Strong and Weak Social Media Strategies – A Case Study

Dove Real Beauty Campaign
Image: Dove/picture-alliance/dpa

Dove had launched the Real Beauty Campaign in 2004 because of a global study, The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report. In this report, just 2% of women worldwide had described themselves as beautiful.
They started a worldwide conversation about the definition of beauty when they launched their campaign in 2004.

And the Real Beauty Campaign was probably one of the first digital campaigns that attracted a massive following (26 million people). Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is now going strong for over 15 years. They consistently release new and engaging content to their customers and followers and sometimes ask them to participate in it as well. Which makes the customers also the content creator.
Dove also makes great use of Facebook (almost 30 million followers), Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

But since Dove first launched their “Real Beauty Campaign” many other companies have jumped on the bandwagon to what we now call “Femvertising”.

Image source:

Another strategy that I like, that is also part of “Femvertising” and that looks like it is paying off for the company is Mattel’s “Inspiring Women – You Can Be Anything” Campaign for Barbie that they launched after their sales started to drop 20% between 2012 and 2014.
Mattel knew they had to make some changes and with Barbie’s 60th birthday in 2019 they had some time to plan. They brought out a diverse range of dolls (skin/hair color) and of different professions, such as an astronaut, news anchor, judge, soccer player, pilot, firefighter etc. And also 20 Barbie dolls of real-life inspiring women, such as Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhardt and Sally Ride.

Just in time for Barbie’s birthday she also got her own YouTube channel, they partnered up with Virgin Atlantic Airlines to show younger girls the scope of what a career of a pilot, the cabin crew or an engineer looks like.

Barbie documented the launch of the new dolls around the world also on her Instagram account.

Thanks to those marketing efforts Barbie gained 75.000 followers across all platforms and received 4.5 times the digital engagement on social. And Mattel’s sales jumped up 12% after this campaign as well. Success all around!

Poor Strategies On Social Media –

Image: Ancestry

In early 2019 brought out an advertisement online that generated a lot of backlash and made them pull the ad fairly quickly.

If you watch the ad you will see that is clearly romanticizing and whitewashing a slavery-era love story between a black woman and a white man.

In the video which is named “Inseparable”, the man presents a wedding ring to the woman, and then says that they can run away to “a place we can be together across the border”.

After the video was taken down also issued an apology.

To prevent this, I think should next time test and go over their ads with a test-audience. Mistakes like that can be avoided and if possible they should not draw on sexuality, gender, race or disability remarks when creating content.

They proved to us before that they can create great ads/strategies for example with the “My Story” Campaign.

COM0011- Social Media Campaigns That Struck Gold

Hey everyone!

My name is Desiree and I’m a Marketing Coordinator for a large property management company in Ottawa, Ontario. I’m also now apparently a blogger (but bear with me- I’m new to this).

I wanted to shed some light on a couple of genius social media campaigns that have caught my eye over the past few years and why I think they are important.

The Curious Case of IHOB. I’ll admit it. This campaign both irritated me and commanded some serious admiration. In case you missed it, the classic American breakfast franchise, IHOP, claimed to be rebranding and changing their name to IHOB. They asked the public to take a crack at guessing what the new and mysterious “B” stood for. From burgers to breakfast, the social media universe was alive. More than 30,000 users responded with their guesses and their burger sales quadrupled from the year previously.

One great prank – what does the “B” stand for?

Of course, in the end, it was all just a giant prank, but that certainly didn’t make the level of brand exposure they received any less real. Way to go, IHOP (or IHOB…whatever your name is). You got me. Well played.

Next up – your favourite childhood dunking cookie, Oreo. This is a prime example of staying on top of your toes and maximizing your social media exposure. Brands often use major events, such as the sporting events or holidays, and develop social media campaigns around them.

During Super Bowl XXLVII, there was a blackout that lasted close to 35 minutes. Within ten minutes of that blackout, Oreo’s social media team released a simplistic ad with the catchy and all-too-fitting for the moment tagline , “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark”. Simple, effective, modern, and time-sensitive. Proof that responding to social media trends in a quick manner is essential. Had they waited even another 20 minutes, the impressiveness of the ad would have been non-existent. Simply genius. Now where can I get my hands on some Oreos to dunk?

You can still dunk in the dark.

With all of the advancements in marketing and digital communication, it has never been more important to stay up-to-date on current communication trends. What social media campaigns/advertisements (good or bad) that have caught your eye? Leave your responses in the comments below!

Turnstyle: WI-FI Marketing

Thank you for accessing our free WI-FI using your Facebook/Twitter account.
We know exactly who you are… and what you like… and where you go.

