10 Most Popular Social Media Campaigns Ever

10 Most Popular Social Media Campaigns Ever

Last updated: 28.03.2023
Author: Lorie Tonogbanua

Social media has become one of the most effective tools in brand marketing. 54% of internet users use social media research brands, and social media marketing revenue is expected to reach up to $223 billion this year. Building brand relationships and improving engagements are what drive these campaigns to work. 

There are many effective and impactful social media campaigns, but here are the top 10 most popular ones:

  • Dove: Project #ShowUs

DoveDove is a multinational consumer goods brand owned by Unilever. Its products cater to men, women, and children. Dove’s popularity skyrocketed when it launched its first campaign, “Real Beauty.” Dove Self-Esteem Project was then followed in 2006. 

Dove’s ad campaign is one of the longest and most influential campaigns of the 2000s, and “Real Beauty” is still one of Dove’s core branding. In 2019, they launched a new social media campaign titled #ShowUs on YouTube. Dove partnered with Getty Images and media agency Girlgaze for the campaign.

The project #ShowUs focused on one of the brand’s core values: “recognizing that beauty comes in many forms.” Dove asked its viewers to send pictures through their website and received 5,000 photos. 

The campaign garnered 660 media pieces around the globe from 39 markets internationally. Its thought-provoking video reached 1.6 billion people and earned 33 million views on youtube. The hashtag #ShowUs was used 7 million times on social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Dove’s ability to recognize beauty stereotypes and question beauty standards is why this ad campaign is effective. It helped address women who feel undervalued through the strategic delivery of their message and encouraged people to take pride in their beauty.

  • Spotify: #YearWrapped Playlists

SpotifySpotify is an audio-streaming platform and media service founded in 2006. Since its release, Spotify has been one of the largest music streaming platforms worldwide, with 489 million monthly users and 205 million paying subscribers as of 2023.

In 2015, Spotify released a new campaign called Spotify Wrapped, where a curated playlist is made from the user’s most listened-to songs within the year. This first release didn’t last long, and Spotify revamped the idea as #YearWrapped in 2019. 

The campaign launched as a unique and interactive data analysis story content where users can see their most listened-to songs of the year, favored genres, and how many times they were replayed. At the end of the in-app story, Spotify encouraged its users to share their results.

The campaign earned 450 million posts on Twitter alone, and about 60 million users shared and commented on the experience. Users also made 3 billion streams through Wrapped playlists alone. According to Sprout Social’s insights, engagement percentages of #YearWrapped also saw an increase in 2022, with a 15% increase in volume, 17% in engagements and impressions, and a 22% increase in unique authors.

Spotify managed to combine three core ideas in making #YearWrapped work. That is, personalization, content uniqueness, and sharing. No #YearWrapped playlists are the same, and users want to see the difference between each playlist and how their year panned out through Spotify. Its shareability also provided the proper engagement to make other users join the experience.

  • Gillette: #TheBestMenCanBe

GilletteGillette is a multinational company owned by Procter & Gamble, mainly manufacturing and distributing shaving razors and personal care products for men and women. Their ad campaigns mainly focus on men and revolve around masculine themes.

On the 30th (2019) anniversary of Gilette’s” The Best A Man Can Get” slogan, they released a new ad campaign, #TheBestMenCanBe on YouTube. The short film deviated from Gilette’s former theme of masculinity and focused on what men are also capable of: defining modern manhood.

The short video focused on challenging the stereotypical man and the effects of toxic masculinity. Gilette repurposed their slogan “The Best A Man Can Get” as a question: “is this the best a man can get?” initiating change for a better social relationship among men’s emotions and as a good role model for young boys.

The campaign received praise and acknowledgment for redefining its theme to fit today’s modern world. The video garnered 38 million views on YouTube. The video reached more than 150 million people within the month of its posting, and Instagram posts about the campaign gained 800 likes and 50 comments – higher than Gilette’s usual engagements.

Despite garnering praise, the campaign also gained controversy among men who found the concept offensive and started a #BoycottGilette. The drawback was that it only gained 3.5% of social media engagements.

Gilette’s move to redefine their character proves that companies can recognize their faults and the need for change. For their brand to move forward, adapting to the times is one step toward making a greater change. Gilette showed its initiative, and it worked.

