Ohio University Strategic Social Media

Crowdsourced Learning Lab #ouj4530

Category: Ellie Halter

Donate Life America Campaign Pitch

“You never think it will happen to you.” This mindset gives us the courage to take risks, but it can also prevent us from taking action. Organ donation is a tough subject to approach, but what if we changed that? What if audiences of Donate Life knew exactly why organ donation was important and how they could help? Thanks to social media, it is now easier than ever to get a message out. We believe that Donate Life can achieve this by utilizing the existing channels of Twitter and Facebook and expanding its messaging to Snapchat.

Team Donate Life from left — Hannah Bortz, Emily Barber, Kiley Landusky, Ellie Halter

Team Donate Life from left — Hannah Bortz, Emily Barber, Kiley Landusky, Ellie Halter

Audiences of Donate Life span all age groups, but social media would allow for targeting of certain demographics. The combined advantages of each channel – Facebook’s storytelling, Snapchat’s personal touch, and Twitter’s condensed updates and widespread reach – provide the perfect combination for a successful campaign. Donate Life already has proven its success on Facebook and Twitter through storytelling and emotional messaging, but there is always room to improve. A campaign focused on raising the overall awareness of organ donation with an objective of increasing numbers of registered donors would result in better brand recognition, higher engagement and a difference in donor numbers.

If anyone knows how valuable life is, it’s the audiences of Donate Life. This campaign would relay the idea that organ donation is a basic human responsibility. It only takes a minute to register, but that minute can mean years of a healthy life to someone in need.

#LastSelfie campaign spreads awareness among millennials

Ellie Halter

Unlike SeaWorld’s campaign, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) created a #SocialWin with their “Last Selfie” campaign on snapchat. They created what vice president and associate creative director of advertising agency BBDO calls a prime example of the medium as the message. It’s what Elena Prokopets of the Huffington Post called a “digital storytelling campaign.”


Photo courtesy of AdWeek.com

During the campaign, WWF in Turkey and Denmark occasionally sent their followers snaps of endangered animals like “tigers, rhinos, orangutans, pandas and polar bears” according to an article by PRNewswire. These pictures were accompanied by emotive phrases like “don’t let this be my last selfie” and “better take a screenshot.” Their pictures reinforced the idea that these animals are disappearing quickly through the platform’s similarly disappearing pictures. As they told the writers of “the Webbys,” their objective was to “raise awareness amongst Millenials and increase donations to protect endangered animals.”

Why did the campaign work? It reached Millenials, who “tend to stay away from traditional media” according to Kyle Basedow, a blogger for Newhouse Social Media. The purpose of the campaign was to not only gain awareness, but also to gain awareness among a younger generation, as Snapchat’s main demographic is 13 to 25 year olds. The idea of an animal “selfie” was successful because it resonated with the young audience to whom the World Wildlife Fund was marketing. WWF says they chose it because it is “‘Wildly’ popular among teens,” according to the Webby’s summary of the campaign. Though many advertisers have stayed away from snapchat due to its transient qualities, WWF found that it was the perfect platform to represent their cause.

Not to our surprise, the #LastSelfie campaign didn’t stay on one platform for long. According to environmental blogger Mary Nolet, the World Wildlife Fund encouraged Snapchat users to promote the selfies on other platforms such as Twitter, FaceBook, and even Pinterest. Though WWF feared attempting to use snapchat for advertising, it proved effective for them.  With the relatable concept of the selfie and a one sentence call to action on each snap, WWF was able to create a successful campaign on snapchat, unlike many other companies.

According to the official #LastSelfie page, the message was “posted by 40,000 twitter users” and “seen by 120 million users in one week.” In addition, the site reached its monetary “monthly target” in just three days because of the campaign. To put this in perspective, the site boasts that the campaign was viewed “50 percent of all active twitter users.”

There’s not a lot of room for improvement when it comes to this campaign. It met it’s goal of reaching millennials while gaining awareness and funds seamlessly. It was a well thought out campaign by the advertising agencies 41? 29! and UncleGrey that allowed the message to become cross-platform. If I had to choose one thing, I think I would say that planting the screenshots on other platforms originally, such as Vine, Pinterest and Tumblr might have allowed the selfies to be more accessible to those wanting to share it. The mobility and quick response of the message, however, shows that supporters had no problem screenshotting and spreading the content themselves. The brand captured millenials through #TheLastSelfie, and is continuing to do so through their newest campaign, as the Guardian notes, with the #EndangeredEmoji 🐳🐼🐘


Works Cited

Ballve, M. (2014, August) Snapchat’s Explosive Growth Among Teens And Millennials Means It’s Emerging As A Powerful Brand Platform. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/a-primer-on-snapchat-and-its-demographics-2014-7

Castillo, M. (2014, April). WWF Snaps #Lastselfie of Endangered Animals Selfies just got real, adweek.com. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/wwf-snaps-lastselfie-endangered-animals-157138

Darley, E. (2015, July). Emoji’s Have Gone Mainstream and it’s Time for Brands to Get Involved. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/jul/06/emojis-mainstream-brand-marketing

Nolet, M. (2015, December). The World Wildlife Fund’s Last Selfie Campaign. WWF Uses Snapchat to Target Millenials. Retrieved from https://storify.com/mnolet/world-wildlife.


