Every marketer wants his or her next inbound marketing campaign to be the campaign — the one that goes viral and increases website traffic, social media footprint, and sales. But how can you get there? If you’re not sure where to begin, start by learning from some of the best marketing campaigns in the business. We’ve broken down some of our favorites over the years and why they worked.
Campaign 1: Burger King’s “The Whopper Sacrifice”
Sacrifice 10 friends on Facebook, get a free whopper. Full disclosure: We all love anything that involves de-friending people on Facebook. Kidding aside, this counterintuitive campaign strategy actually worked. It built brand awareness by teasing the very platform it was building on — Facebook! Of course, this risky campaign came with a downside — it lasted only 10 days before being shut down (privacy violation: the app notified people when they were deleted) — but not before giving away more than 20,000 Whoppers.
Takeaway: Despite being short-lived, this campaign is still infamous for its originality.
Campaign 2: Dove’s “Real Beauty”
Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign created a series of ads around the sensitive topic of women’s beauty. In the videos, a woman describes herself to a sketch artist, and later a complete stranger describes her to the same artist. The results are staggering, as the stranger’s version of the woman is much more complimentary than the woman’s description of herself. The campaign asserts that people do not recognize their own beauty. The videos had more than 114 million views, were shared 3.7 million times and had a blogger media impression of more than 4 billion.
Takeaway: Making marketing personal is a simple but effective approach.
Watch the videos here.
Campaign 3: Ford Fiesta’s “The Fiestagram Campaign”
Ford kicked off a campaign to give 100 people the chance to drive a new Ford Fiesta for six months – for free. Thousands applied to be a “digital influencer,” but the 100 lucky winners were expected to regularly post about the car on their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blog accounts. As a result, more than 50,000 pieces of content, 6 million YouTube views and 40 million Twitter impressions garnered the car some serious attention – and 6,000 pre-orders.
Takeaway: Recruiting brand ambassadors is a grassroots way to get your message heard.
See the overview here.
Campaign 4: American Express’ “Small Business Saturday”
This campaign took public awareness to a whole new level. Since its inception, “Small Business Saturday” has become a yearly push for consumers to shop locally, and for merchants to use digital to win community support. The idea is supported by local officials all over the country, endorsed by the President of the United States, and was deemed by the New York Festivals International Awards as “The World’s Best Idea.” Now that’s some positive press!
Takeaway: Stand behind a good cause you believe in, and a movement can take place.
Campaign 5: Arby’s 2014 Grammy’s Logo
Does anyone recall Pharrell Williams’ outrageous hat for the 2014 Grammys? You know, the one that resembled an Arby’s logo. While the rest of the world furiously Tweeted their own thoughts, Arby’s dropped the Tweet to end all Tweets, followed by a reply from the celebrity hat-wearer himself:
Arby’s displayed incredible social media savvy, resulting in unexpected (but welcome) media coverage.
Takeaway: Shrewd and well-timed “newsjacking” can spark praise-worthy conversations about a brand.
Campaign 6: Dove’s “Love Your Curls”
Dove makes our list with their “Love Your Curls” campaign (an extension of their “Real Beauty” message). Upon noticing that cell phones did not feature a curly-headed emoji, Dove created 27 different hair designs where users could choose hair and skin color. By partnering with Twitter, every hashtag containing #LoveYourCurls would generate one of the curly hair emojis in a tweet.
Takeaway: Dove saw a gap for their niche in an unexpected place (emojis), and capitalized on the opportunity.
These campaign strategies show that great inbound marketing doesn't necessarily have to be groundbreaking. As long as the campaign is about the consumer, and not the company, it will be valuable to its intended audience. Showcasing your company’s distinctiveness, qualifications and proficiency isn't simple, but these examples show it be done with a little creativity.