Your online personalized experience waits but two things need to be considered: consent and privacy.

Turnstyle: WI-FI Marketing via social media account access

This new tool, Turnstyle, is appealing to any business that wants to personalize their client’s experience, build their social media presence and encourage loyalty using technology instead of plastic loyalty cards/paper coupons.

Clients can log into a company’s WI-FI using their social media account in place of an assigned password. From this single sign-in the client is consenting to sign-up for this personalized experience and disclose their personal information to create that experience.

Image of a cell phone, login page for Free Wifi

Turnstyle Website

This personalized experience could include messages (via SMS, Twitter, Email) pushed-out to clients when they enter a “Hot Spot” location and again when they leave the location to ask for feedback on their experience. What a great concept for businesses, but what about their clients?

Terms of Service: fast scroll down, scroll down, scroll down… break (catch breath) … fast scroll down and consent.

Does anyone actually ever read those terms and conditions? Get your binoculars out to read the small font, 10 page terms in order to access free WI-FI at your local café or restaurant.

The Turnstyle terms of service are actually only 5 pages single spaced = 16 sections = 2611 words.

Oops! You just agreed to give them access to your social media account and signed-up for marketing pushes via SMS/Twitter/Email…

HAHAHA you thought you scored free WI-FI.

Privacy: Is this allowed? Well, you did agree to it.

There are a few methods to login to access free WI-FI via Turnstyle, but the most encouraged methods are Facebook/ Twitter.

In Section 2 of the Terms and Conditions, by agreeing, you allow the company access to your social media account when you login using Facebook/ Twitter:

“By authorizing Turnstyle to access your Facebook account, you hereby grant Turnstyle access to certain information in your Facebook profile, including but not necessarily limited to: basic information including (but not limited to) age, birthdate, name, gender, location, email address; extended profile information including (but not limited to) events, check-ins, “likes”, interests, friends, friends of friends, groups, etc.; and, other information which the OAuth procedure allows Turnstyle to access. By authorizing Turnstyle to access your Twitter account, you hereby grant Turnstyle access to certain information in your Twitter profile, including but not necessarily limited to: screen name, name, location, profile picture; and, other information which the OAuth procedure allows Turnstyle to access.” Turnstyle, Terms of Service.

The Turnstyle dashboard can collect the following information for companies to make their marketing campaigns more personalized:

– Overall foot traffic
– New visitors
– Returning visitors
– Outside opportunity
– Repeat distribution
– Gender
– Age
– Network trends
– Visit duration
– Social Wi-Fi users
– Favourite colour of underwear

That last one was a joke, but seriously… do you think your privacy is worth getting a personalized experience?

Turnstyle, Terms of Service. Website:

Turnstyle, WI-FI Analytics. Website:

Twitter Turnstyle WI-FI Marketing #subwayknowswhatyouatelastsummer

facebook Did you know they are accessing your social media account when you login using Facebook/Twitter to get free WI-FI?  #turnstylewifimarketing #subwayknowswhatyouatelastsummer 

COM0015 – Blog #4: Out of the Box

As we have learned throughout this course, and in fact throughout this social media program, social media has so many different uses, for so many different people. While it is important that we are all using best practices for social media, it is of the utmost importance that businesses fully understand what they are using social media for.

Using social media “out of the box” is becoming more popular for businesses, and even people who are trying to increase their brand awareness. Instead of using social media “traditionally” to engage with their customers, social media is allowing these businesses and people to have a number of applications, that they probably never saw coming.

One unexpected application for the field of online marketing and social media is advertising. I don’t think businesses realized the free advertising that they would get with social media. I’m not just talking about the fact that they can post information for free online and have all their followers see the information, I mean the free advertising they get when people praise their business online and encourage others to use the business as well.


While researching “out of the box” social media uses, I stumbled across the following article. Although it doesn’t specifically relate to traditional online marketing, it is interesting just how far social media has come and how practical its uses are. Who knew that by browsing on Facebook you could potentially save someone’s life!

COM0015 Blog #4 Out of the Box

Throughout this course, and this Social Media Marketing program I have come to appreciate the amazing connections created from Social Media Marketing. The ideas, networking, re-connections to friends that have moved across the world! I can watch my family members birthday celebration on YouTube, and accept an invitation to an event at City Hall next week on Facebook all within a single swipe and tap on my iPhone. As I have become familiar with Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter there are a few unexpected applications and actions that I have experienced. It’s amazing that no matter what Social Media platform you are on you can be instantly pulled in another direction. While reading Money Sense posts you can be enticed to purchase blankets that turn into Mermaid Tails, Mermaid Tail Blanketalong with Ad-words Optimization Strategies, along with a car insurance quote, and now there are new dress arrivals from Zulily! All just from visiting and scrolling through a Facebook Home Feed.

