What is a campaign on Social Media?

It was the year 1959 – A little more than a decade after the end of WWII. Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), then a relatively new agency, launched an advertising campaign for Volkswagen that to this day is among the greatest of them all. Befitting of contemporary social media tactics using microcontent, the campaign’s tag line was “Think Small“. DDB ran what is considered the most successful ad campaign in the twentieth century , invoking simplistic imagery and placing emphasis on German precision (Lemon, anyone?). This campaign is also considered the most revolutionary, selling to the American masses a small foreign car at a tenuous time. Recently, DDB’s Volkswagen campaign was brought to life in the reels of Mad Men – itself an iconic show, where advertising campaigns are a prominent backdrop to the dramatic lives of the lead characters.

Campaigns are the cornerstone of a brand’s efforts across multiple media channels. We aren’t just talking about online or offline, but across platforms, decades and even geographies. In the minds of advertising and marketing cadres, campaigns are definable, understandable and implementable. They thread brand personality, imagery and resonance together in the minds of the consumer through repeated exposure across print, TV, radio and now, social media.

Very simply, we remember brand campaigns for years.

Yet despite the undisputed appeal of campaigns over generations, it still begs the primal question:

What is a Campaign on Social Media?

At Unmetric, we have something incredibly exciting in the works to discover and explore brand campaigns on Social Media. As we hurtle towards launch, we also took a stab at tackling this burning question by looking at the mutual feature set of campaigns across Social Media. Here is what we came up with.

On Social Media, Campaigns are….

1) Not Just Another Place To Put Content: Campaigns on Social Media are not just repurposed content from other media. They take on their own diverse shapes and formats. Sometimes a campaign has a noteworthy GIF, other times it’s a timely meme or a 6 second vine spot – all of them specific to the allowances of Social Media platforms.

2) Big And Small And Everything In Between: Whether a brand runs weekly Facebook posts or the occasional tweet with a brand hashtag, campaigns take on all forms – and they aren’t necessarily identified by budget or production value. In fact, brands run micro-campaigns all the time – to showcase a new store, newsjack an event, celebrate a festival or tease customers about a new product in the works.

3) Just Half The Story: On social media, content put out by campaigns is just the start. Engagement and interactions by the brand’s audience that imbibe such content with its virality and popular appeal make up the other half – these make the campaign take on a life of its own. One could even argue that these days it’s no longer enough if a brand just runs a campaign. The campaign stands out when it has gone viral, when its hashtag enters the common lexicon, when its content made the evening news and everyone sat up and paid attention. That’s what makes a really good campaign.

You can get a sneak peek of our upcoming campaign developments very soon in our ‘Continuing Innovation’ series on the Unmetric Blog. Stay Tuned!