Social media, by its very nature, has been a boon for causes, from crowdfunding to petitions. And as a larger share of the public gets its news from social media feeds, cause-related marketing has shifted its attention to those platforms in order to reach and engage the public.
Some of this year’s Webby for Good honorees are fine examples of how to leverage the features of social media and harness the community’s engagement for a cause. The Webby for Good showcase is a collaboration between The Webby Awards and WP Engine highlighting projects created to promote social good.
Some of this year’s notable works used established platforms such as Facebook, while others used emerging ones, such as the lip-synching app Dubsmash. But all used the features—and sometimes restrictions—of social media platforms to their advantage.
Check it Before It’s Removed, Pink Ribbon Germany
Agency: DDB Germany
In the same year that Kim Kardashian “broke the Internet” tweeting nude selfies, DDB Germany leveraged attempts at censorship among social media platforms to raise awareness of the need for breast self-examination for early detection, while also raising questions about double standards and censorship.
On International Women’s Day March 8, Pink Ribbon Germany played a game of social media whack-a-mole by posting pictures of 17 women who volunteered to pose exposing one breast with the headline “Check it before it’s removed.” Posts on Facebook and Instagram included a message directing women to a website, www.checkitbeforeitsremoved.com, with instructions for conducting self-exams. Each post also included a hashtag, #checkitearly, and instructions to share it quickly before it was censored by the platform. Pink Ribbon Germany shared the pictures with female social media influencers who shared them with their followers, along with instructions to share them quickly.
Millions of posts went viral in social media, even as the platforms deleted them in accordance with their guidelines. The news then spread further as traditional media outlets picked up the story.
The message reached 29 million impressions that day, with no media spending; traffic to Pink Ribbon’s breast cancer awareness information rose 27,984% and the breast self-examination tutorial video had a 92% view-through rate. Due to the public’s reaction, Facebook and Instagram eventually relented and stopped deleting the messages.
Freedom Voices, Amnesty International
Agency: Ogilvy NY
Pirates for Change, a group of creatives within Ogilvy’s New York office, has been creating projects to help causes and people in need. In this case, the group found a good fit between Dubsmash, a trending app popular with Millennials, and Amnesty International, a legacy brand that was not connecting with the demographic. The Pirates called Amnesty’s headquarters in London and send them a rough video, which caught the group’s attention.
“Our target audience was there, said Rodrigo Moran, creative director at Ogilvy. Moran and many in the team are Brazilian and had seen the app trending in Brazil and India, fueled by young people recording themselves lipsynching fun tunes, such as the theme from the movie “Frozen.” At the same time, press articles were mentioning Amnesty’s aging base and the group’s outreach to Millennials, said Moran.
“We saw the opportunity to use Dubsmash as something for good,” he said. “Millennials share everything, so they’re into freedom of expression.”
Ogilvy partnered with Dubsmash to create a soundboard of speeches by activists such as Chinese dissident artist Ai WeiWei, the members of the Russian rock band Pussy Riot and Nobel prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Users could record themselves lipsynching and share their recordings with friends on various social media platforms. Amnesty International and Amnesty USA used all their channels to promote it, and shortly after, Dubsmash joined in with a second push highlighting all the soundboards on its discovery page.
“The word of mouth was crazy,” said Moran. Eventually, the messages reached 180 countries in six continents, and Amnesty saw 500,000 new social media followers, skewing to the Millennial demographic.
The group liked the results enough to work again with Ogilvy on a project called Refugee Nation, which created a created symbol and anthem for an Olympic team made up of refugee athletes. And the relationship continues, with Ogilvy in the early stages of pitching ideas for a new Amnesty project, said Moran.
Be the Guy, Be the Match
Agency: Space 150
Tissue donation is a tough subject in the best of circumstances, but when the target is men 18-24, just finding them could be the toughest challenge. Be the Match, a non-profit seeking bone marrow donors knew that group makes up the best pool of donors for patients suffering leukemia and lymphoma, but donation rates were dismal.
Space 150 was challenged with breaking through to an audience that is not easy to reach via traditional media and whose attention is atomized among gaming, media, social and mobile channels.
“There are attention issues in terms of reaching them,” said Chad Nauta, group creative director.
The organization’s low profile was another challenge, said Nauta. Be the Match and its cause of bone marrow donation does not have the name recognition of the Red Cross or its blood drives, he said.
“It’s a pretty heavy thing to communicate in a short amount of time,” said Nauta. “We’re never going to be able to say all at once, so how can we pique interest?
The answer was to offer something unique about this age and gender group: stunts. Online videos featured young men doing wild stunts—one shaved his body hair in stripes, another shot darts in the air and caught them on his shaved head and yet another did skateboard tricks on a treadmill—with the message “This guy could save a life.”
These young men are into gaming, action sports and similar activities, so that dictated how to reach them, said Alyssa Raiola, senior media strategist. The team knew the audience overindexed to channels such as Reddit and the gamer platform Twitch, so they leveraged those channels to drive traffic.
“This audience in and of itself happens to live, breathe those channels,” said Nauta.
The 15-second videos—which showed up on channels such as Snapchat, Twitch, Reddit and Facebook—directed the viewers a microsite with more information and an online registry, BeTheGuy.org. A Reddit AMA offered a Q&A session with a bone marrow specialist to further educate the audience.
Space 150 wanted to do some quick executions and break through the clutter, said Raiola: “We knew those social channels would work very hard for us.” Social media also allowed the agency to try different things and find out what really worked to reach the audience, said Nauta.
The campaign more than met its goals, with more than 16,000 young men joining the registry, thanks to 212 million media impressions. The campaign has lived on another year, adding a wider age range of audiences and also targeting young people of various ethnicities to diversify the donor pool.
The deadline for this year’s Webby Awards submissions is January 26. Click here for more information and entry requirements.