Prasad Shejale
Guest Article

Ten global digital campaigns that inspire me and why

A selection of international digital efforts.

In our daily life, we come across a lot of creative work and campaigns done by different brands trying to connect with their audience. However, there are certain campaigns that truly make a mark on our minds and also, at times, inspire us.

Here’s a list of some overseas digital campaigns that inspire me.

1. ‘Feeling the Street’ by Toyota

Toyota built a beautiful online campaign in 2015 that celebrated some of the world’s best buskers. With the launch of this campaign, the world’s best street performers got a platform to upload their performance videos and showcase their talent to larger audiences. This was also the first time when the general public got to see these street performers in one place and even vote for their favourites. The most popular six performers were also selected to come together and form a Global Street Band. The campaign did very well and received millions of likes, comments, shares on social media.

It is noteworthy to see how the brand strategically used the route of User Generated Content (UGC) to enhance their reach and engagement while also providing a platform to a good cause of providing a platform for these street performers. Also, the brand aptly selected the content that was already performing well across social media for further amplification. I feel it was a fantastic way of connecting with local street artistes and helping them climb up the ladder, while also generating some traction for the brand.

2. ‘#OpenYourWorld’ by Heineken

In this campaign, the brand used a real-life social experiment wherein they brought together people with different social beliefs for team building activities. Later, the participants discussed their views over a cold beer (Heineken). They primarily used Facebook to showcase the video, and it received three million views in the first week itself. The video also went viral and received millions of shares and great engagement.

In a world where people have differing perspectives and often find it difficult to understand another person’s viewpoint, this was a good way of bringing together people in an effort to make them accept and respect differing points of view that exist among us and love all in spite of the differences. I feel this campaign is a great example of how marketers can use social issues to promote their products. Also, this kind of content has the power to make people reflect on things and spark conversations around the same while building a positive brand image.

3. ‘The Flip Campaign’ by McDonald’s

The brand’s mission to support women has been going on for decades. During this campaign, the brand wanted to celebrate women’s contribution to their business and decided to flip its ‘M’ logo to ‘W’ across 100 outlets in the US on International Women’s Day. Their digital platforms highlighted some of the most important women in their history. They got billions of impressions globally for this campaign and it also became the top searched brand query on Women’s Day.

I feel it was a brilliant way of showcasing the diversity and highlighting the women in the workforce at the right time. Also, it was a bold move for the brand to play with their logo. Campaigns like these portray how we need to take some bold steps at times to truly showcase certain values that we truly believe in, and people are sure to understand it.

4. ‘Dream Crazier’ by Nike

Nike is known for its powerful online campaigns that are unique and large scale. They often convey strong social and political messages through their campaigns and are known for their bold moves in their marketing efforts. One such campaign was the recent ‘Dream Crazier’ campaign wherein they released an ad that showcased prominent female athletes and celebrated their achievements. It aptly portrayed how women are usually termed crazy when they want to follow their dreams and played with the word to promote the idea that it is okay to be 'crazy', and inspired women to follow their dreams no matter how “crazy” they feel. The ad went viral immediately and got millions of views on YouTube and Twitter in just one day.

I feel it was a great marketing initiative that not only celebrated women achievers but also sent across a powerful social message around the commonly seen gender bias. It was definitely a ‘must-watch’ campaign for audiences and undoubtedly helped the brand build a positive image. This campaign depicts how brands can creatively depict and take a stand for various social causes that not only help in empowering the audiences but also help the brand build their brand equity.

5. ‘The Best Men Can Be’ by Gillette

The brand was in the headlines for this controversial campaign that they designed, wherein the advertisement urged men to stop objectifying women and bullying people across different age groups. It also nudges men to help dissuade other men from incorrect behavior. Gillette spun a new take on their slogan “The best a man can get” with this campaign. They aimed to tackle bullying, sexism and #MeToo to lay responsibility on men to be better.

Though there was a lot of controversy over this campaign, I feel that the campaign drives down a strong message. It was a brave move by the brand to take such a strong stand on the topic and not change their position in spite of all the backlash. Despite the controversies, a lot of people did support the brand, and a significant number of consumers said that they are more likely to purchase the brand’s products. I think that says it all and is the biggest appreciation you can get.

6. ‘#KnowYourLemons’ by Worldwide Breast Cancer

This social media campaign used a catchy hashtag to raise awareness among women across the world about the warning signs of breast cancer and also encouraged them to share their stories. The campaign was a big hit and reached to 7.3 million people in just three Facebook posts while also adding to the increase in donations for the company.

I feel the overall concept was amazing, since they kept it very simple and used just images rather than text that is easily understood by anyone no matter what language they speak. A simple, yet effective way of truly spreading the message. Also, this campaign teaches how, sometimes, we can be light-hearted and use simplistic approaches for a serious cause and still get good results.

7. #MeToo

Now, who doesn’t know about this campaign that developed into a larger movement? As we are aware, this movement was driven by the dire concern of the masses on the matter of sexual abuse and harassment in America. The social media was full of tweets, posts, stories from around the world wherein people were being vocal about their experiences, and the scale was so huge that it made the governments really look into it and take necessary measures against these concerns.

In my opinion, this campaign is a perfect example that showcased the power of social media and its use for a good cause which helped in the global reach of this campaign. Also, the way it encouraged people to open up in front of the whole world is inspiring.

8. Ice Bucket

#ALSIcebucketchallenge is one of the best examples of viral marketing. We have seen millions of people participating in this, including a lot of celebrities. There was a drastic increase in the donations after the launch of this campaign. Facebook reported that there were 1.2 million unique videos that were posted on their platform.

I feel it was a great strategy to use some uncommon task to attract audiences, and yes, it did work wonders for the cause. This proves how we can experiment with dissimilarities while devising strategies and use it creatively for achieving our goals while keeping it interesting for the larger audiences.

9. ‘#SeekDeeper’ by Royal Caribbean

To attract younger audiences, the brand built Snapchat Spectacles dive mask, and the video was aired on their Snapchat channel. This campaign used an unconventional route to connect with the users and went beyond traditional social content for showcasing various destinations. While they wanted to promote their business, they also promoted the idea of conservation through this campaign.

I feel this was an apt usage of new technology that was picked up well by the brand and used in a unique way to attract users. Other brands can learn from this and start utilising the latest technologies and advances in industry as there is a newness element to it that can help in enticing the audiences.

10. Social media done right by JetBlue

The popular discount airline definitely gets full points for rightly using their social media for things beyond self-promotion or selling their offerings. Contrary to only posting about special offers and discounts, the brand aptly uses Twitter to provide quick and easy customer service. If you happen to see their profile, you will notice most of the posts are replies to user queries and concerns, which is remarkable.

While we all try different ways to promote our business, it is essential to truly keep the customer at the heart of your business and use platforms aptly to truly connect with them, listen to them, assist them. This not only helps the consumers but also builds much higher credibility for your brand.

(The author is founder and CEO of Logicserve Digital, a digital marketing agency.)