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High Five: Measuring Success by Community Influence


Brett Brown, head of creative at THE FIFTH Agency, takes a look at five impressive campaigns that allow their audiences to follow and own beyond social media

High Five: Measuring Success by Community Influence

I’m fascinated by the impact the advertising industry has on culture. When you create cultural movements, businesses can change overnight. At THE FIFTH, we believe the best ideas are what we call social-out. It’s a methodology that puts inherently social thinking at the centre of transmedia campaigns, meaning we measure the success of our campaigns on how they influence communities across multiple mediums. Truth is, there’s more great work than any top five can possibly hold. But here, I tried to come up with examples of campaigns that succeeded in influencing ways of thinking and behaving far beyond any single medium. As a social agency, it’s easy to point to work that only works on social media, but it’s way more fun when that tone, that voice and that narrative all let you follow it and own it beyond any feed. They embody our philosophy of building social impact, business change and cultural relevance all at the same time. Let’s dive in...

Adult Swim - 'Rickmobile'

Adult Swim does a great job of subverting media practices in order to lead their community by example. This moment’s a great encapsulation of Adult Swim understanding their audience, where they are and their own brand voice. By sharing the actual ticket on social media with the caption "Even the Rickmobile has problems with authority." Adult Swim successfully brought the character of Rick into our real-life experience. The response to this tweet, ranging from consumers to the Delaware Department of Transportation forgiving the incident, showed the strength of an out of the box social campaign. This incident demonstrated how a brand can leverage a cultural moment to strengthen its relationship with its audience by connecting with them on a more personal level and fostering community. Work like this is why they win PR, win with things - like the bump challenge on TikTok, and win at experiential - such as their past work at Comic-Con.

Truth Initiative - 'Body Bags'

Agency: Crispin, Porter & Bogusky x Arnold Worldwide
Production: Redtree Productions
Director: Pete Favat
Post: Cosmo Street

The 'Body Bags' ad is a classic. From using actual findings from big tobacco company documents, to its subversive and smart messaging, this ad made smoking uncool for the first
time in the history of smoking cigarettes. It was a trailblazer in the reinvention of the cultural perspective of cigarette smoking. Unsurprisingly, this ad was deemed one of the top ads of the 21st century. The reason I’m putting it on this list, like a couple others, is because it’s a great example of a social change idea versus a social-first idea. Everywhere Truth showed up, they reminded teens that Big Tobacco was playing them. That influence saved a lot of lives.

Burger King - 'Whopper Sacrifice'

Agency: Crispin, Porter + Bogusky
Production: Ascent Marketing Partner x Refresh Partners
Director: Nuno Ferreira x Neil Heymann

This campaign was launched in 2009, at a time when Facebook was becoming increasingly popular, and social media marketing was still a new concept. Burger King’s 'Whopper Sacrifice' brilliantly misused Facebook’s platform. The extension went viral, telling unfriended users they were worth less than 1/10 of a whopper. Facebook eventually forced Burger King to end the campaign, which only served to further the conversation. With this bravery in upending how people used platforms, Crispin managed to take a stale fast food brand and make it something people actually cared about. With 'Whopper Sacrifice', 'Whopper Virgins' and other campaigns, the brand was suddenly brave and fun. I love work like this because it sets the tone the brand could carry for years to come. Even recently they find ways to misuse media to have fun at Wendy’s and McDonald’s expense.

Old Spice - 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like'
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
Production: Morton Jankel Zander
Director: Tom Kuntz

I won't provide a detailed analysis of why the advertisement was exceptional. It simply was 'The Man Your Man Could Smell Like' campaign elevated an entire product category, prompting CMOs across the industry to embrace more creative, out-of-the-box strategy. This empowered creative professionals to produce and market more unconventional work. I’m putting it here because one of the things about social-out is that you don’t have to outspend people if you can get clever with something as overlooked as media buys. Everyone thinks this campaign ran on the Super Bowl. It didn’t. The most effective TV ads don’t have to actually appear on TV screens. This particular ad was a category disruptor, having won the Super Bowl commercial polls, despite never airing during the game, and even landed the actor an interview on Oprah. It was a spot with work that lived up to the initial ad, and in doing so rewarded everyone cared. They broke so many rules to make the campaign work and in doing so rewrote standards for how brands should behave on social media. Instead of following case studies, they became one.

Apple - 'Shot on iPhone'

- Credit: Shot on iPhone 7 // Erdem Summak

This ad stands out because it was based on a deep understanding of how people use the product. The insight was simple but powerful: there's no need to buy a separate camera
when you already have a high-quality one in your pocket. The brand walked the talk while the ad did an exceptional job of being honest and transparent, telling the truth about the product's capabilities. I went to Disney with my kids, my iPhone and a professional camera. I ended up barely using the camera, reinforcing the message of this campaign. Apple arms their cult with simple, effective ways to talk about Apple. This is why they win across decades, mediums and cultures. They know their champions are their communities, and that change happens across multiple touchpoints. Apple arms their community.

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THE FIFTH Agency, Wed, 03 May 2023 11:30:01 GMT