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Social media in the real world - 5 stunning examples

Written by Simply Zesty on

There's an emerging trend for social media campaigns that's seeing them more and more integrated with the real world, i.e. combining online social media technologies with offline experiences. Some technologies are leading the way here such as QR codes, NFC and RFID tags. This is really where the future of social media is at, as brands have to work harder to retain fans at every point of the brand journey : just because this might start offline, it doesn't mean it has to end there. The holy grail for brands is to convert their users or customers into a follower, friend, fan, Like or subscriber and there's increasingly innovative campaigns that show this in action. Below is a selection of our favourites.

T Mobile take Facebook to the streets

T Mobile brought Facebook to life through an innovative campaign that involved a giant Facebook Wall that was updated with an offline medium - magic markers! Passersby got the chance to have their profile photo and status updates written onto the giant wall by hand. People could interact with the billboard online, but they also captured passersby, who accessed the Facebook Page via their mobile to update their statuses live and see them transformed onto the wall. To add real currency to the campaign, the event was also live-streamed via the Facebook Page, so you could still get involved online and be part of the wall by seeing your updates drawn live via video. The campaign was well considered as the idea was to show how easy it was to update your Facebook on the go through your mobile, which tied it back into the brand.

Nike iD customised billboard

Another great example of a brand using billboards that are tied back to social media (the new trend??). To promote the customisation available for a new line of Nike shoes, a giant billboard was put up in Copenhagen that was updated in real time, based on interaction with the Facebook Page. A team of graffitti artists were recruited to transform the billboard, according to which designs received the most Likes on the Free Run 2 iD Facebook Page. This was an integrated campaign that also had one eye on sales throughout, as the Facebook Page also contained an app whereby people could customise designs for their own trainers, which had a direct link to purchase on the Nike site. This shows how the offline element can be used to capture people effectively, but bringing them back online completely to enter the purchase cycle. Check out the billboard in action below :

Farmville in real life

This is an interesting case study as it doesn't represent a brand, but a community led project that used Farmville as inspiration to run a real-life farm, that was controlled virtually. My Farm Experiment is a website that controls an actual farm in the UK, based on user interaction online. To become part of the farm costs just £30 and represents a revolutionary way to build communities that have a real cause at the heart of it. The farm is run by farm manager Richard Morris, who is led by monthly votes that take place, to make key decisions about how the farm is run. The site itself is incredibly active and it seems to have offered an opportunity to be part of something real life online that resonates with people. The first vote on the site has just been held, on what grain should be planted, with the next vote taking place for Livestock!

Mercedes-Benz race on Twitter

In an adventurous campaign, Mercedes-Benz wanted to put their social media community to the test, by seeing how online content could power their cars in a real-life race. They called for people to enter for their chance to be part of the race, with a total of 10 drivers being recruited through the online entry. Once chosen, users had to use their own initiative and their online communities to gather enough tweets to take them through the race. Through specially developed technology that the cars were equipped with, 4 tweets could take you the equivalent of one mile. This was such a good campaign because not only did it integrate the online and the offline so seamlessly, but it called on individual entrants to use their own social media savvy to promote the race and of course, the Mercedes-Benz brand. If you're not quite sure how this worked, see it in action below and see some of the amazing content created as part of this campaign :

Fox Crime Interactive Billboards

In what seems to be a world first, Fox Crime have created a set of interactive billboards that work through an iPhone app to promote the new series of Blue Bloods on March 24th. Through the specially developed augmented application, users could play against the billboard in real time, to recreate the concept of the series. This is a great example of social media and mobile being used not only to activate a campaign, but actually allowing it to extend the story of a brand or product. You can see this impressive billboard in action below :

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