Looking back at the best of social media

Topics Social Media

In the year gone by, the average social media user in India scrolled through some 360 feet of content everyday on the net. That’s about 1.5 times the height of the Qutub Minar! With so many brands, and content producers, actively targeting and chasing each one of us, it is not surprising that some outstanding work was produced in 2019. Both in India, and globally.

Social media campaigns especially, if done right, can stoke, evoke and ignite consumer interest and involvement in many more ways than we ever thought was possible before. Not only that, they can fundamentally change the equation, and relationship, between the consumer and the brand. So, before we gaze at 2020 with the hope that there will be high-voltage, highly-charged, incredibly-creative, and ground-breaking social media campaigns in the year ahead, it would be nice to look back at the best-in-class work of the past 12 months. 

P&G’s Jhappi Van and the whole heart-tugging and hugging … the list could go on and on. Many brands did a superb job in trying to communicate not just out-of-the-box, but tried to break societal stereotypes, and challenge the status quo.

My favourite Indian social media campaign by far, last year, was the #ShutThePhoneUp campaign by Manforce. It was real. It was scary. It sent a chill up your spine. There was no hype. There was no bluster. Just cold facts. Hard-hitting. Bare-knuckles. For a condom brand to take up cudgels in quite the way that they did, calls for guts, and gumption. Such are the brands that are truly maximising the medium, and the message.

Globally, the best-of-the-best came from three brands: Dove, Snapchat and Nike. Dove’s powerful #ShowUs. Working with Getty Images they were able to catalogue of over 5,000 images from all around the world. A beautiful, beautiful, beautiful campaign.

Dove in fact went one step further: To support paternity leave for dads everywhere. Dove Men+Care released a new global campaign named “Dear Future Dads” on Father’s Day. Highlighting the importance of equal time spent with children for both parents, Dove created a film featuring a group of dads who share advices and personal opinions for future dads on why they should spare time to help grow their children, much as their wives do. 

After Nike and Air Jordan partnership, Snapchat seemed to work like a mini-sneaker store last year on social media. Adidas’ old-and-gold sneaker, Falcon W, rolled out on a Snapchat show called Fashion 5 Ways. Being one of the most popular Snapchat shows, users on the show could swipe up and buy the shoe via the app, and the buying process was supported by Shopify. According to Adidas, the sales potential was 100 per cent and the stocks were sold out in just six hours. Pure commerce. But fabulous.

Another interesting campaign on Snapchat was the launch of the BMW X2. When someone swiped on the ad, it opened the camera and a gold car appeared in the frame. A person could then virtually walk around the car and see all its details. Snapchat called this a way for people to “interact and play with a 3D augmented reality version of a product before considering buying it”. Again product and technology working in tandem. Resulting in a perfect user experience.

To coincide with National Women’s Day, Nike launched its “dream crazier” campaign. The idea was to help shatter the sexist stereotypes aimed at women in sports encouraging them to dream crazier. Narrated by Serena Williams, this campaign highlighted athletes such as Simone Biles, Daysha DelValle, The Honeybeez, and Manal Rostom. With stories centred around prominent female athletes who have broken the barriers of sexism, this campaign had a lot of social weight behind it. 

The social media space is getting hotter. And more creative. And competitive. 2020 will surely see more strategy, more substance, more sizzle.

The writer is an advertising and media veteran

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