Our Top 3 Favorite Surprise and Delight Campaigns

Surprise and Delight with Social Media

In the age of social media, the consumer really is king. Social media has opened up brands to a boat load of scrutiny and praise alike. So what can we do to make consumers love our brands? We can make them overwhelmingly happy.

surprise and delight marketing campaigns

Photo Via: Matchistic

One of the greatest things you can do for your social media strategy is to take a step back and look at your constituents. What do they need? What do they like? Surprise and Delight Campaigns give you the opportunity to think outside of the box and make people happy in ways that don’t have to be brand focused.

We have a lot of campaigns that we love, but here are our favorite Surprise and Delight Campaigns.

#3. Coca-Cola: Coke makes everyone happy right? Well they wanted to take that happiness to a new level by surprising unsuspecting people with ice cold coca-cola. The Happiness Project has quenched the thirst of people all over the world. Here is one of their delightful trips to Rio de Janeiro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVap-ZxSDeE

#2. WestJet: Last Christmas, airline WestJest decided to take their social reach up a notch by planning the best Christmas campaign we have every seen. If you haven’t seen this video yet, take a moment to watch it. Even though we aren’t in the holiday season it will warm your heart: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk


#1. And of course our #1 favorite campaign is our client, Better Than Bouillon! We love working with our clients to make their consumers happy. This past Valentine’s Day we were able to brighten the day of one couple giving them the ultimate Valentine’s Date Night in, complete with a risotto kit, candles, chocolates and champagne glasses. Come to find out it was their 29th anniversary.

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Word of mouth marketing is an incredibly powerful tool. Surprise and Delight campaigns allow your brand to capitalize on word of mouth. You’re focusing on very few people at a time but often these efforts can make more of an impact than even a larger, more traditional social media marketing campaign. By creating  personal connection and making someone feel special, they will invariably promote your brand without you ever having to ask again.

Industry Update: Snapchat

snapchat-gives-you-a-color-palette-for-doodling-over-your-photos-1Okay, I admit it I use Snapchat. I was reluctant to join at first because of the stigma behind an app that deletes photos after 10 seconds. I was convinced the only people who would use something like this were teenagers trying to hide things from their parents.  Although this might be the majority of users, as it turns out, Snapchat for me is really just a place where my friends and I can send picture of our pets without feeling the shame of having 1000s of pictures our phones. Although I use Snapchat almost exclusively for doggie pictures, it has exploded as a powerful tool in the advertising world.

Snapchat is becoming increasingly popular with teens and young adults. Brands with younger target audiences have a unique opportunity to reach these consumers on a very personal level. Although the opportunity may not seem apparent, a few brands have already revolutionized Snapchat marketing.

The first true attempt at using Snapchat as a marketing tool was lead by New York City frozen yogurt company, 16Handles. 16Handles asked their customers to send them a Snapchat with an image of them eating frozen yogurt. In return, they would send a coupon code for 16%, 50%, or 100% off. The catch was, customers only had 10 seconds to have the cashier scan the coupon or they lost it. The beauty of Snapchat is that it creates a sense of urgency unlike any other social media medium.

Taco Bell used Snapchat to create buzz around the release of their Beefy Crunchy Burrito. They told their Twitter followers that a huge announcement was going to be made on Snapchat, and consumers received a secret note that self destructed in 10 seconds.Snapchat-video-messaging-comes-to-the-stable-Android-app

While Snapchat isn’t for everyone, it is an effective way to reach a younger audience on an extremely personal level. The nature of the app inherently creates a sense of excitement and urgency that you just can’t get from Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms. I know that we will be keeping Snapchat on our radar for clients!

The top 3 social media campaigns that inspire me

Top 3 Inspirational Social Media Campaigns

Peugeot Pinterest Puzzle Social Media CampaignSocial media is no longer the shiny new toy. By now, most companies have integrated some sort of social media into their traditional marketing plan.  As a result, there is a saturation of campaigns, some good, some not so good. But, through the thick of it all I still find those campaigns that really stand out and inspire me to find creative and unique ways to integrate social media into our larger marketing plans. Social media isn’t about being a stand-alone method, it is about how effectively you can integrate them into other methods. Here are my top 3 favorite integrated social media campaigns.

