5 Creative Online Marketing Campaigns That’ll Get Your Wheels Turning

Online Marketing Campaigns

Each week, in our Mid-Week Marketing Mash-Up, we bring you the advice of five must-read marketing articles in just two minutes or less.

Ad campaigns are pretty much everywhere, no matter what we’re doing or where we are—which means that we’re so accustomed to them that we tend to just tune them out.

But every once in a while, there’ll be something that really catches our attention—a marketing campaign that’s worth a double-take. And not just for the “consumer” in us, but for the “marketer” in us to learn from.

Here are five recent examples that have had that powerful impact. What can we, as marketers, take away from each?

  1. When A Campaign Goes Viral: #AmtrakResidency Garners 21,000 Mentions In Six Days: This campaign started with author Alexander Chee, who casually mentioned in an interview with a writing organization that his favorite place to write was on the train. He said he wished “Amtrak had residencies for writers.” The folks at Amtrak thought it was a brilliant idea. So, they started a program “designed to allow creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment.” (Read more details about it on the Amtrak blog.) The #AmtrakResidency hashtag was mentioned over 21,000 times in less than a week, and Amtrak’s Twitter grew by 10%. The Takeaway: Put your feelers out online and listen to your target audience—they may already be talking about your industry. Let them light the fire for your next campaign.
  2. Dove’s Latest Campaign: A Real Beauty: This video is a part of Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, and it’s gone viral throughout social media. (Click through to watch.) In the video, you’ll find that Dove hired a forensic artist to draw a woman twice—once based on how the woman described herself and then again based on how someone else described them. The result? Every one of the women were more beautiful in the portrait based on the description given by someone else than they were in the portrait based on their own description of their self. This particular video didn’t have a specific call to action—it was simply about brand voice. The Takeaway: Does it eat at you that there’s no call to action at the end of this video? “If you have truly amazing content that creates emotional responses, you don’t have to tell people to cry, laugh, or smile.” If you have something powerful—use it.
  3. Can Mountain Dew’s Brand Newsroom Pull A Red Bull?: “In 2013, Mountain Dew created Green-Label.com, a central media hub serving a crucial a segment of its consumer base: Young, urban males.” They publish 8-12 original pieces of content every day. “In its first six months, Green-Label.com has averaged 10 page views per visit, with average time spent at four minutes per user—impressive stats indeed. The 65 million impressions on Facebook and Twitter are just icing on the cake.” The Takeaway: This is content marketing at its best—publish often and consistently, and see the results.
  4. Ban Bossy Campaign Shows Branded Content Who’s Boss: The “Ban Bossy” campaign, co-sponsored by LeanIn.org and Girl Scouts of America, “aims to eliminate the stigma girls face when trying to assert themselves, lest they be labeled bossy, pushy, or that other ‘b’ word.” It’s promoting a linguistic ban against the word “bossy.” Many famous influencers are backing this campaign, and the pledging website already has over 100,000 pledges against the word. “The Ban Bossy website is decked out with video components, shareable graphic cards, downloadable PDF tip sheets, and ‘the pledge,’ which urges users to spread the message.” The Takeaway: People love “taking a stand” on social media—if your brand is trying to promote a cause, social media is definitely the place to market it.
  5. How a Sewer Company Successfully Took It to the Gutter for Engagement: You wouldn’t think of a sewer company doing very well in social media. But, San Fransisco’s Water Power Sewer is driving wild engagement with a creative campaign all about “#2.” With ads like “Your #2 is my #1″ and “No one deals with more crap than I do” placed strategically around the city, they’ve done what many a tech company can only dream of—created the opportunity for user-driven content. People are snapping pictures and sharing like crazy. The campaign was a huge risk (obviously it’s a little bit of “potty humor”), but it’s a creative way to raise awareness about their services for the city. The Takeaway: User-generated content is powerful. And sometimes, you just have to be willing to take risks.

What are your thoughts about these particular marketing campaigns? Are they winners or losers in your book?