What is unexpected is the attention span or lack there of. When I am working on a project, or a deadline for work, or a Social Media Post, or a Marketing article for work, the on-line world is constantly tugging and grabbing my attention to another article, advertisement, or on-line store. Recently I read an article that Goldfish have a greater attention span than us human folk. states in his article, a spring 2015 study from Microsoft, reports the average human attention span has fallen below that of goldfish.


Courtesy of Microsoft

So what is all this telling me? As a part of a Social Media Strategy we really have to pay attention to creating, engaging, attractive, thought provoking, memorable content. This Social Media content needs to be created often, repeated often, and interacted with on a regular basis. Just as I am typing Tony Robins showed up on my iPhone, he reveals how to create a positive change in yourself or another person withing a single…hmm to click or not to click. No I will stay focused on my task at hand, Blog #4!

So all these unexpected, multiple distractions showing up within the Social Media feeds, and sidebar ads, has taught me to ensure that the content used within Social Media Marketing must be meaningful, attractive and interesting enough to keep your audience reading your post and not buying blankets that turn into Mermaid Tails.

SnapChat – Not Just For Inappropriate Photos

Working on our case study assignment got me thinking about ways in which companies have thought “outside the box” with social media based marketing campaigns. I came across a couple articles on a New York based frozen-yogurt company, 16 Handles, that used at the time, an up-and-coming mobile app, SnapChat, to offer customers discounted yogurt.


SnapChat Logo

SnapChat allows users to snap and share a photo with “friends,” but with one caveat—it disappears after up to 10 seconds. And from January 1–4 and 7–11, 2013, 16 Handles offered guests at participating units a chance to get 16, 50, or 100 percent off their yogurt purchase, simply by sending 16 Handles a SnapChat photo of themselves with their yogurt treats.


16 Handles SnapChat promotion

The chain came up with the idea to use SnapChat while designing a similar promo for Twitter, says Adam Britten, 16 Handles’ community manager.

“But it’s so much easier for a customer to steal a coupon that wasn’t necessarily intended for them, or for a customer to share it with their other friends on Twitter, because the images there last forever, whereas SnapChat is more instant,” he says. “It’s intended for that one person, and then also, we are the only person to see the customers photos.”

Not only did the promotion get guests talking about the brand, but the buzz also got 16 Handles some attention on other social media channels.

“We had our strongest week on Twitter ever during our SnapChat campaign,” Britten says. “We got way more Facebook likes in a day than we usually do, because we were putting ourselves out there in a new way in the social media space, and people took notice elsewhere.”

Britten says because the brand has a “young, socially active consumer base,” it wants to be an innovator on social-media platforms. And though he says there’s always a risk with employing new marketing platforms, the brand ultimately had little to lose.

“There wasn’t a lot of cost; we just had to make sure that our store employees were aware of what was going on and knew how to handle the promotion, and then it just involved our time monitoring it,” he says. “It wasn’t like we were building anything out that was too overly complicated or would absorb too much of our resources, so it was like, why not?”

SnapChat isn’t really built for marketers in the same sense as Facebook because it’s private, not broadcasted for everyone to see, and everyone to observe and criticize and critique and compare.

In my opinion, this is a clever way to appropriate an app that has a reputation as a conduit for teens and young adults to send inappropriate photos to one another,


Example of photo content created with SnapChat app.

Have you had any positive or negative experiences with SnapChat? Does the thought of your kids having access to an app like this make you nervous?


COM0011-521: Enhancing Personal Brand – Effective Content?

OBJECTIVE:         To promote my personal brand.

FOLLOWERS:      Business Development, Sales, Marketing professionals, Employers

Often misunBD1derstood, Business Development (BD) is about the process of discovering new business opportunities. It is sometimes labeled as Sales and quite often called Marketing. The three functions are quite different yet overlap. More appropriately, they interact.

BD professionals are busy, largely driven to be successful by incentives, typically money in the form of a variable compensation component in addition to a fixed amount as a base salary. Success is measured by the level of new  business opportunities the BD professional introduces to the employer. Motivated by the desire to maximize the variable component, not to mention retain their job, BD professionals are governed by, and are constantly trying to meet or exceed, quotas or revenue goals. Hence the term “busy”.

