Top social media campaigns and stunts of 2012

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Kony 2012

Those of you who were officially living under a rock during March may have missed Kony 2012 (though depending on the thickness of/or Wi-Fi access under said rock, maybe not), but for everyone else it was unavoidable.

In a matter of days, Ugandan guerrilla leader Joseph Kony went from being a relative unknown to a household name, thanks to US group Invisible Children’s Kony 2012 campaign.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were temporarily ablaze with support from people across the globe, all calling on the United Nations to make the capture and sentencing of Joseph Kony a priority.

Despite their controversy, the films were wildy successful, and as of 12 October, have generated over 94 million YouTube hits.



During another difficult year for Catholicism, some positive media coverage arose when it was announced that the Church’s 265th leader was joining Twitter.

Pope Benedict XVI’s first tweet came on Wednesday 12 December, after weeks of speculation and hype from millions of Twitter users of all different faiths.

“Dear friends, I am pleased to get in touch with you through Twitter. Thank you for your generous response. I bless all of you from my heart,” was the first tweet from the pontiff.

With brand new allegations of rampant sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Australia, the stunt initially created a significant amount of media coverage and helped to generate some positivity toward the Church.

While some have questioned the nature and purpose of his tweets, he has still managed to gather over 1.2 million followers already, once again highlighting the incredible reach of social media.


US election

No stranger to social media, Barack Obama used his immense online following to great effect during the 2012 US Presidential Election.

Through effective communication with his supporters on Twitter and Facebook, he built up an incredibly loyal and vocal fan base.

Despite the $300 million spent on television advertising by the Republican party, Obama’s team controlled the media sphere. They capitalised on the changing landscape of media consumption and dominated social and digital media communications.

With the Australian Federal Election looming in 2013, Obama’s success on social media will undoubtedly be used as a case study for both major political parties to follow.


Dave’s Failed Proposals

On a local level, our own work on the recent Dave’s Failed Proposals campaign was a lot of fun and really opened our eyes even further to the reach and power of social media.

The campaign centred on Dave, a loveable everyday guy who had proposed to six different girls over the past 14 years and received a ‘no’ from every single one.

Viewers were asked to submit a suggestion on how Dave should propose to the new love of his life in Freycinet and hopefully, finally get a ‘yes’.

We’ve had a lot of fun working on this campaign, and we’ve certainly learnt a lot about the most effective ways to engage with online audiences.


And…the not so good

In the wake of the horrific Aurora, Colorado shooting in the US in July, online clothing store Celeb Boutique made headlines when it decided to use the trending #Aurora hashtag to promote its new product.

“#Aurora is trending, clearly about our Kim K inspired #Aurora dress ,” was the ill-timed and misunderstood tweet from the clothing store.

Needless to say, the tweet was not well-received by an online community trying to express its sadness and condolences for those lost in the tragedy.

In a similar vein, popular clothing store American Apparel outraged online fans when it offered customers in affected regions 20% off during Hurricane Sandy “in case you’re bored during the storm”. Customers were prompted to enter SANDYSALE at the online checkout to receive the discount.

These gaffes go to show that even the simplest of posts or tweets can, if improperly timed or hastily thrown together, do significant or even irreparable damage to a brand’s online presence or reputation. Carefully planning social media activity and output is the most effective way to safeguard your organisation against these types of events and mishaps occurring.

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