As 2014 comes to an end, our team reflected on some of the best PR, marketing and social campaigns the year had to offer. Whether it was as extreme as Ebola or as casual as ‘Alex from Target’, here are the top five that made the cut (in no specific order):
- Phillip Singh, Intern: AT&T #SummerBreak campaign
AT&T launched a social media campaign for Summer 2014 that followed a group of eight high school graduates as they spent their final months together before venturing off into the real world. The campaign was such a huge hit that AT&T launched a second campaign the same summer with a new group. The campaign was successful because it massively appealed to the target audience: teenagers. AT&T was able to combine the things that the teens of today can’t get enough of: reality television, cell phones and just about every social media platform out there. The “cast” of friends uploaded YouTube videos, Instagram posts, and Snapchats on the #SummerBreak account which garnered a huge following. It was extremely personal and interactive because followers were able to see the adventures (parties, roundtrips, beach days, etc.) in real time as they were happening, instead of watching an edited episode. This could very well set precedence for the future of reality entertainment and I think its genius.
- Danielle Cobb, Communications Coordinator: Doritos #crashthesuperbowl campaign
For the past couple of years, Doritos has launched Super Bowl campaigns where customers can create their own commercial in hopes of it being aired during the big game. User generated content is always a win in my book. It’s a great way to have people engage with your brand, build awareness and source content all at the same time. Plus, people come up with awesome ideas that Doritos probably wouldn’t have on their own.
- Molly Borchers, Senior Communications Strategist: How a humble little ad became the world’s biggest marketing win
This isn’t actually a campaign, but an advertisement turned viral. Enter the MailKimp. MailChimp, an email marketing company, underwrote the first season of the podcast Serial, which is the most popular podcast in the world. (We’re rabid fans here at WOC.) The quirky little ad, heard before every episode, became a meme itself thanks to an adorable mispronunciation of the brand name (listen here: https://soundcloud.com/mollyfitzpatrick-2/mailchimp-promo-on-serial). Serial producers actually created the ad, getting people on the streets of NYC to read the lines.
Then started the buzz on Twitter.
This humble little ad is the runaway marketing success of the year, with more viral success than many Super Bowl ads that cost millions of dollars to air on TV. From Oct. 3 (the day the show premiered) to Nov. 21, 1,300 tweets mentioned the hashtag #MailKimp. More than 2,400 tweets mentioned Serial and MailChimp together, equivalent to about 12 percent of the 20,200 tweets related to the email vendor during the same timeframe. The ad even spawned a MailKimp Twitter handle and people are gushing about it on Reddit. How’s that for brand awareness?
- Julie Wright, President: Community Outreach for a High-Density Residential Development
This was my favorite (W)right On Communications campaign of the year. We organized a series of community open houses for a client with a 13-acre redevelopment project in a tight-knit, well established coastal community. Our team did a great job getting the word out and driving attendance. We coordinated closely with all of the project’s stakeholders—developer, property management, architect, traffic consultants, landscape architects, engineers—to make sure everyone was prepared to speak accurately on the project and answer neighbors’ questions.
Traffic, construction timeline, parking, safety, density, height—neighbors had a lot of questions about how they would be impacted by the increase in density. At the open house, we provided visual displays and handouts, directed neighbors to online materials and invited them to attend a series of open houses. We followed up via mail to all neighbors, thanking those who attended and notifying those who couldn’t attend about the online materials and open houses.
Overall, we created many opportunities and methods for people to learn about the project and provide their input. Several people came forward to say that they really understood how the project could improve and enhance the neighborhood.
- Erica Schlesinger, Communications Strategist: Lay’s “Do Us A Flavor” campaign
This year, Lay’s held their second “Do Us A Flavor” contest where fans were asked to submit their ideas for the next big chip flavor. It had a big enough “WTF” factor (read: interest) to create buzz past the initial “ask” – with flavors like Cappuccino, it was hard not to join the conversation. The campaign leveraged a number of popular digital mediums, especially social media, to get and keep the audience involved. It also built upon an existing popular campaign – sometimes, sticking with classics is the way to go.