Inspirational Examples of Viral Social Media Campaigns

Examples of Social Marketing Campaigns You Can Learn From!

In the world of social media campaigns, this was a year which saw many brands going beyond simply marketing their products and rather, taking their campaigns further to connect with their audience. The success of the most viral social media campaigns recently could be attributed to their ability to touch on the values of their audience while at the same time, addressing controversial issues taking place at a particular moment in time. Although this seems to be the magic formula lately when it comes to determining whether a social media campaign with being an overnight hit or fizzle out, there are other ways brands are choosing to approach how they market their products, deliver their message, and express their core values. Many focus in on targeting the customer in the optimum moment of the buying cycle, while others aim to draw attention through humorous videos, posts that play on words or through a use of strong static visuals. Take a look below at 12 clever and inspirational examples of viral social media campaigns, in no particular order, that have been released in recent years.

• Heineken | World’s Apart | #OpenYourWorld (Viral Video)

• McDonald’s Vs Wendy’s (Twitter)

• LlDL Avoracle (Viral Video)

• Marshalls PinPals | #MarshallsSurprise (Viral Video)

• iHeart Dogs ( Facebook ad 0% off)

• Make A Wish Foundation | #ShareYourEars (Instagram/Facebook)

• WealthSimple (FB/IG/Youtube/Twitter)

• Airbnb | #LiveThere (Video & Static Visuals)

• Dacia (Facebook)

• Burger King on Net Neutrality (Viral Video)

• Girl Scouts (App/Twitter)

• ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (FB/ Shared on various social platforms)

12 Inspirational Examples of Viral Social Media Campaigns

All of the below examples have become striking successes with their audiences across their chosen platform(s) and beyond. For further information on the scope & insight into the reach for some of the best examples of social media campaigns, take a look below.

Heineken | World’s Apart | #OpenYourWorld

The Heineken campaign, with their video addressing the differences between individuals of varied opinions and their ability to connect and interact, was an incredible example of a purpose-driven campaign. The power in this campaign came from the message it shared and the real-life scenarios portrayed and played out. The campaign evoked emotion and was able to captivate the viewer, no matter from which walk of life they came from. Heineken succeeded in creating brand awareness and boosting sales from their ad which was relatable to everyone, no matter where you were from, what your background was or what your beliefs were. In the end, we are all part of One World even if society tries to separate us and move us World’s Apart. Whether you’ve bought into the Heineken brand or not, this captivating and emotionally evoking ad manages to connect you to its message long enough that you’ll be reaching for a Heineken the next time you’re pondering the world or find yourself in a discussion with someone of differing views.

#1 Takeaway – Connecting to the personal experience is key to attracting the attention of a wide audience.

McDonald’s Vs Wendy’s (Twitter)

The Twitter comeback from Wendy’s in response to a tweet by McDonald’s, on May 30th, 2018, which announced that by mid-2018, all their quarter pounder burgers at the majority of their restaurants would be cooked with fresh beef, was met with huge applause by Wendy’s audience. The Wendy’s comeback was applauded for the way in which they responded as they did so in a way that was perfectly aligned with their brand values. The comeback was this, ‘So, you’ll still use fresh beef in MOST of your burgers in ALL of your restaurants? Asking for a friend’ The closing statement has to be the most humorous way to sign off. Needless to say, the tweet response, unleashed a positive response to Wendy’s brand and forced those, who favor McDonald’s to take a second look at their new announcement.

#1 Takeaway – Keeping close eyes on the social media channels of the competitors can give you the upper edge when you spot an opportunity to catch them off guard and respond in a clever way to information they have released.

LlDL Avoracle

The German global discount supermarket chain launched a clever campaign on Facebook and Twitter 2 years ago that leveraged the popularity of the avocado. They played on the unpredictable outcome of whether when opening an avocado, the pit will rest on the left or right side and created a relatable experience that functioned to predict the winner of soccer matches. The Avocado Oracle drew a huge amount of attention as followers grew on the LIDL pages to watch whether the Avoracle would correctly predict each match.

#1 Takeaway – Utilizing knowledge of popular items at the time you create and launch your campaign can provide you with added leverage, making your campaign appear more attractive in front of the customer.

Marshalls PinPals | #MarshallsSurprise

Like many people, including Kate Albrecht who is a home decor and lifestyle expert on Youtube, wandering the aisles of Marshalls can feel like paroosing a Pinterest board. Marshalls decided to launch the #marshallssurprise campaign where they selected some of their followers to be the center of a surprise visit. They had each visit filmed, compiled the videos and from this released a single video which went viral. The video features social media influencers surprising followers of Marshalls with a box of real-life goodies that represented items that appeared on their personal Pinterest boards.

Their campaign video caught the attention of their audience and resulted in over 12 million views. The campaign was shared across Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

#1 Takeaway: Bringing to life exactly what your customers are envisioning and then personally connecting it with them will definitely create the attention you’re looking for.

iHeart Dogs

The iHeart Dogs website quadrupled their sales from Friday to Tuesday following the release of their Black Friday sale in 2017. They accomplished to stand out in the news feeds throughout Facebook, with their eye-catching campaign. The iHeart Dog brand focused on brand loyalty for their campaign and choose to promote a 0% off all their products ‘sale’. For every product sold, iHeart Dogs would double their meal donations made to dog shelters. The success of their campaign is largely in part due to the way it was so perfectly aligned with their brand values. Rather than devalue their product by reducing the price and instead offering what essentially was a no discount sale, their loyal following became even more invested in the iHeart Dogs brand and developed a stronger connection to the brand as a whole.