#3 Peugeot Pinterest Puzzle

I love it when I see a campaign that makes me want to drop everything and participate. This is exactly what happened when I saw the Peugeot puzzle contest on Pinterest. In an attempt to gain more engagement with their fans, Peugeot decided to run a fun, engaging competition on Pinterest. They created boards with five images, four of which said “missing” and one with a picture of a part of a car. Users were then asked to scour Peugeot’s website and Facebook page to find the other four missing images, to complete the puzzle. The first people to complete the puzzle board and share it with Peugeot won discounts, cash and prizes. Not only did this campaign strengthen their social media presence, it also educated consumers about their products. During this campaign, Peugeot saw a 50,000 increase in likes, follows, and re-pins on Pinterest. In addition, this campaign saw national media coverage, further promoting the Peugeot brand. When I am brainstorming a Pinterest contest-this is my go to campaign for inspiration.Ben and Jerry's Fair Tweets Campaign

#2 Ben and Jerry’s Fairtweets

This is my favorite twitter awareness campaign that I have seen. Ben and Jerry’s decided to think outside of the box when they launched their Fairtweets campaign. In doing research, they realized that twitter users rarely utilized all 140 characters that are given to them. So, in an effort to raise awareness about World Fair Trade Day they created an application that would “recycle” the left over characters in tweets. Users downloaded a twitter-integrated Fairtweets application that allowed them to tweet normally. Their leftover characters were then turned into a custom message about Fair Trade Day with the hashtag #fairtweets and a link to a microsite with more information. Ben and Jerry’s was able to use twitter to push people to their website where they were showcasing World Fair Trade Day on a larger level. I love this campaign because it takes very little effort on the part of the user, but effectively pushes the message. The users don’t need to remember to mention World Fair Trade Day, they simply tweet and the message is created for them.

#1 Human Rights Campaign – Red for Equality

It is pretty hard to ignore a campaign that completely infiltrates your Facebook timeline. Last week, the Human Rights Campaign launched the most effective campaign I have seen to date. Their Human Rights Campaign Facebook Campaignmessaging was concise: change your profile picture to their logo in red. Within hours, their original photo was seen by 9 million people, and shared 77,000 times. The thing that I love the most about this campaign is that they kept it simple. They didn’t try and use any magic tricks; they purely asked users to change their profile picture. It always amazes me to see campaigns that stay true to what
social media really is: word of mouth marketing. For those who didn’t know what the red logos were for, they took the next steps to research what they were seeing on Facebook, which ultimately lead them to the HRC website. This campaign taught me that sometimes its good to stick to what you know works.

With all of the social media campaigns out there it can be a little overwhelming. I have found that creativity is contagious and I am always looking for that brand that really goes the extra mile to help keep me on my toes.



The Social Media Revolution #3

The power of WOM. It’s why we do what we do. It’s why we try to convince you to do it, too. It’s why we take part in it beyond the professional realm: we are users, consumers, and social networkers – just like your audience – who want to interact with the brands we use every day. We’ve seen it bring people together, solve real problems, and magnify positive (and negative) experiences. And this, my friends, is why we believe that this stuff works.

Watch and be convinced.

Strayer University Grows Their Online Presence: A Case Study

Strayer U Blog

Strayer University is an educational institution with over 80 campuses across the nation. The University provides a quality education to working adults in both online and offline atmospheres. In 2009, Strayer University came to The Cyphers Agency seeking to increase their online presence and lead generation numbers.


Strayer University’s only online presence was on MySpace, and that presence wasn’t in tune with their overall University brand. Even more so, their web site didn’t serve prospective students but rather, existing students. How could they grow their student population if their potential students couldn’t find out any important information? This, married to poor search engine optimization, resulted in low numbers of leads, ultimately impacting the University’s growth. That was where we came in.

Plan of Attack

We focused our efforts on blog creation and social network development. Our goal was to create an active online community by engaging with existing and potential students on our blog and social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Strayer U Blog

The blog was built as part of a microsite created specifically as a lead generation tool. All of our online ad efforts were directed to that site, helping potential students locate any necessary information they might need to learn about Strayer and the opportunities they could grasp there. Students were also able to input information about themselves should they want a Strayer University representative to contact them. The blog provided a chance to create fresh content (helping with SEO), as well as give users valuable information about being a student at Strayer University. It didn’t hurt to have content to share on social networks, either.

