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While not all of us have huge household brand names that carry significant weight, it’s important to take some notes on some of their successful social media campaigns. In order to have a successful campaign, there are many things that have to be done, but two things always remain true; understand your audience and focus your campaign around one central theme. The following brands have had brilliant success in recent years due to their effective and viral media campaigns.

1. Old Spice Real-Time Videos

old spice

According to sales reports from Old Spice, body wash sales had dropped 7% between 2009 and 2010. Things needed to be changed, and it was up to Isaiah Mustafa to change it. After the launch of their viral Superbowl ad, a media team for Old Spice went to Portland to subsequently film over 150 short videos about Old Spice, with a comic approach. The videos were based on real-time responses to viewer’s comments via Twitter. Following the release of the videos, there was a huge increase in Twitter mentions for Old Spice, and it had gained over 30,000 followers. Eventually the videos would gather over 10,000,000 views with the most popular one being the response from Perez Hilton.

2. Microsoft’s I Love Bees

i love bees

To promote the launch of Halo 2, Microsoft had an ingenious social media strategy. Subliminal messages in the Halo 2 trailer would forward users to the I Love Bees website. Developed by 42 Entertainment, this website appeared hacked to users and would bring them into an alternate reality setting game. In order to progress the story, the players would have to solve puzzles and gain clues as to what would happen next. Wikipedia states that, “I Love Bees was a marketing success; 250,000 people viewed the ilovebees website when it was launched in August 2004, and more than 500,000 returned to the site every time the pages were updated. More than three million visitors viewed the site over the course of three months, and thousands of people around the world participated in the game. I Love Bees won numerous awards for its innovation and helped spawn numerous other alternate reality games for video games.”

3. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches

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Probably one of the most viral social media campaigns to date involved digging the truth out of individuals. Media powerhouse Olgivy and Mather created a short video that displayed research that said only 4% of women actually consider themselves to be beautiful. A criminal sketch artist from a regional police department would draw sketches of the women based on how they described themselves. He would then draw sketches of the same women based on the description strangers gave of them. The ones sketches described by the strangers were significantly more beautiful than how the women described themselves. According to Social Media Today, More than 15 million people downloaded the video within a week. On YouTube, the shorter 3-minute version was viewed 30.6 million times. It garnered 660,000 shares on Facebook during its first ten days. The video also inspired parodies such as Dove Real Beauty (Guy Version). The FW compiled a list of the best Dove Sketches parodies from around the web.

4. Coca Cola’s Share a Coke

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Most recently, Coca Cola decided to replace it’s iconic can with something that commanded attention; names. Instead of having the brand name Coca Cola on the can or bottle, it was replaced by popular names in Britain such as “Dan” or “Laura”. Phrases such as, “friends” or “family” were displayed as well. According to reports, Coca-Cola saw it’s Facebook community grow by 3.5% and globally by almost 7%. The campaign was so popular in Britain that as of November 2013 it’s started to pop up in other countries such as Australia, Thailand, and Norway.