Staying relevant across social media is a must for brands of all shapes and sizes. But exactly how brands activate communities can vary greatly based on audience demographics, needs and interests, as well as business goals. While no one approach will fit for all, there is one trend on the rise across social strategies winning the hearts and mindshare of consumers: being entertained.
Social entertainment can present itself by being funny, pulling on emotional heartstrings or giving people the opportunity to reflect on their personal lives in a creative way. Beyond that, entertainment is showing particular power for brands in that it creates a memorable brand experience and makes us want to share and talk about it with others.
This holiday season, a number of brands rose to top-of-mind status for shoppers through creative and entertaining social marketing campaigns. From videos that went (excuse the cliché) viral, to imaginative touch points consumers won’t soon forget, the following four brands were winners in 2013 social entertainment category.
Entertainment type: Feel-good surprise and delight.
WestJet Airlines, a Canadian airline that prides itself on being passionate and positive, arguably produced one of the most entertaining and emotionally uplifting holiday campaigns of 2013. The premise was to provide holiday cheer at airport check-in locations by asking flyers what they wanted for Christmas, and in a surprising turn of events, hand deliver the gifts by the time travelers landed at their final destination. Viewers of the video laughed, cried and were moved by the company’s generosity in making holiday wishes come true in the midst of stressful travel. With more than 33 million views in a month, travelers around the globe now know and have a positive perception of the 17-year-old airline that helped create a very special Christmas for some lucky travelers.
Entertainment type: Humorous, nostalgic parody.
Many gamers would agree that the launch of a new gaming console can mark a “perfect day” in their life. Spoofing off of PlayStation players’ favorite video games, Sony debuted its PlayStation4 Perfect Day commercial in late Fall to lead into the holiday shopping season. The video mixed humor and action with gaming nostalgia, staging real people acting out popular game scenarios. With tributes to games such as “Elder Scrolls Online,” “DriveClub” and “Killzone: Shadow Fall,” PlayStation gamers raved about the video, ramping up their excitement for the long-awaited console.
Entertainment type: Irreverent, unexpected performance.
Partnering with Joe Boxer, big-box retailer Kmart entertained consumers this season with a small “hunk” of shock value. In a short, simple video, six men in tuxedo tops appear playing a traditional holiday hymn with bells. Before viewers have time to settle in to the melody, the men are revealed as wearing only Joe Boxers for their tux bottoms, and the bell rings are “replaced” with their hip movements. The video departed from the more traditional perception consumers have with the brand. Pair that with a catchy Christmas tune and six male models, and it’s clear why this performance got shoppers both laughing and talking about Kmart this season.
Entertainment type: Personal life moments tribute.
Social network giant Facebook launched its second annual Year in Review campaign this holiday season to give users an easy way to “look back at your 20 biggest moments from the past year.” A lot can happen in a year, and with this campaign, Facebook reintroduced the opportunity for every user to reminisce and celebrate updates that signaled their most popular life events from 2013. What’s more, this Year in Review added the ability for users to see the highlights from their friends’ top moments. This might not classify as traditional entertainment, but the feature exemplifies what any great entrainment does: it invokes emotion on a variety of personal levels. From the funny posts and shared life moments that got your network commenting, to revisiting the highlights of friends’ lives, the 2013 Year in Review encapsulates a more personal focus type of entertainment for the social world we now all live in.
As we enter into 2014, more trends are sure to emerge for brands in their efforts to win the hearts and minds of consumers. Will entertainment be the new black for social brands?