Strayer U Facebook

In addition to sharing this blog content, we were active on Strayer’s social networks, especially Facebook. Students were (and still are) able to get their questions answered, whether it’s something as simple as needing to know who to contact to sign up for classes or a more crucial issue like financial aid. While we were charged with maintaining the page, we focused on grooming a community that interacted with each other. Students were always happy to answer each others’ questions, diffuse a difficult situation, or just cheer each other on.


In less than a year, we were able to make real progress and establish some positive results for Strayer University. Awareness levels increased, as evidenced by the nearly 33 million impressions we delivered. Even more so, leads generated from our efforts have converted at higher rates than any other initiative or ad program within the University.

We are continually growing Strayer University’s online presence. Their social networks have grown – over 8,500 and growing – to become beneficial, if not crucial, spaces for students to interact.

Stop giving “social media” all the credit

I was just reading an article about how Starbucks used social media to drive 1 million people to its stores on one day. But these stories are misleading, because it’s not really social media that got all those people through the doors of Starbucks. Those people came to get something that was valuable to them (in this case a free pastry). And as for how they heard about it? Yes, an important TOOL involved was social media, but the STRATEGY was what got them there. The strategy was based on the concepts of word of mouth marketing.

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) operates on certain concepts that underlie the new ways that consumers think about and interact with brands. WOMM recognizes that the consumer has more power because they have more of a voice. So don’t think I’m discounting the importance of social media, because social media is the entire reason that consumers have more power. But I want to emphasize that you can’t “do” social media. And if all you do is interact on social media because you heard that Starbucks just made a gazillion dollars, you won’t get anything out of it.

To be successful with social media, you need to be successful in word of mouth marketing. You need to give people someone to talk about, or you need to find what people are talking about and get your brand in the discussion. There are tons of other ways to take advantage of word of mouth marketing concepts, but they all relate back to this:

– The consumer is tired of you interrupting them and yelling at them.

– The consumer has so much information thrown at them daily that they are quick to stop paying attention. You know what they will always pay attention to? Their friends and people that they respect.

– If you want their attention you better be telling them something a lot more valuable than “hey look it’s us! buy our product!”

– The consumer will call you out if you have a bad product, and they might have 100, 1,000, or 100,000 people listening.

Respect word of mouth. Start with these concepts and you are bound to get people talking about your brand.

The Wave of the Future: Geo-Networking Services (and thus local advertising opportunities)

In the marketing and advertising world, we must admit that we are always looking ahead for the next big thing. A few years ago, it was text marketing. Now, it is social media and mobile marketing. Emerging slowly, but with some force, is the use of geo-location services to reach and reward our audiences in new and unique ways.

Geo-networking Platforms

The combination of location based services and social networking are now represented on platforms such as FourSquare and Gowalla. And according to an article in the May 10 edition of Advertising Age, Facebook is setting up its very own location based capabilities. And with a platform as large as Facebook, which adds millions of users each day, location based marketing might take off on an entirely new level.

McDonald’s is said to be one of the first to sign up, allowing users to “check-in” at restaurants and share their food choices with their networks. This function will be going live shortly after Facebook releases its location based functionality.


While location based marketing is still in the experimental phase, it brings great advantages to marketers. It gives you the power to communicate with an audience on an entirely different level. You can reward them for “checking in” with promotions, offers, or coupons at your store location (a la foursquare). You can also give them the ability to share what they love about your brand, service, or product with their friends, while they are at your brick-and-mortar locations. This helps your customers pass the word on even faster (beware: even if it’s negative!). Geo-location services are turning physical places into virtual avenues of communication.

Location based services are great for local businesses, too, allowing small business chains to reward their most loyal customers. They offer special promotions and offers to those that come into their store or restaurant the most often. It is a brilliant idea for driving foot traffic into the store, and making that experience an interactive one.


While Facebook’s upcoming implementation of location based functionality might mean big things for marketers and consumers, there are some serious privacy concerns for users. With the overwhelming amount of negative feedback that Facebook received for their default privacy settings and Open Graph idea, we can conclude that users might not like the capability of letting their entire network know where they are and what they are doing. But hopefully, Facebook will allow share options once the location functionality goes live.

The Future

In most cases, location functionality is opening the door for further communication between marketers and an audience. More so, it attempts to bridge the physical gap between a company and its consumers. With the increasing interest in platforms like FourSquare, and the soon-to-be released Facebook location features, we may be looking at a new marketing phenomenon that will become part of the communication norm.