  • Apple: #ShotOniPhone

AppleApple is one of the world’s biggest phone and electronics companies, founded by Steve Jobs in 1976. Apple’s ad campaigns mainly focus on setting new trends in every release of its products.

Apple’s ad campaigns before its expansion were simple, but in Christmas 2013, Apple released a commercial where we see the first time Apple advertised its product for camera use. Thus, the camera became Apple’s mainstay feature.

In 2015, Apple launched the “Shot on iPhone” challenge with advertising company TBWA. The new challenge coincided with the release of the then-new iPhone 6. Its goal was to encourage Apple users to use iPhone for photography, creating Apple’s camera feature as its forefront selling point. Users shared their photos using the hashtag #ShotOniPhone. Judges chose ten winners from thousands of entries and used the selected pictures for Apple’s ad campaigns.

#ShotOniPhone made 6.5 billion impressions online, and 24,000 influencers joined in with around 95% positive ratings. The whole ad campaign reached its heights on Instagram with about 16 million photo entries, 10,000 of these made into billboards around the globe. This led to Apple having a brand retention rate of 90%.

Apple’s campaign worked for one crucial reason: user-generated content. Apple made the campaign, but it’s the users launched it. Apple encouraged its users to buy and use its products. This increased Apple’s revenue, and at the same time, Apple produced new advertising content through its users.

  • Friskies and Buzzfeed: Dear Kitten

Friskies and BuzzfeedFriskies is a cat food brand managed and owned by Purina Petcare Company, and Buzzfed is an international entertainment digital media company. The Dear Kitten ad campaign was funded by Friskies and is Buzzfeed’s first ad and first commercial branding partnership.

In 2016, Dear Kitten launched on Buzzfeed’s YouTube account. The sentimental video was about a big cat teaching a kitten how to be a – kitten while explaining how the world around them works. Since its launch, the video has earned 32 million views and is one of the internet’s most beloved cat-related video ads.

The Dear Kitten campaign released 12 more videos documenting other aspects of cat life. The 12-part series was viewed 3 million times on YouTube. A 60-second ad for Dear Kitten was also featured on Super Bowl. It also infiltrated Tiktok through the hashtag #DearKitten, where users make parodies of the commercial, quickly making 3.6 million views.

Dear Kitten is a prime example of a native and traditional campaign that aims to promote a new item. The ad campaign worked well for Purina’s Friskies as the company saw a 58% increase in brand recognition and consumers’ interest in buying the canned cat food. The campaign also cemented Buzzfeed as one of the internet’s new mainstream entertainment platforms.

  • P&G #DistanceDance on Tiktok

P&GProcter and Gamble is an international consumer good specializing in personal and consumer health items founded in 1837 in Ohio. TikTok is a short-form video social media platform that was released in 2016. TikTok is known for its viral content through short-form video challenges with hashtags.

During the 2020 pandemic, The Governor of Ohio, Mike DeVine, asked P&G to help promote social distancing and communicate to the youth the importance of staying home. P&G partnered with one of Tiktok’s upcoming stars, Chali D’Amelio, to start the campaign; thus, the #DistanceDance challenge started.

#DistanceDance is a TikTok challenge promoted by Charli D’Amelio as a P&G Partner. The video encouraged users to use the hashtag #DistanceDance, create their own or use D’Amelio’s dance moves. The short-form video promoted social distancing and staying at home. P&G also announced that for the first 3 million videos made on TikTok, they would donate to Feeding America & Matthew 25: Ministries.

Within the first week of the TikTok challenge, the #DistanceDance earned 8 billion views and 1.9 million videos. The challenge also skyrocketed D’Amelio’s TikTok presence; her #DistanceDance video made 7 million likes and 143 thousand comments. To date, the hashtag #DistanceDance has 18.7 billion views on TikTok.

The campaign worked for two reasons: P&G’s corporate social responsibility and using relevant resources. By using TikTok as the platform, P&G communicated its movement to its intended audience – the youth, as most youth today would instead get their information on social media. Also, by partnering with an influencer, P&G made itself relevant in the playing field, and by promising to donate to charity, encouraged the audiences to join the campaign.

  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

ALS Ice Bucket ChallengeAmyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is a motor neuron disease called Lou Gehrig’s disease — this neurodegenerative disease results in the gradual loss of motor neurons that control voluntary muscles. ALS has no known cause or cure, and its focus for ALS patients is treatments and care for the other underlying illnesses accompanying ALS.

