How do you authentically capture the essence of a capital city’s younger generation? You get under their skin and ask them to share their own stories – after inspiring them first with one of their own heroes: in this case the grime artist Skepta.
This iconic social-first three-minute video meticulously understood its audience, used influencers authentically, hit a nerve globally and even fuelled parody versions: showing just how much it tapped into the zeitgeist. It’s a high-energy, brilliantly crafted piece of content featuring the voices and experiences of London’s younger habitants who boasted of their daily sporting achievements. It took the idea of “one-upmanship” to another level and spurred a phenomenal response on social media.
The campaign had a massive talk-ability factor, with high-profile individuals including the Mayor of London and Drake sharing it organically. It was also #1 trending video on YouTube and received 9 million views of the full film with over 18,000 comments (way above average). Nike created over 10,000 opportunities for young people to play sports and many inspirational stories followed. It rightfully took home seven Lions, including a Titanium and a Grand Prix.
In 2017, the Polish Government started tree logging in protected areas of Europe's last lowland primeval forest, the Białowieża Forest. Logging on this scale had not been seen in the Białowieża for decades and there was little awareness of the illegal destruction going on behind closed doors.
Protests from NGOs, scientists and concerned citizens were largely being ignored, and Greenpeace needed to activate different kinds of protesters. The objectives were to educate the public on the unique value of the Białowieża Forest, as well as to collect over 100,000 petition signatures that could influence the Polish Government to finally end the logging.
Greenpeace launched with three tactical executions: an online video made on a Minecraft Map and narrated by Poland's most iconic wildlife documentary film voice artist and a photography exhibition called “Landscapes from Białowieża Forest", as well as with gaming influencers who created over six hours of content. This activity was followed by a 28-minute-long documentary film premiere about the Białowieża Forest's current situation led by a famous Polish actor. The premiere took place in a theatre and was live streamed on Facebook. The finale was a Twitch live event, where the map was shown with all the trees, but one, logged down (#1 Twitch event in Poland, #4 in Europe).
Brands have infiltrated the worlds of gamers with mixed receptions, but Greenpeace reached up to Minecraft fans worldwide with a focus on beautifully crafted, interactive content. It harnessed the gaming community (often young, curious and politically motivated) and showed what is possible when you meet consumers in their favourite environments.
Microsoft, the producer of the game, endorsed the piece of work globally and it reached an estimated 100 million people worldwide with 170,000 signatures to increase the size of the National Park. Thanks to the massive effort of ordinary people, NGO campaigners and the media, the Minister of Environment responsible for green-lighting the logging was dismissed. Since the beginning of 2018, the mass-scale cutting of Białowieża Forest has almost all but stopped.
Danzhai was one of the many unknown villages hidden in the hills of southern China. In 2014, Wanda Group, China's largest real estate developer, chose Danzhai as the site of its new eco-tourist village as part of its push to develop rural areas. The group aimed to create 2,000 jobs in Danzhai and help lift at least 10,000 locals out of poverty by increasing annual income above the poverty line. However, with little global or local awareness of Danzhai, the eco village opened for business with low tourist arrivals and revenue remained stagnant.
In response, Wanda Group launched ‘52 Mayors of Danzhai’, a social influencer initiative designed to boost tourism to the village. In June 2017, online recruitment opened for a rotating mayor programme and the group received more than 18,000 applications. 52 volunteer influencers were selected to act as ‘official’ mayors for a week of the year. The pool of mayors was made up of people from diverse backgrounds and very specific online communities. Each was invited to Danzhai to work and promote the appeal of the village as an eco-tourist destination to their own followers, with a focus on their particular area of niche.
An online Key Opinion Leader who rose to fame as a food blogger served as the first mayor of Danzhai. On arrival in the village, she created an interactive map of local culinary specialties and where to find them, as well as organising a fundraising concert and hosting a series of livestreams showcasing Danzhai's culture and crafts. Regular posts announced the arrival of each mayor and chronicled their work in the village and the message was amplified via a special account for Danzhai on WeChat, China’s most popular social networking app.
