What was good in Social Media in 2012


The best of the good in Social Media 2012

Mark Jennings

Guest post from Mark Jennings who has been ‘in digital’ since modems, recognising and capitalising on emerging platforms for brands from Sky to Jimmy Choo; with a focus on media, retail, food and drink and fashion.

Mark gives us his take on the good stuff from 2012.

2012 was a good year for social media with more than 1 billion active monthly users on Facebook, more than 175 million tweets per day and more than 4 billion hours of video watched on YouTube each month.

But to me 2012 was the year when we stopped being fascinated with social media for the sake of social media, and really started using it as a conduit to connect people, as part of integrated campaigns where great content is front and centre – and this is a good thing.

We saw …

  • An obscure war criminal made famous
  • A shaving start up competes with the big guys
  • A brand asking us to MakeItCount
  • Another asking us to see if we were worthy of their Facebook page

And many, many others

I’ve chosen some highlights of successful social media from 2012

1: KONY 2012


  • Could an online video make an obscure war criminal famous?
  • A 30 minute video backed up by a web platform that made it easy to lobby celebrities and policy makers through traditional means and especially social networks

What it achieved:

  • Whatever you might think about the politics, or whether this is the epitome of “slacktivism” – in terms of spreading a message:
    • Fastest growing viral of all time
    • 96 million views of the video on YouTube alone
    • One war criminal is less obscure
    • Showed that long form video content is not dead

2: Dollar Shave Club



  • How do you go from zero to hero in one of the most sewn up markets in the world? Tell it like it is …
  • CEO Mike Durbin’s epic interpretation of the “walk and talk” instantly created brand recognition for his upstart brand in a highly commoditized market dominated by conglomerates.

What it achieved:

  • When this video debuted in March it was an instant sensation garnering roughly 5 million views in its’ first three months - not bad for a video that cost $4,500 to make.
  • Young CEOs everywhere dream of duplicating the launch of DollarShaveClub.com, while ad agencies relentlessly ripped off the idea – a mark of respect in this insidious world
  • Oh, and 12000 customers signed up in the first 2 days


3: Grey Poupon: “The Society of Good Taste”


For those who don’t know - Grey Poupon is a mustard brand that has always marketed itself as the, tongue in cheek, refined person’s choice.  So, how to use social media?

People who wanted to become fans of the Grey Poupon Facebook page were required to apply for a “membership” through “The Society of Good Taste” application. The app scanned users’ Facebook profiles to learn more about interests, friends, etc, and were then automatically assigned a score that determined whether they had good enough taste to be a fan of the Grey Poupon page.

What it achieved:

  • With so many brands on Facebook there’s a lot of noise: this was Grey Poupon’s way of ensuring its Facebook community was engaged, and not just another Like
  • Used Facebook in a disruptive way, with hints of the Comprogear Compression Stockings Pressure Chart or the Burger King ‘Sacrifice your FB friends for a Whopper’ app a few years ago


4: Nike #MakeItCount in 2012


Use the Nike brand to encourage and motivate people to “make it count” in 2012. The campaign focused on fitness and health and incorporating powerful photos, content, and videos corresponding with the “make it count” message. The campaign was cross-channel (Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook); however, the hashtag was what united everything together

The #MakeItCount campaign was launched in January 2012, right around the time when people are checking in on their New Year’s resolutions. The campaign features 11 athletes in three countries. Videos, photos, and links about how these 11 athletes were pushing their boundaries and “making it count” were shared on social channels using the #MakeItCount hashtag. This content was shared virally, and users began sharing their own #MakeItCount experiences and how they were motivating and pushing themselves.

What it achieved:

  • Totally integrated through the line campaign, with social media at the heart
  • Consumers created content but the brand curated it and gave it amplification – a perfect partnership
  • Cut through the highly congested marketing messages in the summer of sport to truly stand out
  • Data from Experian Hitwise shows that Nike achieved a 6% growth in its number of Facebook fans and a 77% boost in engagement on its Facebook page compared to 2% and 59% respectively for Adidas – an official Olympics sponsor


5: Honda #Pintermission


You must know these people, Pinterest addicts. Always pinning, but you wonder if they have time to do the things they pin …

Honda offered $500 each to the most active pinners (as identified by Mashable) to take a 24-hour break from Pinterest (a “Pintermission”) to go out and do what they’ve been pinning about doing.

Each pinner also received a personalized invitation and, if they accepted, they had to set up a personal #Pintermission board where they shared photos of their 24-hour Pinterest break (not during the break, of course).

What it achieved:

  • Raised awareness to the newly created Honda Pinterest account, while encouraging followers to “get out and live life to the fullest.”
  • A real connection between the digital and physical world
  • A disruptive use of social media that challenges our use of networks


6: Sightsavers – Feel Bad Four


Sightsavers, a charity that works in developing countries to prevent avoidable sight loss, enlisted the actor and writer James Corden to front a campaign to coincide with World Sight Day last October.

The campaign included a spoof advert called The Feel Bad Four, directed by the photographer Rankin. The video took a tongue-in-cheek look at different techniques charities adopt when they produce adverts.

In the film, Corden tries four techniques that typically feature in charity advertising: guilt, comedy, empathy and shock.

Realising that none is working, he eventually “levels with” the audience and tells them in simple terms about blindness in the developing world and how easy it is to cure it.

What it achieved:

  • More than 8,500 unique visitors viewed the campaign website
  • While the total audience reached by print media was more than 2.5 million.
  • 3 per cent increase in likes on its Facebook page, and attracted hundreds of new followers on Twitter.
  • Traditional charity marketing was challenged to be more relevant and sharable
  • The campaign got an unheard of 10/10 in ThirdSector magazine

Oh, and I planned that campaign so am feeling rather proud.

Celebrating a year since I stepped out from the agency world with my own consulting venture: Road Less Travelled.  I help brands and agencies solve digital problems through strategy, tactics and hands-on support.

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Mark’s broadcast is in Week 1 of the show

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