26 OctBest and worst social media of 2009

Social media

As I’m prepping for an upcoming presentation on buzz marketing, my daily email from the Word of Mouth Marketing Association comes across the wire.  Fortuitously, it includes a link to an article  on the best and worst social media campaigns of the year. 

While I think it may be a little early to start posting the best and worst of the year – it’s the equivalent to Christmas décor showing up in the department stores before Halloween – this is definitely a good read.

What’s noteworthy about the top selections is that they fit in perfectly with the top traits of buzz. 

Obama won the top slot, naturally, for his campaign.  While the article applauds his use of social media, you’ve got to recognize the buzzworthiness of the man as well.  The nation’s first African-American president.  Young, charismatic, stirring up hopes of change, mobilizing a country to get out and vote.  His team’s use of social media was fantastic, but would McCain have won the election if he’d been just as proficient?  I doubt it.  Buzz shows up at the ballot boxes.

The next campaign to win a top slot is the Compare the Meerkat campaign, which outfitted a cute little meerkat and equipped him with a cheesey Russian accent.  Humor hard at work, combined with a rip-off from the Wonderful World of Disney.  Personally, I liked Timon’s one-liners better.

The third post is for Zappos, a company that really understands how to use social media because of its simplistic approach.  It seems like they’ve unlocked the secret by bypassing all the PR strategies and Mad Men media models, and they’re simply being authentic.  (Unlike the worst of campaigns included in the article.)  The CEO tweets, and he’s really an engaging Tweeterer.  Twittererst?  Tweetist?  

The bottom line is that Zappos is that these guys generate buzz because they’re a highly successful company that appears to be run by a very normal, goofy, fun-loving group of people.  No stuffy CEO types here.  Unless this is a covert front established by some truly ingenious Mad Men.

The final campaign is for Beat Cancer everywhere.  It draws upon a disease that has touched far too many people.  The campaign featured eBay/PayPal and MillerCoors donating one cent to breast cancer research for each mention of the #beatcancer hashtag on Twitter.   The campaign boasted a buzzworthy statistic, beating a Guiness World Record for the “distribution of the largest mass message through social media within 24 hours.”  I’m sure this blog post will top that mark.

Of course, you’ll want to read the worst campaigns.  Each includes such tremendous lapses in judgment and common sense that prison sentences or astonishing levels of government regulation should be inflicted upon the perps.  And I may pick a fight on this one, but I was even more amazed by the amount of time people invested in complaining about the drivel. 

We can talk about these in greater detail if you can join me at the Midwest Regional Conference hosted by the American Marketing Association at the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  Now I need to quit working on this post, and get back to working on that presentation….