The Best Social Marketing Campaigns


Over the year, we blogged about a number of social marketing campaigns.

Some campaigns had a social focus: other campaigns had an environmental focus.

Some campaigns impressed us; and others left us desiring more.

That’s because not all social marketing campaigns are equal.

See for yourself. Watch these campaign videos and answer 3 simple questions:

  • What behaviour is the commercial aiming to change?
  • Which commercial is better?
  • Why is ______ commercial better?

Commercial X

Commercial Y

Here’s what I think.

Thai Health promotion ‘smoking kids’ anti-smoking ad kicks the ‘Think before you smoke’ ad’s butt.

Instead of telling people that smoking is bad, the ad from Thailand uses little kids to trick smokers into saying how bad the habit really is. In fact, all the adults start explaining to the child why they shouldn’t smoke. Brilliant eh?

The unscripted moments of ‘smoking kids’ ad are not only heartrending but effective. The foundation got a 40% increase in calls about how to stop stop smoking.

The ‘Think before you smoke’ ad was doomed from the start.

The ‘Think before you smoke’ ad tells parents to take a moment to talk to their kids about smoking. The idea being the kids will stop and think before they smoke.

But wait, why did it target parents. And what exactly should the kids think about? If you are like me, all you got from this commercial was that smoking could hurt your game. It sure as heck didn’t cover how addictive cigarettes are… Or how they can kill…

Then comes the A-HA moment. You see Phillip Morris, a tobacco company’s name, attached to the commercial.

The company didn’t think it was in a position to show health consequences. It would damage the image of their brand. Instead they tried to mask this shallow campaign with feel good images of a father and son playing basketball and a mother and daughter shopping.

Not cool Phillip Morris. If you want to do good with social marketing, tell your story. Warts and all!

Social Marketing Campaigns are Not Equal

As you saw above, some social marketing campaigns are better than others.

Stick around this month to find out what our top social marketing campaigns are why. Any hey, maybe one of the campaigns will inspire you to start the New Year off on the right foot.


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