Wanda Group leveraged a particularly unique strategy to reach a wide set of very specific audiences, tapping into online communities and sub-genre interest groups. By April 2018, over 4.5 million tourists had visited this previously unknown village, a 400% increase. These visits generated US $331 million in tourism income by the end of 2017, a 288% increase from the previous year. Most importantly, the boom in tourism had a real impact on the lives of Danzhai’s residents. More than 10,800 people were lifted out of poverty, representing over 1 in 3 Danzhai residents previously living below the poverty line. Over 12,000 jobs have been created so far due to the programme’s impact.
2019 saw a lot of successful social commerce work and a fine example is Diesel’s SIDE:BIZ, which empowered its followers to promote their own “collection” of clothing. It was a funny, self-deprecating initiative which saw the brand increase its sales, reward its most loyal and entrepreneurial customers and create a lot of brand love in the process.
With the help of five self-ironic influencers, Diesel dropped dedicated pieces of content on social media to encourage everybody to be a follower and open their own SIDE:BIZ - a unique link that allowed anyone to open their own Diesel eCommerce store. Every time a friend clicked on the link to shop, they went to Diesel eCommerce and were rewarded with discounts, free products and one-of-a-kind experiences.
37,000 SIDE:BIZ stores opened in just the first week and eCommerce visits increased by 365% (more than any other influencer campaign had yielded). Online sales increased by 33% and it was Diesel’s most successful piece of work in terms of sales since 2012.
In the 2012 Presidential Election, there was a clear income gap in voting. The US Census Bureau found that voter participation was 48% for those with a family income of under 20,000 dollars, versus 78% for those with a family income of over 475,000 dollars. One of the biggest obstacles in the path to visiting a polling station is time. Low-income and minority Americans are three times more likely to have difficulty finding their polling place, six times more likely to wait for one hour or more in line and three times less likely to receive requested mail-in ballots. For these families, voting could mean missing hours of work.
From Boost Mobile, this initiative brought voting stations to low-income, high-minority communities via Boost’s retail outlets. Turning Boost Mobile stores into official voting stations was a monumental challenge and took a team of 30 people calling and following up with 817 counties for six months. On 8 November 2016, people voted in Boost Mobile stores across the United States, marking an unprecedented partnership between government and a corporation in an election.
A simple (but brilliant) idea and slick execution saw the brand transcend its product and service offering to become something of real, meaningful value: enabling US citizens to access their fundamental right to vote when previously they were deprived of it.
While long lines persisted in many low-income neighbourhoods, voting in Boost precincts ran smoothly and voter turnout increased by 23% from the 2012 presidential election. A get-out-the-vote event hosted in partnership with Chance the Rapper and online voter participation platform, Turbovote, led to the highest early voting turnout in Chicago history.
On the same day that Trump signed the executive order banning those from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 90 days and halting the Syrian refugee programme, Danish broadcaster TV2 released a short film celebrating acceptance and diversity.
Set on a soundstage, the ad from Copenhagen-based &Co shows Danish people grouped together in boxes based on appearances or surface-level characteristics (high-earners, people we trust, people we avoid). Those people begin to move out of their boxes into groups with whom they share something more personal in common with, a challenge to an increasingly damaging ‘us vs. them’ narrative. It was a film with a beautiful idea at its heart that went global – harnessing the immense power of social media to spark conversation.
The piece of work introduced TV2’s new strategy: making content for everyone, instead of further segmentation. People like Richard Branson, Justin Trudeau and Ellen DeGeneres shared the film along with prominent Danes and it became a unifying example in the global conversation. Viewers translated it into more than 30 languages and it is one of the most shared and engaging ads ever with more than 8 million interactions and more than 284 million unpaid views.
All That We Share was mentioned in media around the globe and created PR approximately worth 100 million dollars.