Being like-minded and having excelled as a BD professional throughout my career, the most effective content must conform to the following criteria:

  • Relevant – it must relate to the BD profession;
  • Insightful – content should be new to followers; it could be information on a topic one or more followers have requested;
  • Valuable – should be of value such that followers are able to utilize this new knowledge in their day-to-day environment going forward;
  • Concise – brief and convenient; provide just enough relevant content of value to permit followers to decide if it’s worth clicking the “MORE” button or be redirected to additional detail;
  • Credible – content must be current or future-oriented and demonstrate brand expertise so it will be perceived as credible.

Examples of content that I consider most important to my objective include, but are not limited to, the following:

Business Strategies – what BD approaches works and what don’t; examples, case studies;

Relationship Building Tips – people always struggle with how to establish (connect), nurture and leverage relationships.  Support in this area is fundamental;

Effective Networking – another area where people are challenged.  For example, how to join a group of people huddled around a coffee station at an event; or, how to disengage from someone (politely) when he\she won’t stop talking;

Events List – a listing of current/future events pertinent to BD professionals – events they may wish to attend for networking and lead generation or simple enhance relationships;

Jobs Forum – open opportunities and discussions of; employers who utilize BD professionals and those who are considering BD professionals; compensation options and discussions;

Professional Development – opportunities for improvement, including webinars, conferences, and other appropriate venues; community involvement opportunities, e.g. Board Directors.

In the not too distant future, this group may evolve to offer business services such as the following for example:

• Acquisition & Sales – We find prospects and get sales contracts
• Business Development – We discover new business & close deals
• Connecting the dots – We connect you to others and arrange contracts
• Commercial Strategy – We assist with any commercial challenge

While there may be other content of value to this community, the content mentioned above is very effective to building my brand.  I am, however, always open to comments and suggestions on how to improve on this approach.  Thoughts?


COM0011-521: Social Media Use in my Profession

According to Hinge Marketing,, Accounting and Financial services have not been in the forefront of social media marketing. Accountants and financial professionals chose their career for a reason. If they were strongly inclined toward Marketing, they probably would have chosen a different career. These professions are, by tradition, fairly conservative. This environment did not often nurture and encourage the early use of social media. There are a host of regulatory and legal requirements that dictate what one might say or do online.

True, but accounting firms have been making up for lost ground and here are some of the ways in which they’re using social media.

  • Talent attraction
  • Profiling of professionals – i.e. articles in media, Partners on Boards, etc…
  • Promotion – of newsletters, events, testimonials, publications, community involvement…
  • Announcements – of new Partners, clients or wins
  • Information on service offerings
  • Driving future clients to specific content, websites or pages

As a social networking tool focused on business, LinkedIn is used extensively, although not exclusively for recruiting.  You Tube is used to provide insight into the professional services firm environment such as work-life balance and other values.

Twitter is used to promote events in advance to create some “buzz”, during the event to draw attention to a specific venue or speaker and post-event to continue brand building. LinkedIn is also used to promote events, typically during and post-event and links are included to direct recipients to specific content, either a publication, webpage or registration site.

Ultimately, social media tools are used in some combination as part of a Marketing Plan with the objective of moving the right people to action.

A mid-sized accounting firm, MNP, takes a very direct approach to talent recruitment.  It has a separate MNP Careers website, similar to the larger, global firms and it also employs Facebook and You Tube to deliver content to potential employees. MNP is one of the fastest growing accounting firms in Canada and has baffled some of the BIG 4 firms with its aggressive growth record.  Clearly, it is executing an effective Marketing strategy including the use of appropriate social media tools.

Another accounting firm launches a myriad of thought leadership.  Perhaps a more cautious approach, it has employed Twitter and LinkedIn for a few years for various promotional aspects of its Marketing plans, however, it is still too reliant on traditional media (online newspapers/articles) and advertising, including banner ads and limited inserts.  While it has very recently started using infographics and short videos, very little, if any, blogging is evident and Google+ remains a future tool. Recent campaigns didn’t effectively target influencers which could have amplified the messaging further. Listening to specific, relevant communities appeared limited. Content splitting is recommended as it could increase the “storytelling” to engage with its target audience(s), build relationships, and increase shareability of content. There are indications that future launch campaigns will improve the use of effective social media tools, including for example, slide share.

Professional Services firms, specifically accounting and finance, are making great strides in their use of social media to improve visibility and credibility, demonstrate expertise, and, connect with and understand client communities. Already in use by many prospective clients, Social Media can help Professional Services firms grow faster and become more profitable. Stay tuned!

Bob Giddings