This year social-savvy companies and brands really stepped up their marketing initiatives on Instagram. Our favorite photo sharing app can be harnessed for so much more than posting pictures of your cat or lunch.
Brands that are strategically engaged on Instagram have an instantly accessible platform to share personality and creativity and are in turn immersed in their fans daily lives. This brought many well thought out and innovative brand campaigns specifically on Instagram.
See the best 14 Instagram campaigns from 2014 here:
Marc Jacobs #CastMeMarc
In April Marc Jacobs took recruiting for the face of the brand to the social sphere. Jacobs called for aspiring models to tag their photos with #CastMeMarc to be considered for the Fall 2014 campaign. “It seemed like a great idea to me, as casting through Instagram seemed cool, current and strong,” Jacobs shared with Women’s Wear Daily. The campaign had 70,000 applications via the hashtag, which a team from Marc by Marc Jacobs winnowed down to 30 who were flown from around the world to be photographed. Two winners were chosen to be the faces of the campaign and were featured in Teen Vogue in August.
This July, Applebee’s hopped on the User Generated Content train and leveraged great diner photos for their #Fantographer campaign. The campaign urged customers to tag pictures of their delicious meals for a chance to have their image featured on the Applebee’s official Instagram account. Between the launch of the campaign in July and September, Applebee’s increased their Instagram following by 32% and engagement by 25%.
Habitat for Humanity #HabitatPhotoContest
Supporters and advocates for various non-profits create some of the most compelling UGC. Habitat for Humanity is one non-profit that is highlighting and encouraging all of the great content in their community. This year, Habitat took their photo contest to Instagram. To enter, contestants were asked to post photos that best captured the mission of the projects with #HabitatPhotoContest, as well as follow @habitatforhumanity. The winner was awarded a spot as a volunteer at the 31st Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project in Dallas, TX. Submissions were collected and displayed on a social hub showing inspiring photos of both Habitat volunteers on site and Habitat home owners.
Starbucks – White Cup Challenge
Starbucks is known for utilizing their exceptional UGC. Starbucks fans are some of the most brand loyal, and they create wonderful content that is often shared on the coffee brand’s official social accounts. They also interacts with fans through great contests. This April, Starbucks challenged their creative customers to customize their iconic white cups and tag their submissions on Instagram with #WhiteCupContest. The winning design would then be translated to a limited edition reusable cup available for sale in the stores. The contest highlighted the brand’s imaginative fans, as well as their commitment to being a waste conscious brand with their push for the use of reusable cups. The campaign received more thank 4,000 submissions in three weeks and awarded a young art student in Pittsburgh with the winning title for her creative cup design.
Adidas & Champs #adicolorTV
Adidas Originals and Champs powwowed for a great collaboration for #adicolorTV, mini videos featuring Adidas products and various celebs that would only be aired on the official Champs Sports Instagram account. The campaign, launched in July, included twenty fifteen-second “episodes” over six weeks. The short, highly styled, videos
CLIF Bar – #MeetTheMoment
Solidified as an outdoor enthusiast brand, CLIF Bar powers many athletes and adventures with their products. To help share and inspire new adventures and protect the environments in which their customers are playing, CLIF created their #MeetTheMoment campaign. The photo sharing campaign choses a new environmentally centered nonprofit each month in which for each post shared with #MeetTheMoment, $1 would be donated to that nonprofit. The posts, all with beautiful outdoor and adventure themed imagery, are collected and shared on a styled website social hub.
Kenneth Cole – #DressForYourSelfie
Selfies run rampant all over the social media sphere. Kenneth Cole launched their selfie contest on January 31st, giving contestants the chance to win free shoes for a year by posting their selfie to Instagram and using the hashtag #DressForYourSelfie. Kenneth Cole is giving the selfie contest more branding power by providing message strips for people to include in their selfies that help inform other people about the contest and how to participate.
Hillside Beach Club – #JobAtHeavenOnEarth
The picturesque five-star resort the Hillside Beach Club on the coast of Turkey turned to Instagram this year to source six new “Chief Instagram Officers.” The campaign had applicants tag their most impressive beach photos with #JobAtHeavenOnEarth for a chance to take over the resorts official Instagram – paired with free accommodations – for a week.
Vogue’s Shoppable Instagram
With fashion ruling many of the posts on Instagram, socially shrewd fashion brands and bloggers are capitalizing on this by incorporating affiliate linking through LikeToKnow.it. Since Instagram doesn’t allow for direct linking in captions, LikeToKnow.it creates a seamless bridge between customers and brands. As a leader in fashion editorial, Vogue was the first fashion publication to launch the program on their official Instagram account. By signing up for the program, users are emailed the information of an outfit or product highlighted in an Instagram post. This saves users the time of commenting their questions on the products, which may get lost in the shuffle, or searching various sites for the exact outfit the saw in a post.
Make Your Own Mercedes
To commemorate the launch of the new 2015 Mercedes GLA Compact SUV, the brand created a virtual custom shop via Instagram. Users could create their own dream version of the luxury vehicle via different tags leading users to alternate accounts with different customizations and features. The campaign included hundreds of Instagram profiles and thousands of images to create the experience in which the final photo presents the user with their customized vehicle and the price tag to match.
Buffalo Wild Wings – #Fannerism
Buffalo Wild Wings is a hub for sports fans to congregate with good company and good grub to watch their favorite teams duke it out. During this year’s World Cup, BWW (assisted by the Periscope agency) turned to Instagram to connect with diners with their #Fannerism campaign. The campaign was unique in that it employed Instagram Direct, a feature that has thus not been used by many brands, in an effort to stand apart from other Instagram competitions. The contest asked fans to share posts of themselves enjoying the World Cup at BWW with #Fannerism on Instagram. In turn, the brand would reply to winners via the Instagram Direct function to instruct them on how to win a gift card. The competition was part of a larger push to engage the millennial generation utilizing social platforms and in store social displays.
Madewell – Instagram Flash Mob
The self-proclaimed denim obsessives, Madewell, harnessed the power of the Instagram feed in February with their #flashtagram campaign. Madewell decided to leverage their strong connections with different fashion bloggers and Instagrammers, along with 500 Madewell employees, connected to post their favorite pairs of Madewell denim tagged with #denimmadewell and #flashtagram. The quick campaign that lasted only a day and collected nearly 2,000 posts and more than 160,000 likes from the posts. It was a simple, cost effective way, to put denim on the front of mind of the Instagram fashion community.
CBS Celeb Takeover
CBS utilized star power for an Instagram takeover this fall season. For one week the official network Instagram account was taken over by primetime actors and producers for fans to get an inside look at what goes into making their favorite programming. Throughout the week, stars from popular CBS network shows posted pictures from set the day that the shows were to air on TV. Fans could follow along via the official account or through the official hashtag #CBSInstagramTakeover.
Target Halloween Campaign
This Halloween, Target launched a “virtual trick-or-treat experience” on the brand’s official Instagram account. Each image has the option to chose a trick or a treat, that leads users to different profiles depending on which tag is tapped. Users who choose trick will be lead to spooky themed recipes, and those who choose treat lead to DIY halloween projects. The creative campaign is a great showcase of using the app in a fresh way.