In August 2014, The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge gained popularity on social media with its silly notion of throwing ice water on one’s head and challenging others to do the same. The campaign reached more than just a regular social media presence. Celebrities and personalities also joined the challenge; by accepting, you donate 10 USD; by refusing, you grant 100 USD.

The challenge focuses on spreading awareness about ALS, its treatment, and donations to the different ALS Associations in US and UK.

The impact of the ALS challenge focused on more than just awareness; it helped ALS gain enough funding for new research and studies. The campaign raised 220 million USD worldwide, with 2.4 million tagged videos on Facebook alone. The annual funding of ALS also increased by 187%

The awareness campaign worked. ALS gained much-needed attention and funding. After the #IceBucketChallenge, ALS researchers found five new genes relevant to ALS production and created a new drug to help combat the disease. The funds were also distributed to 130 ASL research projects in 12 countries. 40 different ALS treatments are currently in development.

  • Heineken: #WorldsApart

HeinekenHeineken is a beer company produced by the Dutch Brewing Company Heineken N.V. and founded in 1864. Heineken’s brand focused on diversity, openness, and crossing borders. In 2017, Heineken, in partnership with The Human Library and advertising companies Edelman and PUBLICIS, launched a social experiment to see if Heineken’s values still adapt today.

The campaign #WorldsApart focuses on Heineken’s values – highlighting openness. The ad is about three sets of two different people tasked to finish sets of activities and end with sharing a bottle of Heineken while they discuss their differences. Heineken did their research by asking Dr. Chris Bauer of Goldsmith University to help back their social experiment. 

The social experiment video resulted in openness, accepting differences, breaking prejudices, and finding common ground. It also highlighted several key issues today, evoking a feeling of change and movement among its audiences. The campaign is also viewed as a case study of human behavior rather than a beer ad.

The video garnered 50 million views on YouTube and earned 91% positive engagements. It also increased Heineken’s beer sales in the UK to 7.3% during the ad campaign, with 80% of consumers preferring Heineken. 78% of consumers also started buying Heineken. 

Heineken’s campaign worked as it focused on their corporate social responsibility, evoking awareness, better social relationships, and initiating changes in conversations through simple things – like beer.

  • National Geographic: #YourShot

National GeographicNational Geographic, or NAT GEO, is a company that releases monthly magazines about history, the latest news, and relevant resources relating to the environment. They are known for their photos from history and distant areas of the world. Color photography helped NAT GEO cement its presence across the globe.

NAT GEO values photojournalism. With this, their primary campaigns focus on photos from various places and themes. Since 2006, they have launched annual photo contests for shots in their magazine and welcome new photographers.

In 2019, they launched a new photo campaign with #YourShot. They debuted it with a new Instagram account, @natgeoyourshot, where professional and amateur photographers can share, tag, and post their photos to be featured on NAT GEO’s Instagram page. 

NAT GEO’s #YourShot account reached 4.2 million followers. Photographers worldwide submitted 10 million photos to the #YourShot and the hashtags #yourshotphotographer and #natgeoyourshot have 11 million images combined. NAT GEO also generates half a million likes and comments on their Your Shot page, essentially making a new branding for them

The campaign worked due to its user-generated content and the opportunity for budding photographers to create a name for themselves. NAT GEO helped boost a new community of natural, social, and historical photographers. It was expanding its reach, impacting communities, and visualizing these tangible experiences for all to see.

  •  Twitter: “If you can dream it, you can Tweet it”: #TweetItIntoExistence

TwitterTwitter is a micro-blogging social media platform where users can tweet, share, and heart posts from and to their followers. Twitter gained traction in social media as it easily allows people to connect with users and share their thoughts with hashtags. 

In 2022, Twitter made an omnichannel format brand campaign – “If you can dream it, Tweet it” with the hashtag #TweetItIntoExistence. They posted a set of Tweets that featured billboards of celebrities and Twitter users who shared and tweeted their life goals on the platform – that manifested into a reality. Users were pictured beside their old tweets to help inspire others to follow their dreams. 

As part of the campaign, Twitter featured 12 artists and personalities to represent their Tweets. The campaign also reached up to 59 million tweets, and pictures of the Tweets were posted across eight hometown locations of the chosen celebrities and 39 billboards across cities. 

