Top 10 Social Media Wins in the UK

Top 10 Social Media Wins – UK Campaigns that Did it Right

We all love to see social media campaigns work really well to engage their target audiences. Here are our top 10 UK Social Media Wins…

Social Media Win # 1

Adidas #boostLondon

During the London tube strikes, Adidas UK took to social media to try and #boostLondon to walk or run to work rather than having to deal with the hustle and bustle of the tube strikes.

They launched their campaign the first day of a 3 day strike and the inhabitants of London loved it: everyone started posting their pictures and tagging #boostLondon to show that they ran to work instead of waiting over an hour for an empty bus. As it turns out, people realised they could get into work faster putting some trainers on and taking to the roads of London.

Social Media Win # 2

Uber London- #UberLovesLondon

Over the past few years Uber has been running in London, and in that time they have had some great marketing campaigns: from referring a friend and receiving £10 each to a Valentine’s day campaign where the driver brings you flowers and underwear to your door, Uber is on the money when it comes to using social media wisely.

One of our favourite Uber campaigns so far has to be the #UberlovesLondon, with this campaign; the idea of this campaign was that if you put in a promotional code and took an Uber car to a famous London Landmark, you received 50% off your ride. When you got to the destination, you could post a picture on your social media platforms and be automatically entered to win a week’s free Uber rides.

Social Media Win #3

Net-a-porter- #IamPorter

Net-a-porter, an online luxury brand shop, recently launched their own magazine, “Porter.”  As part of their launch campaign, the magazine they conducted a social media competition called #IamPorter.  In order to enter the competition, the customers had to download the Net-a-Porter app, which enabled them to  post a photo with magazine design. The consumers then entered their pictures onto social media platforms in order to win a shopping spree on the Net-a-porter online shop.

By creating a custom app and using it as a gate to participation, the Net-a-porter team was able to engage and connect with their audience, while at the same time promoting the launch of their new fashion magazine – a great overall social media win!

Social Media Win # 4

CBS Outdoor- #LookforLonger

If you’re a Londoner, you will most definitely remember this campaign. For a few years running, CBS Outdoor ran the #lookforlonger campaign. The aim of the campaign was to get people who are waiting for a tube or bus to look at a huge billboard with a picture: there are meanings within the pictures, and they refer to 75 different tube stations around London. The aim of the campaign was to highlight the strength of interactive marketing with the use of Virgin Media wifi on the tubes, by allowing people to input the answers into an online sweepstakes form for a prize.


Social Media Win # 5

Jimmy Choo & Four Square treasure hunt

Jimmy Choo, world renowned luxury footwear and accessories brand, launched a marketing campaign with Social media checkin app Foursquare. Together, they organised a real-time treasure hunt around central London for a pair of Jimmy Choo trainers. The trainers would check in wherever they were located, and whoever was taking part in the hunt would have to go find them.  There is such a thing as a free pair of shoes!


Social Media Win # 6

Heinz- Beanz For Grown Upz

Heinz created a Facebook survey for the launch of their new beans product to see which out of 5 beans you were. Customers were asked to take a personality test which would lead to them finding out which bean that had grown into, it was to show that even when you grow up you can still love the people who were the same beanz years ago. 5 fans from each of the 5 varieties every hour for two weeks had the chance to win their name engraved onto a baked bean, surely you wouldn’t want to eat them then…


Social Media Win # 7

Waitrose- #WaitroseReasons

Waitrose managed to win folks over on a social media campaign that took on a life of its own.  Although initially the campaign didn’t necessarily look like it was going to work out due to people participating with off-the-cuff answers, it ended up being a serious win on Twitter. Their campaign was called #WaitroseReasons, and funny responses started to pour in as people came up with answers such as “I shop at Waitrose because Tesco doesn’t stock unicorn food…#waitrosereasons”

“I shop at Waitrose because when the economy finally breaks down and dies, those little green tokens will serve as currency.”

At the end of the campaign Waitrose tweeted  “Thanks for all the genuine and funny #WaitroseReasons tweets. We always like to hear what you think and enjoyed reading most of them.”

Great to hear, Waitrose! We love you because you took a chance on an open-ended Twitter question! #WaitroseReasons

Social Media Win #8

Various brands- Social media chat.

Some might say that this wasn’t so much a conceived social media campaign as an impromptu publicity stunt, but in this case, bunch of different brands took to Twitter to have a great conversation with each other. A casual twitter user was talking about tesco Mobile with a friend when the Tesco mobile handle decided to butt into the conversation.. And that’s where it started…

This social media win is a great example of social media managers doing exactly what they’re supposed to do: act like a human, have fun with it, spur engagement, and start / maintain an interesting conversation.





