5 Innovative Social Media Campaigns of 2016

While the year isn’t over just yet, a lot has already happened in 2016. From the Olympics to Harambe, the elections and everywhere in between, it has been a busy year. Thanks to all of these events and more, the social sphere hasn’t been any different. The only true difference is that I’d much rather prefer an awesome social campaign over a political one. (Sorry, not sorry.) So, on that note, let’s take a look at some of the most innovative social media campaigns in this past year.


I know it’s probably not a huge surprise that Disney could do something really great on social, but what truly interested me about this campaign was that they didn’t directly try and sell or promote any of their products. Instead, Disney teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to generate awareness and raise money for terminally-ill children.


The campaign encouraged Disney’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram fans to share pictures of themselves wearing Mickey Mouse Ears on the various social platforms with the hashtag #ShareYourEars. The brand recognition of these Mickey Mouse Ears alone drove people to participate in this community-centered program. For every piece of content generated, Disney promised to make a $5 donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with a cap of $1 Million. Not only did they garner more participation than anticipated, the massive success (with more than 200K images posted to Instagram alone) led Disney to double their original donation cap to $2 Million.


Okay, so these guys may be a #client of ours, but that doesn’t mean I love their social campaigns any less. While Vine may be no more, short videos certainly aren’t gone forever. Lowe’s has mastered the ability to take their DIY and home improvement expertise and turn them into clever videos, stop-motion animation style, that provide the viewer with little tips and tricks.


The best part about these? They’re the 6 short seconds which Viners grew to love. Another benefit of the length of these videos, especially for the brand, is that the video will continue to play on repeat because they are so short. #LowesFixInSix has become an ongoing campaign for Lowe’s that can be used in an engaging and educational way, and includes a variety of subject matter, featuring both seasonal and timely content.

Dos Equis Interesting Index

When friends on Facebook began to fill my newsfeed with the Interesting Index, I was very curious as to what it was for. As a person very guilty of taking those quick quizzes where you only have to log in to your Facebook account for the website to analyze what type of cheese/super hero/Game of Thrones house you are, I immediately wanted to try it.


The process overall was fairly similar. Log in to your Facebook account, let it “analyze” your profile, and then see where you stand. The only major difference at a first glance was that this time you could see how you compare next to others. The algorithm ranked anyone in the world who had a profile on Facebook against one another, not just those on the social network you were friends with. The results were divvied up into four categories: originality, thirst for knowledge, worldliness, and sense of adventure.


Not taking my fascination for mildly-shameful quizzes into consideration, these are so popular primarily because they are incredibly personalized. Similar to Microsoft’s How old do I look?  microsite, people enjoy knowing things about themselves. One fresh spin with Dos Equis was their inclusion of an already popular campaign, leveraging their widespread theme as inspiration.


Most people who know me probably know just how much I love to cook, and even more so, eat. Like seriously, the amount of love I have for mozzarella sticks is blasphemous. Food is a delicious experience to be shared, and the people at Knorr believe the same. In Unilever’s research, they found that 78% of people are more likely to be attracted to someone who enjoys the same flavors that they do. This led Knorr and Unilever to a campaign that tries to combine “flavormates” with soulmates.

To identify pairs and test their theory, the Knorr Flavor Profiler was created. This tool used features 12 unique flavor profiles, allowing those taking the quiz to discover their distinct essence. From this, a total of 14 singles were matched with one another, having never met before and paired with their flavor profiles, with the results of this experiment then shared in a video on YouTube.

The video itself was immensely popular, garnering more than 60 million views to this day, but the campaign didn’t end there. The video was combined with Twitter cards and interactive content to boost brand awareness, even allowing others to take the Knorr Flavor Profiler quiz themselves and share their own results on social using #LoveAtFirstTaste. The emotional connection that resonated with viewers and participants just goes to show that this new direction for Knorr, normally known for working on product-based campaigns, was an excellent success.

Bolder Than Bold

While you may have seen the Super Bowl ad for Butterfinger’s Bolder Than Bold campaign, it wasn’t the most memorable. Their social campaign, however, performed quite well. While news outlets have taken advantage of incorporating text into their auto play videos on Facebook, a lot of marketers have not quiet mastered this concept. Butterfinger on the other hand, seems to have learned how to garner interest even with the silence of auto play.


While they have incorporated subtitles into their videos to entice people to click on the video, that’s not all the brand has done. The clever hook of stuntman-centric content does have sound, but you don’t need to listen it to be interested. Between piranha robots and flying through the air, it is bound to draw you in, but the short videos and GIFs that came from the campaign certainly surpassed expectations. Millions of views were garnered on this content, and Butterfinger claims that 65 percent of folks viewed at least 10 seconds of a clip. One big thing this campaign shows is that taking the effort to make your content News Feed worthy can prevent it from getting lost.

Tell us what your favorite social media campaign was this year in the comments below.

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