In 2015, a few social marketing campaigns really stood out. This isn’t a recap or a ‘best of,’ it’s more of a ‘here’s what these brands did right’ for some inspiration! From the NHS to pet food brands, these brands have managed to stand out with their imaginative campaigns.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) won an award at the Masters of Marketing for a social media campaign they ran last year during National Blood Week. The campaign centered around the fact the number of blood donors in the UK has fallen by a huge 40% in the last decade, a number which needs to increase as blood transplants are critical in saving lives. Once someone has signed up, they are usually lifelong donors, and so those aged 17-24 year olds were the primary target. Since the issue of blood transplants is relatively invisible unless you yourself have been affected by it, the NHSBT had to think of a way to bring it into mainstream consciousness- they did this in partnership with ‘Engine’ and produced the ‘Missing Type’ campaign.

The Missing Type was to be rolled out around the UK in recognisable locations- mainly brands and places, and the three main blood type letters; ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘O’ were removed. The aim was to create a buzz- people asking why the letters were removed and investigating further, the letters were used to highlight that if not enough people donate, these blood types will go missing in years to come. Downing Street took part on their famous street sign, as did many major news publications and stores such as Waterstones.



The campaign was a huge success, going viral as over a thousand brands and organisations participated. Econsultancy’s online blog published some results from the campaign, among them are some impressive figures; 2bn people were reached, 30,000 new donors registered during National Blood Week, 27,000 tweets were posted containing #MissingType or #GiveBlood hashtags.

Last Year on Valentine’s Day, a huge ersatz X-ray machine was set up in Santa Monica, California. The Ad Council and R/GA were behind the PSA, named ‘Love Has No Labels,’ and was based around an idea by Wendy Clark, Coca- Cola’s President of Marketing. The three minute video of skeletons dancing, hugging and kissing before revealing themselves instantly went viral, and behind Kony 2012 is the most viewed community and activism campaign of all time. The campaign hoped to highlight prejudices, as Nick Law, global chief creative officer at R/GA said, “an important subtext to all of this was for people to recognize their own prejudices, it’s more than a metaphor; it’s actually a bit of a heightened demonstration.” The video now has over 56 million views on YouTube, over a billion impressions in its first two months on social media (according to the Ad Council) and won a record 8 Lions in Cannes.

‘Puppyhood’ is a video created for pet food brand Purina. Buzzfeed regularly produces content with the same tone as these ones, and their engagement level is usually extremely high with numbers of the ‘shares’ on them in the millions which is why it was a logical step for them to start partnering with brands- they’re not heavily branded- this isn’t shot in a TV advert style but rather featured in an unobtrusive manner to complement the feature rather than dominate it. It centres around a man finding his ‘soulmate’ in the puppy with scenes of him teaching his new pet ‘Chloe’ about 80s pop music and trying to create a duet on the piano with her- the sketch is unpolished and charming which contributes to it received over 8 million views on YouTube. According to AdWeek, this advert came third in their ’20 most viral ads of 2015′ piece, beaten only by Android and Disney.