Social Media Win #9

British Airways-#homeadvantage

During the 2012 Olympics in London, British Airways – being one of the biggest sponsors – decided to take it a little further and posted an ad where you could tap in your post code and a plane would fly to your front door. The aim of this campaign was to get people in the UK to stay and watch the games and get the Brits outside of the UK back for the Olympics ‘Don’t Fly. Support Team GB and Paralympics GB’

Check it out here:



Social Media Win #10

Dove, Real Beauty, 2004

In what may be the most successful social media campaign ever undertaken by a major brand, Dove uploaded a video onto Youtube with people describing themselves to a FBI trained sketch artist who drew them up. Alternatively, someone else described the same person to the artist – and, at the end, they compared the pictures and realised that the picture the candidate described of themselves was undermining their beauty.

The video was broadcasted in different languages to get the message across to everyone in the world and it is said to have been the most viewed advert ever.

“The way women see themselves is dramatically different from how others perceive them. Only 4% of women globally consider themselves beautiful and 54% agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic.”

This campaign provided a signal to brands that real people are especially compelling on social media as a channel, and the campaign itself was so successful that Dove hung their hat on it as a brand, and branched into a research project on the topic of beauty.

Social Listening as Poetry: A Tribute to Maya Angelou

A Crowdsourced Poem to Maya Angelou | Social Listening as Poetry

Social listening as poetry: the Maya Angelou word cloud


Maya Angelou died today, leaving behind a legacy of musings and writings that have moved generations of writers, civil rights activists, and anyone else open to hearing what she had to say.  This writer has access to a social listening tool that measures the chatter happening on social media channels and, after looking at the word cloud (above), I realized that the words themselves were a fitting, poetic tribute to a woman who said a lot worth hearing in her 86 years.

And so I exported a volume report of word mentions and, with a few creative punctuation additions, created a crowdsourced poem that is a reflection of the legacy that Maya Angelou has left the world, as mentioned by the people who mourn her loss.  As follows are the words that those people are using to talk about her, in descending order of volume:


maya angelou
phenomenal woman

bird, caged bird
dr. maya angelou
caged bird sings
soul, inspiration
bowed wisdom
age 86

phenomenally legendary woman

poetry, curl, lips stride, smile, hair
legendary author

bees, honey bees
angelou, dead



4 Sage Marketing Lessons (& How to Use Them) from “The Facts of Life”


Take the good, take the bad, take them both and there you have 4 marketing lessons from Edna Garrett and her student body.

“The Facts of Life” isn’t just an endearing 80’s sitcom that goes down in history as one of the only spinoffs to outlast the original show from which it spun, it’s also a surprisingly relevant guideline for modern-day marketers.  (This, incidentally, is coming from a marketer who read an embarrassment of “Facts of Life” scripts today.)

While Marc Cowlin, my PR cohort, was having fun looking up Mr. T quotes earlier this week, I voiced the somewhat controversial opinion that  Mrs. Garrett might offer an equally valuable and better articulated wealth of sage advice for us marketing types.

After all, Mrs. Garrett is primarily to thank for her shows’ staying power: from “Diff’rent Strokes” to “The Facts of Life,” her sage and impeccably-timed words of wisdom provided the backbone of many a well-intentioned episode, meant to educate and entertain my generation of sitcom-crazed schoolkids.  One of my great pleasures as a child was being allowed to stay up until 9 on a weeknight to watch Mrs. Garrett banter with those Eastland girls, host random 80’s celebrities, and shine in “Very Special Episodes” about touchy topics not usually discussed on network television at the time: censorship, teenage drinking, assault.

In short, I’m of the firm opinion that Mrs. Garrett is someone that can teach us all a few things about the facts of life, and as such I realized that her sage words of wisdom and those of the uniformed girls she lovingly mentored are just as relevant to marketers today as they were to the 9-year-old kid sitting on the couch sneaking a coffee cup full of peppermint ice cream before bed.  And so, I decided to make a list:

4 Sage Marketing Lessons (& How to Use Them) from “The Facts of Life”

Edna Garrett: Come on Natalie, you’re the editor of the school paper. Print headlines, write editorials, take it to the people, make some noise, make a lot of noise!

