This year saw a range of trending topics across social media platforms, with TikTok’s from ‘Tube Girl’, Marge Simpson AI generated images and Kevin James’ set photos from ‘The King of Queens’ being made a meme.
With an astounding 1.7 billion monthly active users, TikTok remains one of the more popular platforms for viral content (with some of us quoting the latest popular soundbite at least five times a day), but the mark of a truly successful campaign is one that spans platforms, leverages its audiences and has reach across different demographics.
It’s difficult to narrow it down, but here are four impactful campaigns that stood out in 2023.
This Barbie is a marketing genius
Firstly, if you didn’t hear about the Barbie movie in 2023, then where have you been? Not only did the movie make over 1.44 billion US dollars worldwide but its marketing had incredible momentum on social media and beyond.
You may have seen “I am Kenough” splashed across hoodies and t-shirts, or people dressed up in lurid pink to attend the cinema. Barbie was everywhere in “the real world”, but it was also everywhere you looked on social media. One iconic marketing tool which allowed everyone to get involved was the “Barbie image generator”, an interactive digital template adapted from the movie posters. In this template, the user would add a photo of themself under a headline of “This Barbie” or “This Ken”, accompanied by custom text. Celebrities opted to be involved with this user generated content, creating lots of free influencer marketing for the film and brand!
Real Beauty Doesn’t Need Filters
In 2004, Dove launched the ‘Real Beauty’ campaign. This included a diverse range of regular woman on their marketing materials instead of professional models. In 2023, this campaign is still going strong, with this year Dove participating in National Selfie Day by encouraging their followers to turn off filters and celebrate their real beauty with the hashtag #DoveSelfEsteemProject.
Dove’s campaign is incredibly important to millions of young people around the world to help raise self-esteem amongst the younger generation whilst also promoting their own products and values. In the years since the campaign started, Dove have educated over 82 million young people in 150 countries on self-esteem and body confidence and 1.5 million parents have engaged with their online content.
It’s Pumpkin Spiced Latte Season
Throughout the year, Starbucks adapt their social media channels to reflect the season. This is particularly successful during Autumn and Winter. It felt like every other post in Autumn included a Pumpkin Spiced Latte.
In the lead up to releasing their seasonal beverages, Starbucks tease these across their platforms and completely change their theme to match the season.
Across TikTok, Starbucks videos feature people with Starbucks products. This technique works particularly well as people can identify with the videos, giving them FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and encouraging them to hurry to their local Starbucks.
Influencers and users across the internet often do reviews of any new drinks or treats, giving Starbucks lots of exposure in a seemingly authentic way. In August 2023, Starbucks posted about the return of their Pumpkin Spice Latte and Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew, achieving over one million views on X alone.
The ASOS Response
In 2023, ASOS capitalised on a Twitter post that involved a negative comment about one of their products. ASOS turned this into a positive story and generated lots of free marketing whilst promoting positivity across their social media accounts.
A female user posted a screenshot of a rude Tinder message she received where a man insulted a dress she was wearing, which happened to be from ASOS in one of her profile photos.
The post went viral with multiple people across the platforms complimenting the dress and asking where she bought it. ASOS leveraged this authentic buzz by placing the photo of the female wearing the dress on their product page in lieu of their usual professional models.
This is a perfect example of taking advantage of user generated content to take advantage of engagement. Not only did ASOS drive additional traffic to the brand and product, but they also turned a negative online experience into a positive one for a member of their target audience – creating community engagement which is key to growing an audience.
2023 was packed full of successful and unique campaigns across a variety of organisations, from the amazing marketing around the Barbie movie to the annual Pumpkin Spice Latte posts. In 2024, we anticipate that AI will play a big role in a variety of social media campaigns and overall memes across platforms. We can’t wait to see what campaigns come from 2024!