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5 Best Advocacy Campaigns: Combining Authenticity With Effective Hashtags

July 31, 2019 Sarah Cavill

With an election right around the corner, cause marketing is on the rise. Brands and charities are eager to harness the activism that can thrive around political campaigns, while also asserting their own values. Younger consumers respond strongly to brands with a point of view, and brands are finding success by taking a stand, often implementing campaigns with digital or interactive activations. Nonprofits are also finding success with digital campaigns that include social media components, like hashtags and user generated content.

#FEEDSupper Encourages Entertaining To Provide School Lunches For Children All Over The World

Sometimes the best cause campaigns can be very simple — create a hashtag that exemplifies what your brand stands for, encourage followers to share that hashtag with photos or other user generated content (UGC), and see how it grows. FEED, a lifestyle brand that donates meals with every purchase, created #FEEDSupper. The upscale brand asked their followers to host meals, collect donations and post photos of their events with the #FEEDSupper hashtag. (FEED also sells a Supper Toolkit for hosts who need help with decorating or explaining the purpose behind FEED’s mission.)

The #FEEDSupper campaign was so successful it raised enough money to provide more than 2,000,000 meals for children and families, and it has become a year-round initiative.

Airbnb Promotes Inclusivity With #WeAccept Campaign Earning Global Praise

The issue of immigration and the global refugee crisis inspired Airbnb to assert their point of view on this controversial issue, and encourage others to embrace the same philosophy of inclusivity. The Airbnb #WeAccept campaign was launched during Super Bowl LI and stated Airbnb’s policy of inclusion when hiring: “We believe, no matter who you are, where you’re from, who you love or who you worship, we all belong. The world is more beautiful the more you accept.”

The #WeAccept campaign generated 33,000 Tweets in the first half of the Super Bowl, and 87 million impressions. It also served to kick-off Airbnb’s plan to provide 100,000 people in need with short-term housing over the next five years. #WeAccept was picked up by news outlets around the world, and the campaign was generally praised for its strong position and ability to align the Airbnb brand with a cause.

Make-A-Wish Grants Very Special Wish To #SFbatkid Prompting A Rush Of Donations

Make-A-Wish

Make-A-Wish, the nearly 40-year old charity that grants wishes to children diagnosed with critical illnesses, granted a very special wish to Miles Scott, otherwise known as Batkid. By enlisting the help of the city of San Francisco, Make-A-Wish was able to create a day of (fake) crime fighting for the five-year old. Batkid’s superhero wish quickly went viral with the help of secured Twitter handles including @SFWish and @PenguinSF and the branding of all posts on social with the #SFbatkid hashtag.

The day of the #SFbatkid campaign, a call to action was sent out for Make-A-Wish donations. Miles Scott’s big day produced 600,000 Tweets and 1.7 billion Twitter impressions, and Make-A-Wish raised 25% more in the period following #SFbatkid than its previous best year.

Water Is Life Changed Up The Hashtag #FirstWorldProblems To Bring Attention To Global Water Insecurity

Water Is Life took a hashtag already floating around the internet and used it to launch a campaign bringing attention to water insecurity and water shortages around the world. #FirstWorldProblems, a popular hashtag on the internet poking fun at small issues only people in developed countries might worry about, was used by Water Is Life in a commercial highlighting what first-world problems are like in developing countries.

The #FirstWorldProblems spot garnered 6 million views, and helped Water is Life raise enough money to drill six new wells and build a water treatment plant in Haiti. By using a hashtag with a built-in following, Water Is Life was able to grow their own campaign quickly and successfully.

World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Partners With Snapchat To Promote #LastSelfie Campaign

Partnerships can be an effective way to draw attention to causes, and Snapchat has been an ally for nonprofits looking to reach Millennials. In the case of WWF’s #Lastselfie advocacy campaign, the ephemeral nature of Snapchat images was used to evoke the precarious state of certain endangered animals in the wild. “Don’t let this be my #Lastselfie” was created to encourage more donations to WWF, particularly from younger internet users who can be difficult to reach with traditional media. When a WWF #Lastselfie image showed up in a Snapchat user’s feed, the image included calls to action for SMS donations and message sharing, encouraging users to interact with and promote the campaign. The campaign was very successful, with WWF reaching their monthly funding target within three days of the #Lastselfie campaign launch. According to an analysis by the Mobile Marketing Association, “within the first eight hours, there were 5,000 Tweets being viewed on 6 million Twitter timelines. After just one week, 40,000 Tweets hit 120 million Twitter users, nearly 50% of the overall monthly total.”

Millennials and Gen Z members are native social users and often perceive themselves as caring more about the environment than older generations. WWF was able to effectively leverage this attribute of their targeted generations for a successful awareness campaign and donation driver.

An advocacy campaign, whether on behalf of a brand or in service of a nonprofit, should not underestimate the effectiveness of well-strategized viral and social marketing initiatives. Companies can be bold, they can take stands, and they can target their audiences own biases and assumptions, as long as the campaigns effectively align with the missions and visions of the brands.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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