The lesson that Mrs. Garrett is giving us all here is that we must use our owned media to get the word out about ourselves.  This is critical for two reasons: one, because our own properties are the best place to position our brand the way that we want people talking about it; two, because the nature of modern, technology-driven marketing requires us to keep our content fresh and relevant.

TIP: To keep the content flowing on your own channels, consider adding a custom newsfeed to your properties.  This enables you to feature the articles that position your brand favorably, and it gives you a primarily passive way to keep fresh content flowing so that your customers remain engaged.


Edna Garrett: It was four books, four! And I’m not the only one who’s upset. Our librarian has been trained to make book selections and suddenly people without qualifications are overriding her decisions!

This quote comes from a Very Special Episode about censorship, wherein a group of Eastland parents are pressuring the school into confiscating books from the library.  Mrs. Garrett reminds us, wisely, to trust people with experience in their field.  Being in marketing – and most especially PR – means that you’re in a position that, when you’re doing your job well, produces an end-product that has a lot of eyeballs on it.  This also means that you’re going to get a lot more direct feedback from customers, clients and coworkers who have opinions… and sometimes, it’s your job as a marketer to simply trust yourself.

TIP: Yes, feedback is critical to crafting better campaigns… but whose feedback are you listening to?  Marketing, being a public-facing entity, typically gets more commentary from the peanut gallery than any other discipline within the company, so just remember to consider the source.   One way to gut-check your marketing ideas before they launch is to talk to other people – influencers, friends, coworkers – within your field.

Edna Garrett: [Mrs. Garrett is giving the girls their mail] And the rest is for Natalie.

Tootie Ramsey: *All* of those?

Blair Warner: Natalie… have you been writing to prisoners again?

Natalie’s impressive direct mail response rate is reminding us to know your audience as you know yourself.  Sure, Blair is pretty; sure, Jo is cool; sure, Tootie has her cute rollerskating schtick; but Natalie is funny, smart and a writer, and – by recognizing that in herself – that makes her a born marketer who can take on a cause and get people excited about it.

TIP: use a social listening tool to see what people are saying about your company.  This gives you a good idea as to how your brand is perceived out in the world, and it will help you consider how you might want to foster that story, or change it.  For more on how to use social listening across your organization, check out our social listening guide.


 Joanne ‘Jo’ Polniaczek: The store pulled one over on us so we’re going to pull one over on them.

Jo is a no-nonsense kinda girl, and she’s telling us to respect our customers.  We are living in an era as marketers in which there will continue to be an increasingly forced transparency between a brand and its customers, wherein a broadcasted and controlled brand story is balanced by a crowdsourced brand dialogue – and that is the core difference between traditional and social media.  The rise of content marketing has come about as brands evolve and adopt to a model wherein both creating and being part of a longer-term dialogue with customers has arisen out of necessity, and the good news for customers and marketers is that it requires marketers to think like people.  Engagement is another word for connection, and to connect with a customer in a meaningful way takes genuine respect for that customer’s time.

TIP: when you’re setting your content marketing strategy, revisit some good community marketing tips to make sure that you’re creating content with the customer in mind.

I hope this list has been helpful, especially for any of you who weren’t routinely exposed to weekly lessons from Mrs. Garrett, as delivered by a 12-inch rabbit-eared television tube.

5 PR Lessons I Learned From Mr. T.

Mr. T as I remember him in the ’80s

I didn’t know it at the time, but many of the lessons that have shaped the man I am today came from the TV shows I watched as a kid. And, in some cases, those shows taught me a bit about my future career. Yes, I am saying that I learned PR lessons from ‘80s television.

Those of us growing up in the ‘80s will recall with great pleasure the “very special episodes” on our favorite sitcoms, full of heartwarming yet humorous life lessons.  As a child growing up on an apple orchard miles from town, TV meant the 5 channels that came in via a rabbit ear antenna. But strangely, it was all we needed for hours and hours of Saturday morning cartoons and an endless number of sitcoms.

Of these, one of my favorites was “Silver Spoons.”  “Silver Spoons,” starring the great Ricky Schroder as “Ricky,” began running in 1982 when I was 10 years old and – during the 4th episode – I was introduced to a celebrity who would become a childhood hero: Mr. T.

Yes, I am mildly embarrassed to admit that some of my outlook on life was shaped by TV and  Mr. T.  But, here’s the thing: TV influences everyone, and T was a megastar who was tough AND made a lot of sense (to me). Oh, and did I mention he was also funny?

