4 Successful Campaigns Sparked By Fan Enagement

By Thomas Zukowski

Brands and their respective agencies spend countless hours brainstorming social media campaigns that will inspire the community to respond and take action. However, sometimes the fans take action first. Listening to your audience is the key to the curation process. Here are four cases where brands identified opportunities to engage their fans based on organic content the fans were already creating.

Converse's Made by You Campaign

Converse’s signature Chuck Taylor line is undeniably iconic. The 98-year-old shoe design has never lost its cool, as can be attested by a quick Iconosquare search for #converse. Inspired by the seemingly endless array of photos that are shared by Converse fans every day, the brand launched the Made by You campaign, which showcases hundreds of portraits of worn and personalized sneakers. The campaign celebrates the fanbase’s artistic creativity with a few celebrity contributions peppered in. Instagram serves as the key platform, complemented with traditional retail displays and an intriguing multimedia experience to boot. (See what I did there?)

Fare Thee Well Fabulous Envelope

Make no mistake, the Grateful Dead’s signature sound and associated artwork makes them a brand. This summer the American band reunited (sans Jerry) for five final shows to commemorate their 50th anniversary. Tickets were first made available via mail order requests, a Grateful Dead tradition, and many fans adorned their envelopes with intricate decorations and illustrations to increase their chances of being chosen in the lottery. As photos began to permeate the web, Phil Lesh and the gang responded with the Fabulous Envelope contest in which three of the most eye-catching mail orders would become commemorative ticket designs. The winners also got free tickets to a show.

Pizza Hut’s OkCupid Profile

Do you love pizza? I mean really love pizza? It turns out many people do. Representatives from Pizza Hut claim that the brand gets marriage proposals from fans daily on Twitter, totaling over 10,000 posts from fans in twenty two countries in 2013. These flirtations inspired Pizza Hut to became the first company to have a personal profile on OKCupid. The profile includes details such as a "light and airy" body type and a “Ph.D in Delicious.” Pizza Hut began seeking "the one" by calling for Vines and Instagram videos where fans could describe their most inventive marriage proposal ideas. In turn, the winner gets a lifetime of free pizza (and true, ravenous love).

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

No list would be complete without mention of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, two friends who were afflicted with the disease, are credited with creating the campaign that soaked the nation. With the support of celebrity participation, the challenge was exposed to mainstream audiences and quickly went viral. Within weeks, the ALS Association had received $41.8 million in donations, eventually exceeding $100 million.

What’s your favorite social media campaign inspired by a grassroots movement?