Throwback Thursday: Summer Days, Great Campaigns

Ask anybody about the leisurely pace the world seems to take come summertime and they’ll sing the slowdown’s praises until the weather gets cold again. As long as they aren’t a company looking at sales, which inevitably encounter a similar crawl once the warm days hit. In order to succeed in this lethargic season, it takes a real level of marketing savvy. As we enter the final weeks of summer, let’s take a look back to last year and some of the most successful marketing campaigns of Summer 2014, where brands managed to turn the longest days of the year into some of their most profitable.


ALS Association – Ice Bucket Challenge


Last summer, ALS Ice Bucket Challenge quickly rose in prominence from a quirky fundraising campaign to a viral Internet sensation. Celebrities, CEOs, athletes and a huge list of other stars took to social media to post videos and photos of their friends dousing them in ice water, before challenging colleagues and followers alike to do the same. With every goosebump-inducing video, participants raised awareness and funds for the ALS association, a foundation dedicated to the research of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and the care for those who suffer from the disease.


After the Ice Bucket Challenge went viral on social media, public awareness and charitable donations to ALS charities soared. Within weeks of the challenge, The New York Times reported that the ALS Association had received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 until August 21. More than 739,000 new donors have given money to the association. On August 29, the ALS Association announced that their total donations since July 29 had exceeded $100 million.


Coca-Cola – #ShareACoke


Similarly leveraging the power of social media, Coca-Cola launched its own campaign that persists on to this summer – and doesn’t look to be slowing down. On the label of every 20-ounce bottle of Coke, the company also printed out one of the 250 most popular first names for teens and millennials in the U.S. Anytime a consumer found one of these bottles in the supermarket, the label encouraged them to go online and #ShareACoke with someone they knew. For those whose names fell outside the top 250, or for a personalized nickname, consumers could visit and write their own message.


There were more than 125,000 posts about the campaign across all social sites during the summer, according to The Wall Street Journal. This campaign also reversed a decade-long decline in U.S. soda consumption. Coke’s sales rose 2.5% in dollar terms, while soda sales remained negative at its rivals PepsiCo Inc. and Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc.



As the tweets above show, even now, people are still excited about finding their names at stores and vending machines and letting their social networks know about it.


Always – #LikeAGirl


While many might recognize Always’ “Like A Girl” campaign from the company’s wildly popular Super Bowl commercial (featured below), the company actually began laying the groundwork with a summer social media campaign. The #LikeAGirl commercial emphasized empowerment and positive self-image, helping to drive a larger nationwide conversation about gender equality. It has encouraged many female supporters to promote clips and photos and spread the message through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. using #LikeAGirl hashtag. According to Hootsuite, Always has earned over 55 million YouTube views, over 200,000 YouTube likes, over 150,000 Facebook comments and over 40,000 Tweets.


Because it’s #internationalwomensday💁💪 #likeagirl

— Jeannie Weir (@jeannieweir_) March 9, 2015


These three brands demonstrated last year how effective a summer marketing campaign can really be, as their legacies continue on, one year later. Taking a look back through this summer, are there any campaigns that you think could have a similarly lasting effect? Let us know in the comments!