5 Top Innovative Social Media Campaigns from 2012

by Nick Cicero on Jan 02, 2013

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The creative services industry is full of people with innovative ideas coming from all walks of life. From copywriters to strategists, account planners to designers, and every profession in between, the influx of digital real estate has opened up an entire new world to create unlimited experiences. With more and more interactive social campaigns being put together by brands, it’s tough to pin down who is really the best.

As you’ll see below, some campaigns need only one platform to create a thriving community, while others connected with their community on multiple levels. That’s why social is forever evolving; there’s no one formula that can be duplicated, you have to test it for yourself.

The following is a list of innovative social media campaigns from 2012 that caught our attention for the ways they have brought together the web this year.

1. Oreo – “Daily Twist”

The essence of a social media campaign, Oreo’s Daily Twist campaign was able to create discussions year-round through engaging Facebook photos and status updates anchored around one big idea.

Celebrating Oreo’s 100th birthday they created 100 days worth of unique images highlighting a number of significant events in pop culture that culturally touch upon a number of events across many verticals relating to everyone.

Oreo found a sweet spot, so to speak, of highly relevant content and brand images.

This connection to a larger audience created a ton of conversation and engagement on their Facebook page.

On June 25th they released a rainbow Oreo image to kick off their series in recognition of LGBT rights, which sparked controversy on the post itself with more than 20,000 comments, and fueled an earned media bonanza spanning outlets across a number of audience groups including Andrew Breitbart’s Big GovernmentThe Chicago Tribune, ABC News and Mashable. 

But when they weren’t causing nationwide debates, they were there to entertain.

The Daily Twist website served as a hub for people to experience a little more to the content, often surprising fans with fun extras like a playable game of Oreo Pong or a Cookie-shaped Record Player spinning some cool beats.

Slideshow from Scott Monty.
It wasn’t just about one image, it was Oreo’s commitment to consistent content in real time.

2. Red Bull – “Timeline Scavenger Hunt”

When the Facebook Timeline came out for everyone, it turned the browsing experience on its head for brands. Red Bull immediately took the opportunity to have their fans explore all facets of their company’s history through a timeline scavenger hunt.

Anchored around a custom Facebook application, they sent fans exploring through the various dates on the Timeline with a number of creative clues. For example, dates on the bottom of a can in a photo, or the numbers on the side of an Instagram-styled photo unlocked more clues for fans to explore. This type of campaign brought people together in attempts to solve some clues that were pretty tough in some spots.

In addition to the challenge of completing a hunt, Red Bull is exposing their fans to the multitude of different entertainment and sports activities the brand sponsors, while reviving old page content at the same time.

3. Grey Poupon – “The Society of Good Taste”

An often overlooked, but never unknown condiment, Grey Poupon turned to Facebook to create a new experience for their fans. Reserved only for those with the finest of social involvement, the Society of Good Taste was born.

The Society of Good Taste’s exclusivity made it highly enticing to people to explore to see if they qualified. So much of social media can be tied back to self-valuation or looking at many types of comparative metrics platforms to determine your “weight” in the digital world. Entrance into the Society opened up exclusive community features, offers and other promotions, but the fun is really in the analysis.

This plays off those emotions in a light-hearted way that takes advantage of really simple but personalized Facebook application to analyze a person’s profile based on information in their profile. For example, they looked at my education information and saw Syracuse University and they were “impressed” at this. I once posted a status update about hosting a party and that caused a rise in the “judges.” My score increased you could say.

If you didn’t cut the mustard (bad pun I know) – you were free to take your like and leave. Yes Grey Poupon isn’t worried about the likes of the unworthy.

4. Lay’s – “Do Us a Flavor”

As a part of their 75th Anniversary Lay’s took crowdsourcing nationwide, by giving fans the chance to create the next great potato chip flavor in a unique partnership.

Fans were invited to submit their best flavor idea on Facebook with celebrity judges Michael Symon and Eva Longoria selecting the finalists and winner, who will receive $1 million dollars or 1% of the chip’s 2013 net sales (whichever turns out to be more).

Aside from a huge prize, Lay’s flooded Facebook and the grocery aisles nationwide on their search by prime real estate that is their bags, a Facebook Flavor creation application that pumped out stories into the News Feed, and activation at a pop-up store in Times Square where visitors could sample 20 current flavors of Lay’s potato chips.

5. Evian – #evianDay Instawalk

Influencer outreach is nothing new, but Instagram as a platform is very new, and many everyday users are amassing huge audiences on the site that are very attractive to brands.

Evian used the popularity of Instgram in their sponsorshop of the US Open tennis event to create a very unique behind the scenes experience for a few Instagrammers, and their followers.

Selecting Instagram “celebrities” who had their own large followings, Evian gave them an exclusive Open experience and  behind the scenes tour.

These “iPhotographers” toured the famed underground tunnels, players lounge, racquet stringing center, photo-pits, ball-person and umpire lounges, and onto the roof for panoramic views of the city. Additionally, each user selected one of their favorite photos to get displayed on the Jumbotron during top matches.

While many photos took an Evian spin, the photographers were not required to create any certain number of Evian branded photos. The brand used Instagram to freshen up their sponsorship of the tournament, and as a result the content ended up being picked up by a number of influential sports personalities online as well as tennis fans from around the globe.


In the next year there will be many more branded social media campaigns full of creative ideas and we’ll be there to cheer on the best ones.

What were your favorite social media campaigns of 2012?

Leave your thoughts below.

Post Author

Nick Cicero is the Editor at Social Fresh and a Digital Marketing Consultant. Formerly of Expion and Livefyre, Nick has experience building social campaigns for Sony PlayStation, Winn-Dixie, Eminem, Teen Vogue and more. He’s a fan of playing...