#1 Takeaway – Utilizing holiday days with social media marketing tactics can boost your social media campaigns exponentially.

Make A Wish Foundation | #ShareYourEars

Disney Parks and The Make A Wish Foundation, partnered together in 2016 to run a holiday campaign that would spread joy and raise funds to help wishes come true to children with critical illnesses. The campaign was such a hit, they continued to run it the following year. For every photo taken, with Mickey Mouse Ears or creative ears, and shared on either Facebook/Twitter/IG with the hashtag #ShareYourEars, Disney Parks would donate $5 up to a maximum of $1 million dollars for the charity. There was such overwhelming support that Disney decided to double their donation to $2 million. The Disney Parks’s #ShareYourEars campaign not only functioned to raise brand awareness but also improved their brand’s image and the customer perception.

#1 Takeaway – Purpose driven campaigns to raise money, function best when a campaign is created that encourages participation. See ALS bucket challenge (#12) for a similar example.


Not many people like talking about money and frankly, it’s because many of us don’t have an idea even about the basics. The video campaign from WealthSimple, shared on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter, centered around interviewing everyday people and asking them what came to mind when they thought about money. The aim was to bring notice to the fact, we all could use a little more information and education when it comes to our finances. WealthSimple’s subtle yet unspoken message of how they can be the ones to help us put more focus on our finances and shift the way we think about investing was clever, to say the least. Their ability to speak their message without injecting a sales pitch is one of the aspects that made their ad so successful. Within 5 months, their viral video had over 1,800,000 views.

#1 Takeaway – Rather than trying to sell a product, the more effective approach may often be simply selling the idea that’s linked to your product, it will come across in a less sales like way too!

Airbnb | #LiveThere

With the primary objective of creating awareness by spreading a single message that travelers across the world resonate with, Airbnb released their campaign, LiveThere. Their aim was to encourage and inspire their target audience to engage in authentic holiday experiences by living like a local in the places they traveled to. Although the main objective of the campaign was to build awareness around what the brand was about, they also were aiming to build on their popularity. In some cities such as Berlin and Barcelona, Airbnb has come under fire around their offerings. Airbnb took this feedback from the population and spun their brand strategy in a direction that wouldn’t only resonate with the travelers but with the locals in each city as well.

#1 Takeaway – Shifting the positioning of your brand messaging slightly can reveal more layers to it which in turn can provide your brand a boost in popularity with not only the target audience but those directly affected by their engagement with your platform (ie. hosts and locals)

Dacia Campaign (Facebook)

One of the fastest growing car brands in Europe made waves recently with their direct response Facebook ad campaign which was focused on generating leads and improving brand awareness. They used Facebook algorithms and data gathered from user’s behavior to optimize their campaign based on where the customer was in their buying cycle. This ad campaign is a terrific example of how the moment in which you present your ad is often more important than the actual ad you put out. In the case of Dacia, their success was in a large part due to their ability to maximize the impact of their campaign by using optimization techniques. They succeeded in utilizing Facebook’s Boosted Posts feature in order to promote their content and extend its reach while targeting both desktop and mobile users.

#1 Takeaway – The leads gained through Facebook driven campaigns have been proven to create a following of loyal and engaged customers for a brand.

Burger King on Net Neutrality

The Burger King brand knows how to cleverly capitalize on the current events taking place. Late into 2017, net neutrality was repealed in the USA and in 2018, Burger King took the opportunity to speak their brand message, equality for all, by explaining net neutrality with a whopper burger example. If you missed the boat and are asking what net neutrality is, it’s the idea that everyone should have equal access to internet content.

Take a look at the campaign video to watch net neutrality play out.

#1 Takeaway – Zoning in on the current political news to demonstrate a brand’s message is the approach Burger King took with their ad on net neutrality and proved highly successful.

Girl Scouts | App

The Girl Scouts are best known as a non-profit organization in the USA that produces and sells cookies to help raise funds for community projects. When the organization’s social media team noticed that customers were having a difficulty locating their local cookie representative they wanted to run a Twitter campaign to help. The focus of their campaign was to bring attention to their easy to download the app which would link customers with the cooking finder tool, thus solving one of the main concerns of their customers during cookie season. Their objective to increase app downloads was exceeded, gaining almost 20,000 app installations and increasing their customer conversions.

#1 Takeaway – Scarcity in marketing may be an old style marketing technique but it still succeeds in increasing sales conversions in comparison to many new age methods of marketing. Using old style marketing with new age tech can be a real game changer.

ALS IceBucket Challenge

Although not a recently run campaign, the ALS IceBucket Challenge (started in 2014) has to be one of the most successful campaigns that have been released on social media. The ALS IceBucket Challenge raised a little over 115 dollars for ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), a condition which many people had never even heard of before the campaign. They were not only able to raise an incredible amount of money but they increased awareness around ALS even more than they could have expected!  The challenge encouraged participants to pour buckets of ice cold water over their heads and then challenge a minimum of three others to do the same and make a donation to the ALS Association.

#1 Takeaway – The positive use of social pressure to increase publicity and encourage donations is highly effective as seen in the ALS IceBucket Challenge campaign.

Are you Inspired?

The various examples of social marketing campaigns speak to the incredible power that social media viral marketing has, including its ability to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and lead to increased sales. The next time you’re putting together your social media marketing strategy, keep these campaigns in mind and remember what made them a striking success, it’ll for sure help you drive your campaign to succeed too! And if you need help in promoting your Kickstarter campaign, get in touch here.