From #bashtags to videos reaching millions to spread awareness, we take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly social media marketing from past years.
Probably the most famous campaign of 2015 was the ‘ALS Ice Bucket Challenge’ which saw 17 million people uploading videos of themselves pouring buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness and money for neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The campaign went viral quickly and saw the likes of Bill Gates, Justin Bieber, and Lady Gaga join in on the action. Over $220 million was raised, over 700 billion video views were counted, 159 countries participated and 17 million videos were created. This has to take top spot for the best viral campaign online last year.
Back in 2012 McDonalds decided to create a hashtag #McDstories for people to share their delightful experiences and loving stories associated with McDonalds. However, what ensued was a marketing nightmareand quickly became a #bashtag. People shared tweets such as “I found a fingernail in my burger once #McDstories” and “I ate a #McDonalds cheeseburger a few years ago and got food poisoning so bad that I had to be hospitalised. That is my #McDstories”.
McDonalds had to delete the hashtag within two hours after an influx of detrimental tweets hammered their campaign but the abandoned hashtag is still used today, even four years after. Lesson learned: check your hashtag before it turns into a bashtag. The Love Has No Labels campaign from the Ad Council touched many people. The different videos show two skeletons embracing behind an x-ray screen before revealing their differences to the crowd – gay couples, interracial couples, children and friends.The videos were a huge hit online and were viewed 14 million times in just 48 hours.
Susan Boyle, 2009 X Factor contestant, had a misfortunate marketing malfunction. When promoting her album launch she took to twitter with the hashtag “#susanalbumparty”. Unfortunately it looked rather like she was promoting something a little raunchy. It almost seems as if it was deliberate, after all any publicity is good publicity, right?
Another video which touched many whilst doing the rounds online was Save the Children’s second a day video. The video depicted what British children would face if war hit our shores, much like what Syrian children currently face. On Youtube alone the video has been viewed 52 million times with untold shares on Facebook and other platforms. A powerful video with a powerful message which shows the power social media can have when used correctly
Similar to McDonald’s hashtag failure, British Gas experienced a similar situation. On the same day as raising their bills by nearly ten per cent, they held a live Q&A on their Twitter. Riled customers took to their keyboards to tweet. Some included “Hi Bert, which items of furniture do you, in your humble opinion, think people should burn first this winter? #AskBG” and “What'd happen if an energy company hiked bills by 9.1% during longest fall in living standards since 1870 then asked for feedback? >>#AskBG”.A big mistake on the British Gas marketing team’s part.
It seems hashtags can be dangerous territory and those attempting those tricky twitter waters, should do so cautiously. However when social media campaigns are done correctly, they can have a massive impact and can help raise awareness.