Guest starring on Silver Spoons, Mr. T played a bodyguard hired by Ricky’s father to protect him from a bully. In an inspired scene, Mr. T shows up to class to protect Ricky and has a run in with the teacher who inquires about his name. Mr. T’s response was simply brilliant, “First name Mr., middle name ‘period’, and last name T!”

There you have it: a PR lesson from Mr. T. In that statement, T exemplified the art of staying on message. Sure, he could have offered a long answer about how his real name was Laurence Tread, but as a professional bodyguard, he became known as Mr. T.  But those sorts of explanations didn’t make sense for the Mr. T character or brand. He needed to have a clever, terse and funny response – and he delivered.

You can watch this very episode on YouTube today. The “First name Mr., middle name ‘period’, last name T!” scene can be found at the 11:57 mark.


Now, the art of staying on message is one that every PR Pro has to learn, but it’s by no means the only PR lesson that one can learn from Mr. T.  With that in mind, I’ve got a few more PR lessons from the great T lined up for you.

And, while reading the article, feel free to read the quotes out loud while trying to imitate Mr. T. I’d certainly appreciate it, and your co-workers will likely find it funny…

PR Lesson 1: Grammar and the Words You Choose Matter

“Love is a verb… and verbs show action”

– Mr T.

First off, Mr. T, let’s be clear: “Love” is also a noun. But we get your point: love is not just a word, it’s an action, and to truly love we must show it. OK, yes, that is a life lesson rather than a PR lesson, but the PR lesson is about grammar. Mr. T is explaining to us that grammar matters. He had a true hold on words and used them well. While he could be brief, he was on message and his words usually made sense, and clearly stated his intended point in a manner that was easily understood even by children.

PR Lesson 2: Don’t Miss a Big Opportunity Based on Cost

“You gonna lose a deal over $35? That’s chump change! My lunch cost $35!”

– Mr T.

The PR lesson here is simple: some things are not free, so don’t lose a story or a deal based on minor expenses. Sure, none of us want to pay for our PR – earned media is our holy grail – but we should never think of it as free: earned media is earned.  With that in mind, we always need to be willing to absorb a cost, whether it be it dollars or time, in order to get the results we want. If something is costing more than you expected but the value of the story is high, don’t miss out. As an example, when I was in consumer product PR, I cannot tell you how many times I rushed to FedEx to get my package into the last overnight shipment to make sure my product was in the hands of a producer or reporter the next morning.  The cost was high, both in shipping fees and time spent rushing to the airport terminal, but the reward – often as awesome as a Today Show feature – was almost always worth the trouble!

PR Lesson 3: Don’t Hate Your Competition

“No, I don’t hate Balboa, but I pity the fool.”

– Mr T.

This is fantastic Mr. T advice from “Rocky III.” In PR we have competition, but we should never be haters and should always take the high road.  When you are in a situation where you are neck in neck with the competition for coverage, or always being featured side by side in a story, never hate.  Just love them for making you a more competitive person, and then pity them because you are awesome and you’ll obviously win. Well, I think you’re awesome, anyway…   I mean, I don’t know you, but I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt.

PR Lesson 4: Stay Focused

“I got no time for the jibba-jabba.”

– Mr T.

Yes, Mr. T, this is very good advice. The life of a PR pro is very busy; we do not have time for distractions or “jibba-jabba.” We need to stay focused and save the idle conversation for when we have time. And, as any good PR pro knows, jibba-jabba can often lead to over sharing and going off message. We certainly don’t want that.

PR Lesson 5: Face Your Fears

“I ain’t getting on no plane, Hannibal!”

– Mr T.

On the A-Team (another great TV show of the 80’s) Mr. T learned one lesson time and time again: face your fears. You see, B. A. Baracus, his character on the show, was terrified of flying on planes, and the other characters often tricked him into flying, and every time T realized it wasn’t so bad. He didn’t usually admit it when things worked out, but you could see he knew it inside. And, I always believed he was proud that he’d tackled a fear. PR folks need to do that everyday. Our fears are wide and varied, ranging from fear of rejection when pitching to fears of public speaking or failure on a project, but we can, and must overcome them. PR Lesson: face the fear head on. Thank you MR. T.

So there you have it, 5 lessons. Actually, it’s 6 PR lessons if you include what we learned when Mr. T explained his name. And, I don’t think these 6 PR lessons come close to completely capturing Mr. T’s wisdom. I think I could find 100 more examples.

Perhaps I’ll call Mr. T and see if he’d like to write a PR lesson book with me. I think I’d call it “Mr. T Tackles PR with his best friend Marc.” Boyhood dreams realized!



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