Introducing the Best Social Media Campaign of 2013: A Dancing Pony
Well, 2013 is barely upon us and already we have a front-runner for one of the most impressive social media campaigns this blog has ever seen. It is all thanks to Three Mobile UK who, just two week ago, released an advert into the world featuring a dancing pony. This special little Shetland proceeded to (literally) moon walk his way into social media marketing legend.
The video, made by advertising company Wieden + Kennedy (the folks who brought us the Old Man Spice Guy – yes, that one) features a pony moon walking right through the countryside to the tune of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere”. Before you could say ‘Harlem Shake’, the video spread like wildfire through Twitter and Facebook. It was viewed by more than a 1 million times over it’s first weekend alone and became an instant viral success.
As it’s tagline says, “Silly Stuff. It Matters” this viral hit celebrated the weird and wacky world of the internet. Quite simply, if you wanted to gather up all the elements of what makes a viral video – this is it. As Three UK put it:
Our ad is frivolous, funny and, some might say, daft. But that’s sort of the point. With it, we want to celebrate the kind of stuff that people like to share with their friends. The stuff that on the face of it might seem meaningless, but when you dig a little deeper, you find is really about people building and cementing relationships and friendships, letting each other know they’re thinking of them. So, not meaningless at all. I guess it’s the modern day equivalent of a mix tape. It’s not so much the subject of what’s shared, but the act of sharing itself that’s important.
Since it’s debut on Thursday 28th February, the video has reached over 5 million views on it’s official YouTube channel, and according to Unruly Media, which tracks the most-shared videos on Youtube, the video has received:
863, 958 Facebook shares
22,584 Twitter shares.
Including blog shares, that’s 886, 855 shares in total, ranking it the 7th most viral UK ad of the last 365 days….and it was only released two weeks ago!
However, what keeps people coming back for more is that even though – yes it’s funny, yes it’s silly and yes it’s full of positive vibes – it also has another card up it’s toe-tapping hoof. And this is where the campaign REALLY comes into it’s own. Because, unlike the Oreo Superbowl Twitter hit from a few weeks back, this is not a real-time marketing one hit wonder. No, the advert is only PHASE 1 of this ingenious campaign.
Let’s talk about PHASE 2. By now, you’ll have seen the advert embedded in the blog above (and if not, get back there and click play. You will not regret it). You’ll notice that a hashtag is included at the end “#DancePonyDance” and a link to an app called The Pony Mixer. As the trailer shows below, fans who have followed the link are now encouraged to dress their own pony in a multitude of music genre styles – be it punk, rave, rock or even boyband!
Once they’ve dressed the pony to their liking, a new video is generated in that musical genre and (here’s where it gets really good), the user is encouraged to share their unique video via either YouTube, Facebook or even Twitter using the #DancePonyDance hashtag. The reason why the hashtag exists at all is so everyone can find each other’s video uploads on the same Twitter stream, share and comment again!
Three Mobile have even added a PHASE 3, where they celebrate the newly created videos by thanking the maker and uploading the videos to their own social media sites, which in turn creates MORE views and shares and stretches out a one-video-campaign to a marathon. This user-generated video has received nearly 50,000 views alone.
In a marketplace that is now full of digital natives, the challenge is to create a multi-faceted platform to your campaign that encompasses and encourages their input. So what can we take away from this excellent social media campaign:
- As the tagline says “Silly Matters”. Social media content should be fun and light-hearted. People do not want to shop where they socialize so keep it breezy and enjoyable.
- You don’t always have to give on-brand message. Mix it up, be funny and engaging. People will not share your press releases, let alone read them.
- Don’t focus your marketing efforts on just one social platform. This campaign encompassed YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Their reach was considerable because of it.
- You’ll notice this campaign was not a competition. It was a game. People will join in if there is social enjoyment to come from it, even if there is nothing but entertainment itself to gain. Run competitions at your peril, because your new fans will only be on the look-out for more free stuff.
- Encourage people to share your content and celebrate the ones that do, as Three UK have done by re-uploading user-generated content. This can only strengthen the relationship between brand and customer.
This is where social media marketing is so successful, and in particular this amazing campaign. So kudos to Socks the Shetland pony for showing us the way and, as the advert’s call-to-action says “Keep on Internetting!”
Thanks for reading and if you liked it, show the love with the like and share buttons and feel free to leave a comment below. If you liked reading this blog, please feel free to read some of our other blogs, such as our Top 3 Tips to Be a Social Media Expert or how Social Media has completely revolutionized the TV Industry Part 1 and Part 2