How To: Create a Viral Video

This past weekend the internet was abuzz about a certain workout video, featuring UFC fighter Chuck Liddell and his girlfriend exercising. Why was the video so popular? Maybe people want work out tips from a UFC fighter? Or maybe it’s because Chuck and his girlfriend are completely naked.

It turns out that this is a viral video created by Reebok to showcase their new ZigTech shoes. We really like the video (for marketing reasons only!) and think that several lessons can be learned from Reebok:

1. Be controversial, but not offensive – the video has the private parts blurred out, but besides that doesn’t leave much to the imagination.

2. Seed the video with influencers – in this case, TMZ was the perfect outlet for the viral video. It gave the paparazzi-like video some credibility, and was a huge catalyst for reactions and the spread of word of mouth.

3. Don’t push the product too hard – the video doesn’t focus on the shoes, which makes it more entertaining for the viewer and less likely to be an obvious contrivance. Rather, let the buzzers (like us)  speak about the product afterward.

We think that Reebok successfully garnered buzz around the brand and the product (ZigTech shoes). The video might offend some, but those aren’t the people that Reebok is trying to please. All considered, we think this was a great execution. However, we’re going to have to watch the video a few more times just to be sure 😉

The Reach of Social Media: From Runway to Twitter

This past weekend, I had the privilege of attending a little known thing called New York Fashion Week, which started last Friday and runs throughout this week. Because of some amazing friends and once in a life time opportunities, I attended the Christian Siriano Fall 2010 Collection, as well as Naomi Campbell’s Fashion Show for Haiti Relief. But aside from shoes and dresses, everyone seemed to be armed with something that, until now, was unrelated to fashion: tools for social media.

Once inside the tents, I was amazed to see how much the fashion industry has grasped the digital era. Forget digital cameras: girls in stilettos snapped pictures on their iPhones, instantly uploading to Twitter. Members of the press were interviewing fashion celebs, recording  questions and answers on their cell phones instead of tape recorders, shooting emails to their editors simultaneously. I had a friend Google a celebrity’s name to see his picture, to ensure she was taking a picture of the right guy. There was even a section dedicated to fashion techy gurus, sitting on benches with their Mac books open, balanced on their thighs. Above them, a screen displayed a real time feed of tweets featuring the New York Fashion Week hashtag (#nyfw), constantly updating and changing.

But the fashion industry goes beyond just the diffusion of fashion week news through social media. This was the first year that typically industry exclusive shows like Marc Jacobs or Rodarte were being shown digitally, bringing access to anyone with a computer. Even more than that, designers are embracing social media on an entirely different level. As mentioned in this recent Mashable article, the industry has begun to accept “outsiders” by inviting them in, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, or the blogosphere. They’ve become more open, tapping an a huge audience that had, until recently, been completely ignored and unheard.

Like in all other industries, some have chosen not to adopt social media as a new and influential practice. And just like in all other industries, they are going to be left behind. Those that adapt will stay relevant, and ultimately, in front of consumers.

We’re With Stupid…

Okay, well not literally, but we have been captivated and intrigued by Diesel’s recent Be Stupid campaign. You’ve just got to check out the website.

There is some pretty strong stuff going on there. The website and campaign message are both unique and well-built, especially for Diesel’s existing (or intended) audience base. The creative is bold and in your face. And there is also a sweet contest and the chance to check out the clothes that represent the campaign.

Despite all the awesome stuff they have going on, we found their overall social media integration a bit odd (and you should know by now that we’re pretty passionate about integration). Diesel gives web site visitors the opportunity to check out their social networks, but their presence on these seems a bit out of tune with their message and campaign. Their Twitter page is geared toward music, not toward their Be Stupid campaign or general brand message. Their YouTube page, although featuring their Be Stupid video, hosts mostly music, too. Even their Facebook page carries a seemingly different air than their website message. We do, however, applaud their effort to allow consumers the chance to share the creative process via social networks.

And this is as good a time as any to continue praising integration, but this time, we’re taking it to the next step. Don’t just use the tools so you can claim to have a fully integrated campaign. Tailor them each specifically to your message, making each fit together like a piece of a puzzle, or else their existence will serve no purpose.

But overall, we applaud Diesel’s big idea. It is cutting edge, different, and definitely grabbed our attention. We just wish they could have carried it over to their social networks in a more efficient way. What do you think?