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4 Creative Social Marketing Campaigns from Around the World

Globe ImageLeyl Master Black is a managing director at Sparkpr, one of the world’s top independent PR agencies. Leyl has more than 15 years experience driving high-impact communications programs for emerging technology companies.

Social media marketing is a global phenomenon, but we don’t always get to see the innovative work that’s happening abroad.

Social media campaigns from around the world will be honored today in San Francisco at the Bees Awards, the first international social media marketing awards program. The new program attracted entries from more than 21 countries, with more than a dozen countries represented among the finalists.

You can watch the ceremony live on Ustream (ustream) at 7:30 p.m. PDT to hear more about all of the finalists. But in the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at some of the most inspiring international campaigns that are up for awards.

1. Creating a Personal Connection – Kraft Foods/Aladdin (Sweden)

For the past 70 years, the Aladdin chocolate box has been a Christmas classic in Swedish homes. But even though the brand is well-known and liked, people no longer felt a personal connection to the brand. The challenge for Aladdin was to refresh the brand while staying true to its roots.

With a new praline set to be introduced in the Aladdin box last Christmas, Aladdin and its agency, Prime, decided that instead of talking about the new praline, they would focus on the unfortunate chocolate that would have to go. Fans would have the opportunity to defend their favorites, thus reactivating their personal connection to the brand.

Aladdin set up a digital polling station on a campaign site where Swedes could vote on their favorite chocolate four weeks before Christmas. Key media and influencers received information about the campaign in advance, and Facebook Pages and Groups were created in order to mobilize fans. Aladdin and Prime also developed an application on Facebook (Facebook) where users could take a personality test and receive a personality analysis based on their favorite praline.

The campaign worked. Loyal fans turned out in droves to create films, posters, Groups on Facebook, fan pages, T-shirts and blogs dedicated to their favorite pralines. In four weeks, the campaign generated more than 400,000 votes (about 5% of the Swedish population), with more than 15,000 people becoming fans of the campaign and more than 140,000 people taking the praline test on Facebook. The financial numbers were just as sweet: Aladdin’s sales jumped more than 26% from the previous holiday season.

2. Bringing the “Like” Button into the Real World – Coca-Cola (Israel)

Every year, Coca-Cola Israel brings 10,000 young people to the Coca-Cola Village, a summer holiday resort designed for teenagers. Coca-Cola’s agency, Publicis E-dologic, was tasked with raising awareness for the Village, while allowing those at home to be part of the experience.

How do you promote an “experience” via social media? You make the experience social. And in this case, E-dologic took it one step further by introducing “The Like Machine,” a new approach to connecting the real-world experience to the online community and the world’s first real-life RFID event tied to Facebook.

Here’s how it worked. RFID devices were installed at facilities throughout the Village, and each guest received an ID bracelet that transmitted an RFID signal. The guests were then able to use the bracelet to “Like” each of the Coca Cola Village facilities. For example, a guest could place her bracelet next to the RFID device at the pool, and this would automatically post a Facebook message on her wall stating that she “Liked” the pool at the Village. There was also a photographer circulating throughout the Village with an RFID device; guests who were photographed could “touch” the photographer to automatically upload a pre-tagged picture to the Coca-Cola Village Facebook Page.

The result was more than 54,000 “Likes” for the Coca-Cola Village Facebook Page, making it the most “Liked” fan page in Israel, and millions of social media interactions.

3. Turning Fans Into Brand Advocates – Reckitt Benckiser/Clearasil (Russia)

Reckitt Benckiser’s Clearasil brand in Russia was looking for new ways to reach teenagers, many of whom watch little TV and spend more time online engaging with friends. Working with agency LLC Grape, they decided to launch a campaign that would enable teenagers to connect and share their experiences with Clearasil products, using the most popular social network in Russia,

First, they created a special group page where users could share photos and videos, post news and discuss experts’ advice. They then designed a number of branded Clearasil apps that would enable users to interact with the brand, including “Profile Pictures,” an app that integrates the Clearasil brand into the experience of creating cool profile snaps. For example, with this app, teens could use a marker in the form of a Clearasil tube to remove pimples from their photos.

Of course, if your product delivers great results, why not let the results (and the users) speak for themselves? To this end, the company developed an application called “CLEARBOOTH” that would allow users to take daily photos of themselves recording the changes they experienced using Clearasil and post them to the group, as well as create a video after four weeks of use. Within one year, users had uploaded more than 13,000 photos and posted more than 120,000 comments to these photos.

All told, more than 500,000 people have participated in the group or used Clearasil’s apps on the social network. Clearasil’s sales picture also improved, gaining 30% during the year.

4. Making a Classic Social – Le Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (Canada)

Le Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (TNM) in Montréal proves that you don’t need a big budget to make a big impact with social media. The theater’s challenge was getting a younger audience interested in traditional theater and promote an upcoming production of a classic Molière comedy with a very limited budget.

Working with Pheremone, TNM decided to take an intentionally anachronistic approach: having 17th-century characters from the play communicate via Twitter (Twitter). Twitter profiles were created for the play’s three main characters; writers were given a mandate to script dialogs and engage in character, as well as to develop a following among influencers using old language and anachronistic conversations.

During the one-month campaign, these three characters issued more than a thousand tweets in Molière’s style (language akin to Shakespeare’s Elizabethan English) and built a following of more than 1,000 fans — pretty impressive considering the highly targeted audience of French-speaking theatergoers in Montréal. As a result of this fun, innovative campaign, TNM saw near sell-out crowds for its performances, and it even added four additional shows. Très bien fait!

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