There are so many different metrics we can use to judge the success of a social media campaign:  views, sales figures, donations, likes, even mentions, but perhaps the most important is the intangible.

Was it memorable? Did it resonate with the audience? I asked around the office for the team’s favourite social media campaigns of 2011.

Our favourites don’t necessarily represent the campaigns that have had the highest impact, or the biggest budgets spent on them. They were just good, different, or downright odd.

Anyway, here are our favourites. We’d be interested to read yours …

Diesel’s use of QR codes

Fashion chain Diesel combined Facebook and QR codes to join up the offline experience of in store customers with their friends online.

This is just one example of what’s possible with QR codes and a brilliant way of incorporating real world content into the customers’ virtual profiles.

The Smirnoff Nightlife Exchange Project 

The events on 12th November resulted in 5,000 ‘likes’ and over 8,000 photos uploaded by partygoers. Madonna even selected the winner of a global dance competition.

The campaign may have started off as a blatant attempt to get people to do the brand’s marketing for free, but it became much more about a shared experience – which, of course, is what social media is all about. 

Tweet Pie: the ‘twecipe’ book of 140-character recipes 

Kitchen appliance manufacturer Belling crowdsourced a (very small) recipe book on Twitter. More than 200 recipes were submitted and 50 were selected to be in the book.

The campaign didn’t make a huge noise, but it demonstrates how brands that you wouldn’t necessarily associate with social media are thinking of innovative and interesting ways to promote themselves.

The Muppets Movie 

Disney went to town promoting the Muppets ahead of the movie release. The campaign has been taken to virtually all social media platforms.

You can like Kermit on Facebook, follow the old curmudgeons Statler & Waldorf on Twitter, and add them to one of your Google+ circles.

The Muppets is a beloved childhood brand that holds a special place in may a jaded adult’s heart and if we can learn one thing from Disney’s promotion of the movie it’s understand what you’re loved for, and milk it.

Edge Shave Gel: Random Acts of Kindness 

@EdgeShaveZone began randomly targeting people on Twitter to receive random acts of kindness, part of the brand’s Anti-Irritation Campaign.

Over the course of three months the Twitter account gained around 1,500 followers and the #soirritating hashtag had been used about 6,800 times. A lovely case study in creative thinking.

Extension of the Old Spice 2010 campaign: Old Spice Man vs Fabio

The 2010 campaign worked so well for Old Spice that the brand revived it for 2011 with the addition of Italian Adonis Fabio trying to steal the spotlight.

Much YouTubeing ensued, in the region of 17m views, but sales didn’t see the lift that they did last year. The lesson here is that it’s possible to enjoy the brands social content, but dislike the actual product.


Levi and Water Org: Levi’s Water Tank 

Levi created a Facebook game to educate fans about water conservation.

The better users were at the game, and the more they shared news of the game with others via social media, the more litres of water they unlocked in the game – getting the combined total closer to Levi’s 200m litre goal, at which point it would donate $250,000 to help

Brands have to be wary about requesting likes for charity donations. It’s a tactic that can often backfire, but in this case it worked well.

Behind Bars Live 

May 28th 2011 Staffordshire Police used social media to publish live updates on what life behind bars was like. Will it deter criminals? Who knows, but it’s an innovative way to try, and to create transparency in policing.

KLM Live Reply & KLM Surprise 

KLM created two memorable social media campaigns this year.  

KLM Live, where the brand used employees running around with giant letters to live tweet responses, and KLM Surprise, which involved hunting passengers down and giving them gifts.

Like the Random Acts of Kindness campaign, this is a nice way to reward customers, and build loyalty.

Horrible Histories World

Based on the hugely successful books and TV series, Horrible Histories World is a site where children can explore some of the most gory and spectacular periods of history.

There’s nothing quite like flinging a pig from a medieval catapult. One to watch in 2012.

And then there’s Charlie Sheen…

We raised a collective eyebrow when Sheen turned to Twitter to recruit an intern to manage his social media strategy.

The enterprising spied an opportunity to promote its offering, and the result was reportedly 82,000 replies to the position and 100,000 clicks through to the site, as well as a rash of media coverage for the brand.

On balance, we wouldn’t recommend getting a celebrity going through a very public personal crisis to shill for your brand, but you can’t deny that got more than its share of attention.