In 2012, Felix Baumgartner became the first man to break the sound barrier and set a new record for longest distance free-fall when he jumped 24 miles from space. Shortly after, Redbull, the brand sponsoring the stunt, posted a photo of his landing. That picture was shared more than 29,000 times and received 216,000 likes … in 40 minutes.

The stunt lives on as one of the top viral marketing moments of all time, and two years later, brands are still trying to create that “magic moment” of their own.

Rather than spend massive amounts of time and resources to pull off a one-time stunt, there are a few simple ways brands can increase the reach, participation and “virality” of their existing marketing campaigns.

Here are three campaigns to learn from:


To expose SXSW attendees to Together, we encouraged participants to upload their best SXSW selfies to a campaign website powered by our platform. People then voted for their favorites, and the participant with the most votes at the end won a GoPro camera. Thanks to word-of-mouth marketing and social sharing, the campaign hashtag, #SxSelfie, generated 1 million impressions – far exceeding our participation goal.

Why it worked: Since millions are snapped and shared every day, selfies were the perfect foundation for a user-generated photo campaign. Plus, by associating selfies with SXSW, the campaign turned an everyday action into a head-to-head competition. Using a combination of traditional and digital marketing to promote the campaign, including everything from handing out decals throughout the conference to emailing participants reminders to share their photos, also helped increase participation.

You CAN sit with us

The Kind Campaign launched an effort to end girl-against-girl bullying. To participate, fans were asked to share a photo with the hashtag #youCANsitwithus. In just one week, the hashtag generated 9 million Twitter impressions and 10,000+ Instagram mentions.

Why it worked:If you want someone to talk about your campaign, tie it back to something they’re already talking about. Mean Girls has been called one of the most quotable movies of our time. Is it coincidence that Kind Campaign’s effort launched in conjunction with the movie’s 10 year anniversary AND leveraged one of its most memorable one-liners? I think not. Additionally, Kind Campaign provided both the photo and hashtag they wanted people to share, making it incredibly easy to participate. asked participants to upload photos of their dogs and cats to a campaign website, then asked community members to vote for their favorites. The top 13 photos in each category were then featured in 2014 calendars. Through the campaign, collected 1,400+ photos – 11x the total amount they had captured in the past six years – in just six weeks.

Why it worked:’s customers are seriously passionate about their pets (dog and cat calendars are regular best sellers), so creating a campaign around them naturally drove participation. Encouraging and reminding fans to share their photos boosted virality too: For every person who submitted a photo, 45 more viewed or voted on one. On average, each photo was shared three times, and 360,000+ votes were cast.

Not every brand can become “the next Redbull,” but by making participation easy, increasing shareability and connecting with the right audience, you can make sure your campaign catches on AND drives real business results.