 14 million times.

The vast differences between the two portraits got millions of people talking about our warped perceptions of our own physical attributes and how we think we are viewed by others. The campaign drew a lot of positive, as well as its fair share of negative attention which just fuelled the discussion and increased its popularity.
These three brands are all entirely different, yet their biggest common denominator and baseline of their success was tapping into human emotion. Getting people to feel something regarding a brand or a cause is a sure-fire way to get them talking, and talking is how word spreads and campaigns become viral.

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