Twitter also donated nearly $1 million to charities chosen by the featured celebrities. These charities include Boys and Girls Club, Destination Crenshaw, The 3-D Foundation, and UNICEF Canada.

Twitter’s campaign towards manifesting your dream is an effective tool for marketing its brand in a different light. By taking an emotional approach toward what their platform is, for, and about, Twitter cemented its platform as a source of positivity and a place for dreams to happen, making users keener to share their stories.

Conclusion: It’s All About What They Value Most

One characteristic that made all these social media campaigns work is how these brands found one thing they value most: reiterating to the world what they love the most within their brand

Dove, Gillette, and Heineken chose the value of self-importance and challenging barriers. Spotify, Apple, Friskies, and Twitter decided to value their users and their user’s experience when using their platforms and products. P&G and ALS chose to value social responsibility and awareness of their brand. And NAT GEO chose to value its photojournalism by expanding its idea.


  • (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=dove+show+us
  • (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPmuEyP3a0&ab_channel=Gillette
  • (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fjustbeerapp.com%2Farticle%2Fheinekens-new-ad-gets-totally-political-and-its-surprisingly-great&psig=AOvVaw3eFz9n1b91Dg14zbF54HMz&ust=1678851102383000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CBAQjRxqFwoTCLi67u692v0CFQAAAA
  • (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fnetbasequid.com%2Fblog%2Ftiktok-influencer%2F&psig=AOvVaw1-LQMz5zABnUKS3oH9nbOl&ust=1678851198189000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CBAQjRxqFwoTCLidwZy-2v0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAV
  • ALS Association. (2019, June 4). Ice Bucket Challenge dramatically accelerated the fight against ALS. ALS Association. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.als.org/stories-news/ice-bucket-challenge-dramatically-accelerated-fight-against-als
  • The Beer Community. (2017, April 26). VIDEO: Heineken’s Worlds Apart Campaign – Open Your World. Just Beer. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://justbeerapp.com/article/heinekens-new-ad-gets-totally-political-and-its-surprisingly-great
  • Blavity. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://blavity.com/twitter-launched-a-hashtag-campaign-showing-our-favorite-celebs-manifesting-their-dreams-and-its-inspiring-af?category1=news&item=2
  • Bredava, A. (2022, December 31). 17 Awesome Examples Of Social Media Marketing. Search Engine Journal. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.searchenginejournal.com/social-media-marketing-examples/380202/
  • Buzzfeed Inc. (2014, June 5). Dear Kitten. YouTube. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4Sn91t1V4g&ab_channel=BuzzFeedVideo
  • Case study | Dove: Show Us. It’s On Us. (2021, April 8). World Federation of Advertisers. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://wfanet.org/knowledge/diversity-and-inclusion/item/2021/04/08/Case-study–Dove-Show-Us-Its-On-Us
  • Contagious Communications. (2017, July 6). Insight & Strategy: Worlds Apart. Contagious. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.contagious.com/news-and-views/insight-strategy-worlds-apart
  • Davis, W. (2022, October 1). The Ice Bucket Challenge wasn’t just for social media. It helped fund a new ALS drug. NPR. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.npr.org/2022/10/01/1126397565/the-ice-bucket-challenge-wasnt-just-for-social-media-it-helped-fund-a-new-als-dr
  • Digivizer. (2022, March 11). 10 Genius Social Media Campaigns. Digivizer. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://digivizer.com/blog/10-genius-social-media-campaigns/#heineken-worldsapart-social-media-campaign
  • Dimitrievski, M. (2023, 2 25). 30 Crucial Social Media Marketing Statistics 2023. TrueList. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://truelist.co/blog/social-media-marketing-statistics/
  • Edelman. (n.d.). Worlds Apart. Edelman. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.edelman.com/work/heineken-worlds-apart
  • Gassée, J.-L. (n.d.). Apple Inc. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Inc.
  • George, F., & Epstein, J. (December, 2013 23). The Best Social Media Campaigns Of All Time. Get Ambassador. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.getambassador.com/blog/best-social-media-campaigns
  • Home. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://www.instagram.com/p/BvhB_bagLfI/?hl=en
