As Twitter turns 10, Marketing Week teamed up with social intelligence company BrandWatch to come up with a list of some of the most impactful campaigns on the social media site over the past decade.
#YesWeCan Obama Election Campaign 2008
01 Aug – 30 Nov 2008
Total mentions: 2,600
The #YesWeCan hashtag has been strongly associated with Barack Obama’s 2008 election campaign, but in fact less than 3,000 people actually used the hashtag in the three-month run up to the campaign, despite 69.5 million Obama voters who likely knew the slogan. Hashtags were not very commonly used in campaigns at that point and Twitter was still very new to most people. Social networking was just dawning as an accepted means of communication, hence 2008’s search for a new US President was famously dubbed The Facebook Election, but it still had huge significance for what Twitter would grow to become.
The biggest spike occurred on November 5th in reaction to Obama’s acceptance speech.
#BeatCancer 2011 by Livestrong
01 Aug – 30 Nov 2010
Total mentions: 459,000
In 2010, Livestrong aimed to beat its own Guinness World Record for the ‘Most Widespread Social Networking Message’. And it did, by a long way. Having gained close to 210,000 mentions in 24 hours during the 2009 campaign, this was dwarfed in 2010 by more than 300,000 tweets and 1.67 billion impressions. PayPal and SWAGG donated $0.05 for every mention with the hashtag to cancer charities.
Celebrity tweeters getting behind the message included Khloe and Kim Kardashian, Donnie Wahlberg, Freddy Amazin’ and Ariana Grande.
#WantAnR8 by Audi
01 Sept – 30 Nov 2011
Total mentions: 27,000
Inspired by a tweet in response to their Super Bowl advert, in 2011 Audi launched a campaign encouraging consumers to be creative in letting them know why they wanted to drive the brand new R8. The lucky social media winner would get the keys to an Audi R8 for a day. Ultimately, not only did the winner of the competition get an R8 for the day, so did the social media-savvy Super Bowl fan who inspired the campaign with her #WantAnR8 tweet.
#40Dollars by The White House
01 Dec 2011 – 28 Feb 2012
Total mentions: 62,000
By now, a veteran of hashtag campaigns, The White House took its fight over payroll tax to Twitter in Dec 2011 with their #40Dollars campaign. The $40 figure was the average amount that American workers would save under the existing payroll tax ruling. On December 20th, @whitehouse tweeted “What does $40 mean to you? #40Dollars” to their 2.5 million followers (now 9.5m).
Sixty two thousand Americans responded via Twitter, including @AshleyESweeney, who tweeted: “#40dollars means driving from Chicago to Battle Creek, Michigan, to see my family this Christmas.”
#ShareACoke by Coca-Cola
01 Apr 2013 – 31 Aug 2013
Total mentions: 160,000
Initially trialled in Australia, during the summer of 2013 the #ShareACoke campaign went global. Coca-Cola created 1,000 different named labels for their bottles in stores — ranging from Maria and James to Superstar and Soulmate — each adorned with the hashtag #shareacoke. More than 150,000 bottles were sold and the first summer of the campaign bagged 160,000 mentions on Twitter and 740 million impressions.
Even the Royals weren’t safe from this campaign as Coca Cola used specially created bottles to toast the arrival of Prince George. The campaign was endorsed by celebrities, with many getting involved as shown below in the most mentioned tweeters.
@TweetACoffee by Starbucks
01 Oct 2013 – 31 Dec 2013
Total mentions: 122,650
Launched on 28 October, ‘Tweet a coffee’ let consumers give a $5 gift card to a friend by putting both “@tweetacoffee” and the friend’s handle in a tweet. To do so, users had to link their Starbucks account to Twitter and their credit card to the account. Just over a month after launch, the campaign had already generated more than $180,000 in additional sales for Starbucks. The real coup for Starbucks was that it had also linked 54,000 users’ Twitter IDs to their mobile phones and customer IDs building up a detailed profile of their customers.
#nomakeupselfie by Cancer Research UK
01 March 2014 – 31 May 2014
Total mentions: 160,000
Number of impressions: 936.5 million
Cancer Research UK raised £8 million via #nomakeupselfie despite not coming up with the idea. By piggy-backing on something they spotted online – a number of people posting selfies to raise cancer awareness using the #nomakeupselfie hashtag – they generated a huge amount of cash. On the morning of §9 March, the team noticed a huge surge in interest and the charity reacted quickly, tweeting the first and only fundraising ask: a selfie of Dr. Kat Arney, the organisation’s science information officer, holding a sign that said “We love your #NoMakeUpSelfie” and included a text code for donations.
The campaign was easy to join in and the call to action was simple. Whether you were posting a photo, or donating money, all you needed was a phone. Although the trend started in the UK for a UK Charity, 34% of tweets were from US profiles and a further 5% from Europe proving that hashtags transcend language barriers.
#IceBucketChallenge by ALS Association
01 June – 30th September 2014
Total mentions: 9,578,772
A small initiative that began in a Massachusetts living room spiralled into a global social media phenomenon in July and August of 2014. It encouraged a competitive spirit, with each participant trying to make their video more amusing, absurd or outrageous than the last. It perfectly embraced the community spirit of social media for a very worthy cause.
Similar to the #nomakeupselfie campaign, it was an accidental campaign not initially set up by the charity it ended up promoting. Celebrities from Rita Ora to Lady Gaga as well as business leaders and political figures including Bill Gates and George Bush embraced the challenge. Mentions peaked at over 1.3 million in just 24 hours on 20 August when Justin Bieber took the challenge twice in one weekend to raise awareness.
#LikeAGirl by Always
01 June 2014 – 31 Aug 2014
Total mentions: 169,000
In the summer of 2014, Always managed the seemingly insurmountable task of getting women to willingly share a campaign about feminine hygiene products. Instead of focusing on the reliability of their product as they had done in previous campaigns, they focused this time on the psychology of their consumers. By turning the phrase ‘like a girl’ on its head, redefining the commonly derogatory term as a positive phrase. In a new, inspiring way the brand used using social media and PR to spread the message and struck a chord with their market and beyond.
The even spread of interests of Twitter users participating in the conversation for the #LikeAGirl campaign shows that Always managed to target girls from every walk of life, not just one particular sector.
#ThisGirlCan by Sport England
01 Jan 2015 – 31 Mar 2015
Total mentions: 180,000
Sport England’s nationwide campaign to get women and girls moving regardless of shape, size and ability made a huge impact on social media in the month when we least want to leave the sofa. The first campaign of its kind to feature “women who sweat and jiggle as they exercise”, 13 million people have viewed the flagship This Girl Can film online. The campaign was designed to prompt a change in attitudes and help boost women’s confidence.
Although the biggest spike in the use of the hashtag was on the day the campaign launched, interest sustained over the course of two months with an extra boost on International Women’s Day.