In 2023 it has been estimated that 4.9 billion people use social media across the world. With social media being a part of people’s everyday lives, it’s no wonder the use of advertising through these platforms is favoured. In fact, 90% of users follow at least one brand on a platform, and 76% have been influenced and purchased something they saw on social media. With this in mind, brands are having to work harder than ever to come up with new ways to market on social media. Being original and authentic has never been more important, so I thought I’d share a few of my favourite social media campaigns from the past year:
Jack Wills has made an epic comeback this year in my eyes. The brand has always been quintessentially British, being the ‘cooler younger sister’ to more grown-up brands such as Barbour. However, in previous years its pricing has not been reflective, and the brand lost its way in terms of target audience, reporting a £7.5 million loss in 2019.
However, this year, Jack Wills has leaned into influencer marketing by teaming up with TikTok’s hottest creators, including Love Island’s Dami Hope and Grace Barry. They have taken their chosen influencers on holidays and to festivals, where they wear Jack Wills branded clothing and bags, whilst the influencers enjoy and create their own content for their social platforms.
Each of them had varying audiences, meaning a much wider demographic was covered – from young teens to older, more mature audiences. Furthermore, the dynamic between these influencers makes for great content for Jack Wills’ own social media, and I personally look forward to seeing where the latest Jack Wills trip has been. My favourite influencer trips were the ski trip to Folie Douce and of course the Ibiza trip.
Another brand which I think has great use of social media marketing is Nando’s. It’s well known for bringing in a diverse range of customers and having a real sense of community. This is reflected in its latest advert where it sourced multiple influencers and people from all backgrounds. The advert shows a group of young teens talking about their last Nando’s meal on the back of the bus. Essentially the advert recreates a normal conversation amongst teens but taps into that unique Nando’s ‘banter’.
The use of influencers is not uncommon for Nando’s, and one of its biggest successes was the use of its exclusive ‘Black Card’. It was given to selected celebrities, essentially giving them a pass to unlimited free Nando’s for a year. A simple idea which generated a lot of press coverage, and further cemented the brand in British pop culture.
Furthermore, Nando’s is not afraid to use meme marketing on its social media, which is perfect for the target demographic. The brand tends to attract young people, so this approach has meant that Nando’s has stayed in the conversation. Rather than shying away from terms such as ‘cheeky Nando’s’ – the brand has embraced and capitalised on it.
The trend of sharing a picture of your plate in the restaurant is also encouraged, generating a huge amount of organic coverage. Other ways they have generated coverage is by having their own podcast, inviting influencers to discuss current topics in the news over a Nando’s meal. In addition, the food brand also has a private pop-up stall at Wireless Festival every year. This three-day festival hosts the biggest names in UK rap, and has over 150,000 attendees across the weekend. This further keeps the brand relevant and comes back to that sense of community and British culture.
Finally, one of the most successful social media and marketing campaigns of 2023 has to be Barbie – and I’m not just talking about the movie! Between 2011 and 2015 Barbie doll sales dropped by a third, mostly because the brand was still promoting unrealistic body stereotypes, and certain demographics didn’t feel represented enough. They counteracted this by making more inclusive dolls, however people were still seeing ‘Barbie’ as a beauty standard, and not the empowerment icon that women and young girls wanted and needed.
Mattel set out to change this, and for Greta Gerwig’s move ‘Barbie’, Mattel reportedly spent $150 million on its marketing budget – more than the film cost to make! The list of brands that have curated Barbie-themed products since its release is endless and personally, I think it works in favour of both the marketing of the brand and the film. With the Barbie movie hosting a star-studded cast, and placing an emphasis on female empowerment trying to re-correct its dated stereotypes of body image, so it’s no surprise brands have hopped on the bandwagon. Even John Goldstine, the president of Warner Bro’s global marketing team said: “Some brands jumped on the bandwagon to create their own pink items, to capitalise off the Barbie buzz”.
From themed Tangle Teezer hairbrushes to Crocs, clothing brands such as Primark, Boohoo, In The Style and Forever 21, makeup brands like NYX, OPI and Truly Beauty all created pink-themed collections.
Air B’n’B even promoted a Barbie dream house in Malibu to rent with authentic pink walls and roof. However, the brand’s best marketing concept has to be the ‘This Barbie is’ poster. The original poster shows the characters of the movie with the caption ‘This Barbie is” and then titles such as lawyer or even mermaid!
Image taken from the Barbie Selfie Generator (https://www.barbieselfie.ai/uk/)
Mattel made a clever website called ‘Barbie Selfie Generator’. Audiences, with a touch of FOMO (fear of missing out) uploaded a picture of themselves and changed the caption to “This Barbie is…” and inserted their job title or something fun like ‘This Barbie is… a girl boss’. The trend quickly took over social media, with many businesses using it to showcase their female employees which further reinforced the female empowerment theme that Mattel wanted to tap into with the new film.
The key takeaway from all of this is that if your business does not have social media, you are missing out on a huge number of people potentially keeping your brand front of mind. Regardless of your demographic, if you are serious about growing your business you need to have a social media presence that well represents your brand and appeals to your customers.
Being consistent is important but focus on how you can engage your followers with things they will want to know about. All of the campaigns above are successful because people find it engaging, and can relate or want to be part of a wider community.