Sometimes it takes an unexpected smack in the face to get yourself out there.
In a super-saturated world of digital interaction, standing out on social media is far from easy. But the brands that do it right are the ones that get noticed and come out on top. I’m talking about the big risk-takers, the laughter-makers and the finger-shakers.
The following social media campaigns deserve a big nod for their ballsy execution and resulting success. Take a look and get inspired – you won’t be disappointed.
Dollar Shave Club’s genius video spots
Here’s a brilliant social media campaign that made a big name for a small startup, with almost no other supplemental marketing.
The tongue-in-cheek video campaign has earned Dollar Shave Club a multitude of initial success; in the first two days following their first video’s release, the company’s servers crashed from over 12,000 orders.
This particular campaign is one of the ballsiest I’ve seen – not just because the brand messaging is brief and explicit, but because Dollar Shave Club took a huge risk. For a startup business with an extremely limited budget, they poured a lot of what they had into this video with nothing but Google ads as backup.
A year later, CEO and advertising front-man Michael Dubin starred in a second video that’s no less brilliant than the first. This time for butt wipes “exclusively for members of Dollar Shave Club”, the brash, manly persuasion produced a plethora of undeniable hilarity.
They’ve skipped over safer conventions and used punchy humor to create something completely unique. And although humor is one of the touchiest (and potentially most difficult) ways to market, they’ve obviously perfected it.
Chipotle’s “Hacked” Twitter account for their 20th anniversary
Delicious Mexican food chain Chipotle had an offbeat idea for part of its 20th anniversary promotional project. The social campaign, titled “Adventurrito”, challenged fans to solve puzzles and trivia questions for a chance to win free burritos for the next 20 years.
As part of the hidden clues to one such puzzle, the brand secretly orchestrated what appeared to be an illicit hacking episode on its own Twitter account. Spouting fragmented tweets that sounded like bits of a texted conversation between management, Chipotle’s Twitter account accrued over 4000 new followers and considerable attention from the online media.
Image from Trendhunter
In an interview with Mashable, Chipotle rep Chris Arnold said it best:
“We thought that people would pay attention, that it would cut through people’s attention and make them talk, and it did that … It was definitely thought out: We didn’t want it to be harmful or hateful or controversial.”
A clever marketing tactic that could be the first of its kind, Chipotle’s stunt may see its fair share of imitators as other brands catch wind of its success.
Crisis Relief Singapore’s “Liking isn’t helping”
In a series of down-to-earth ads for Crisis Relief Singapore, ad agency Publicis has managed to jerk our attention in a way few others do.
Using real-life photojournalism of third world crises, the creators of this campaign superimposed hands making the unmistakable “thumbs up” of Facebook likes in front of distressed subjects. The steadfast tagline in each image reads “Liking isn’t helping”, followed by encouragement to become a volunteer.
Image from Crisis Relief Singapore
The bold fabrication of these troubling scenes paired with clever copy addresses a rampant modern apathy that’s otherwise easy to look past. It kicks us in the feels and amplifies that little bit of guilt that any social media user can recognize.
It’s an incredibly effective ad campaign with potent persuasion to become a volunteer, accomplishing just what the organization is striving for.
Kmart’s “Ship my pants” and “Big gas savings” video spots
When nothing else is working, potty humor may just do the trick. And in Kmart’s case, it catalyzed two viral hits.
In an attempt to reach the attention of long-disinterested customers and become a renewed contender in the retail industry, this 50-year-old chain busted out a series of punny video spots. It’s another video campaign that took a big risk for an even bigger payoff.
What snags viewers’ ears quicker than an illusory swear word? This is the kind of surprise wordplay that walks the line between clever and distasteful, carrying mildly offensive potential with every instance of the pun-laden catch phrase.
But despite the edgy themes, people love these ads. In its first week, “Ship my pants” garnered 11.6 million views on YouTube and almost 40,000 Facebook likes. “Big gas savings” didn’t make quite the same dent, but still has over 6 million views at the time I’m writing this.
So there you have it, folks. These are undoubtedly four of the riskiest and most offbeat campaigns in recent history – but do any other ballsy social campaigns come to mind? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.