The One That Got Away: How Marketing Campaigns Take On Lives Of Their Own

So there are two marketing campaigns that I’d like to showcase today, because both show how the media, specifically social media, can draw attention to a cause.

The first was through the website “,” where Shell Oil was supposedly asking people to help with their new ad campaign. They asked people to download a template for one of their new posters and add their own text. One of the examples can be seen below:

With facebook and twitter accounts created to drive people to the site, there are tons of pages to scroll through filled with sardonic and hilarious posters supposedly created by users of the site. Yet Shell Oil were not actually responsible for the site: Green Peace and activist organization Yes Lab created the spoof site (and spoof Twitter account @ShellIsPrepared) to draw attention to Shell’s energy exploration in Alaska. Not only have these spoof ads popped up in blogs, twitter links and facebook posts, but they have been all over the media too as people continue to visit the site. Social media has made it impossible for anyone to ignore the spoof site, and as fast as Shell denies any connection to the site, people are still curious enough to take a look for themselves. And this drums up awareness, which is exactly what Green Peace wanted.

The second is on a more humourous note. Walmart hosted a Facebook campaign for Enerygy Sheets, the caffeine-infused approximate of Listerine strips. The campaign promised fans whose city got the most “Likes” that Pitbull would visit their local Walmart. “David Thorpe and Jon Hendren of Something Awful hijacked  the campaign, and largely to Thorpe and Hendren’s efforts, the Kodiak Walmart’s Page now has more than 60,000 Facebook Likes — nearly 10 times the population of the entire island, according to 2010 census figures.” Thorpe and Hendren may have been acting out of spite, essentially trying to “exile” the rapper to the remote location, but in the process they managed to get 60,000 people onto that Facebook page, which is a great promotional technique for Walmart and their Energy Sheets.

So even though this may have been negative publicity, is there such a thing as a bad social media campaign, if your company is being highlighted again and again on social sites?

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