  • Home. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=http%3A%2F%2Fliz-marks.com%2Fapple-shot-on-iphone-6&psig=AOvVaw3XAn-JPEKfJ0_3Ich4Tcf7&ust=1678818850699000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CBAQjRxqFwoTCLDD6tvF2f0CFQAAAAAdAAAAABAa
  • Home. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://twitter.com/NatGeo/status/1285937701955534849/photo/1
  • Home. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://blavity.com/twitter-launched-a-hashtag-campaign-showing-our-favorite-celebs-manifesting-their-dreams-and-its-inspiring-af?category1=news&item=2
  • Home. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://twitter.com/Larakate/status/1483476499785076739?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1483476499785076739%7Ctwgr%5E8a59029ac5382483072631ed86e6e5e0f93b174b%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fblavity.com%2Ftwitter-launched-a-hashtag-
  • Kang, C. (2014, September 29). BuzzFeed + Purina = online catnip. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2014/09/29/buzzfeed-purina-online-catnip/
  • Kiely, T. (2022, October 13). 10 of the Top Social Media Campaigns of 2022 – Marketing. Meltwater. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.meltwater.com/en/blog/top-social-media-campaigns
  • McGrath, A. (2019, August 21). Social Marketing Example #5: Heineken, Worlds Apart. Brogan & Partners. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://brogan.com/blog/social-marketing-example-5-heineken-worlds-apart/
  • McLachlan, S. (2022, November 23). 7 Inspirational Social Media Campaign Examples (Free Template). Hootsuite Blog. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-campaign-strategy/
  • The new Gillette commercial: The best an ad can get. (2019, January 20). The Hill. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/426150-new-gillette-commercial-the-best-an-ad-can-get/
  • Procter & Gamble. (2020). Stepping Up with the #DistanceDance. Procter & Gamble. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://us.pg.com/blogs/stepping-up-with-the-distance-dance/
  • Robertson, G. (n.d.). Apple Advertising: Learn from the best Apple Ads of all time. Beloved Brands. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://beloved-brands.com/apple-advertising/
  • Rose, E. (2019, April 1). Elle Rose 🦋 on Twitter: “YOUR GIRL IS ON 2 BILLBOARDS IN TIME’S SQUARE!!! Yesterday was #TransDayofVisbility so you best believe I am living!!! Huge shoutout to @Dove, @girlgaze and @GettyImages for representing ALL women in this new … Retrieved March 10, 2023, from https://twitter.com/baby_caramelle/status/1112751051617255424
  • #ShotoniPhone: A Picture Perfect Campaign | by Hayley Carter | Medium. (2020, September 19). Hayley Carter. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://hayleycarter-39668.medium.com/shotoniphone-a-picture-perfect-campaign-93e54b89bab0
  • Spotify. (2022, November 30). Everything You Need To Know About 2022 Wrapped — Spotify. Spotify — For the Record. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://newsroom.spotify.com/2022-11-30/everything-you-need-to-know-about-2022-wrapped/
  • St. Bonaventure University. (2022, June 7). The Ten Most Successful Marketing Campaigns of All Time. St. Bonaventure University Online. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://online.sbu.edu/news/successful-marketing-campaigns
  • Sunam, P. (2020, August 19). Shot On iPhone: A Campaign that turned into a phenomenon. Social Samosa. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://www.socialsamosa.com/2020/08/shot-on-iphone-campaign-list/
  • Surico, K. (2020, April 21). P&G’s TikTok Influencer Partnership Amplifies Awareness. NetBase Quid. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://netbasequid.com/blog/tiktok-influencer/
  • Topping, A., Lyons, K., & Weaver, M. (2019, January 15). Gillette #MeToo razors ad on ‘toxic masculinity’ gets praise – and abuse. The Guardian. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/15/gillette-metoo-ad-on-toxic-masculinity-cuts-deep-with-mens-rights-activists
  • Watson, I. (2022, January 19). Twitter resurrects tweets from stars that brought their dreams to life. Campaign US. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.campaignlive.com/article/twitter-resurrects-tweets-stars-brought-dreams-life/1737831
  • Woods, K. (2022, December 7). Spotify Wrapped: What marketers can learn from the viral campaign. Sprout Social. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://sproutsocial.com/insights/spotify-wrapped/
  • WPP. (n.d.). Grey: P&G #DistanceDance. WPP. Retrieved March 13, 2023, from https://www.wpp.com/featured/work/2020/04/grey—p_g-distancedance
  • – YouTube. (2022, May 4). – YouTube. Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_fqk77ek-0&ab_channel=Markedu