Prokopets, E. (2015, November). 4 Key Social Media Marketing Trends To Lead The Game in 2016. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/elena-prokopets/4-key-social-media-market_b_8589968.html

Webby Awards. (2015, December). #LastSelfie. Retrieved from http://webbyawards.com/winners/2015/advertising-media/campaign-categories/social-media-campaigns/lastselfie/

(2014, April). Grey And The World Wildlife Fund Use Snapchat To Raise Awareness Of Endangered Animals. The #LastSelfie Campaign Calls on People to Act Using Social Media Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/grey-and-the-world-wildlife-fund-use-snapchat-to-raise-awareness-of-endangered-animals-255662491.html

Why SeaWorld’s Social Media Campaign was a #SocialFail

By Ellie Halter

Of the 2015 social media fails, #AskSeaworld is one of the worst. In March, SeaWorld created a campaign meant to regain the credibility and image of transparency that was lost in 2013 due to the documentary “Blackfish.” They created a campaign that included the hashtag “AskSeaWorld” on twitter in an effort to answer peoples questions about marine animals in captivity. The problem? Twitter users were more interested in the company’s neglectful activity and blatant dishonesty that “Blackfish” exposed and to which PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) had previously hinted.


Tweet from SeaWorld: "Have questions about killer whale care? Tweet us! See your answer and others here: AskSeaWorld.com)

This picture from DailyMail.com shows a screenshot of an original tweet for the campaign


They gave people the chance to criticize them

The same week the Twitter campaign started, The Huffington Post published an article comparing the park’s attempt as a dive into a shark tank. They traced the critical tweets back to “blackfish,” which they say “investigated the death of orca trainer Dawn Brancheau and harshly criticized SeaWorld’s treatment of killer whales.” An article in Ad Week explained that the “hashtag Q&A” prompted twitter users to created two other hashtags: #EmptyTheTanks and #AnswertheQ.

They Left Questions Unanswered

Some critical questions even went unanswered, according to an article in The Dodo, a site created for individuals concerned about the wellbeing of animals. The site took a detailed look into which questions were and weren’t being answered, and analyzed a few responses in their article “#AskSeaWorld: The Art Of Deflecting And Why It’s Bad For Business.” In these, The Dodo gives clear examples of SeaWorld’s spokesmen answering with all types of logical fallacies, while also attempting to appear as victims of lies and dishonesty of animal rights groups like PETA.

They “went on the defensive”

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Fred Jacobs, a spokesman for SeaWorld, said he anticipated “digital harassment.” But was this harassment or negative consumer engagement? The associate director of PETA, Elise Allen, told The Daily Mail that it was “Caring people everywhere” who were disheartened by the park and deciding to engage in the conversation. “Blackfish,” along with animal rights groups and former employees, took away SeaWorld’s credibility by exposing stories of workers and facts from credible biologists. Their campaign blatantly said – trust us, we’ll give you answers –  when it was all too clear that those answers weren’t honest in the past.

"Jacking Hashtags is so 2014" #bewareoftrolls

A defensive tweet from SeaWorld by the Daily Mail

So what should SeaWorld have done? The “What Great Brands Do” author Denise Lee Yohn told the Orlando Sentinal “You’re inviting people to take over the conversation, where you really need to shape and influence the narrative as much as possible.” Instead of assuming bots and trolls found them an easy target, SeaWorld could have prevented the negative feedback. The reaction “Blackfish” and animal rights groups created was unanimously negative, so believing they might receive a positive response was poorly thought out. Aside from considering the cause of what might be upsetting these users and prompting negative alternative hashtags, SeaWorld could have done research on other companies or organizations who recovered from bad publicity, and modeled their campaign after a group who had improved their reputation successfully.

Coffee, P. (2015, March). #AskSeaWorld Reputation Campaign Fails Miserably. PR Newser. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/prnewser/askseaworld-reputation-campaign-fails-miserably/111686

Coffee, P. (2015, March). SeaWorld Launches Multi-Million Dollar Reputation Campaign. PR Newser. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/prnewser/seaworld-launches-multi-million-dollar-reputation-campaign/111366

Cronin, M. (2015, March). SeaWorld’s New Twitter Campaign Backfires in Most Spectacular Way. The Dodo. Retrieved from https://www.thedodo.com/ask-seaworld-twitter-1058989271.html

Lobosco, K. (2015, March). ‘Ask SeaWorld’ Marketing Campaign Backfires. CNN Money. Retrieved from http://money.cnn.com/2015/03/27/news/companies/ask-seaworld-twitter/

Pedicini, S. (2015, March). Critics Inundate Twitter with #AskSeaWorld Campaign. Orlando Sentinal. Retrieved from http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/tourism/os-askseaworld-twitter-20150330-story.html

Pemberton, B. (2015, March). “Are your tanks filled with orca tears?”: SeaWorld Twitter campaign backfires as marine park hashtag #AskSeaWorld is hijacked by animal rights campaigners. The Daily Mail. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3019299/Are-tanks-filled-orca-tears-SeaWorld-Twitter-campaign-backfires-water-park-hashtag-AskSeaWorld-hijacked-animal-rights-campaigners.html

Sola, K. (2015, March). #AskSeaWorld Twitter Campaign Pretty Much Goes How You’d Expect. Huffpost Green. Retrieved From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/27/seaworld-twitter-fail_n_6950902.html

Zoutwater. (2015, March). #AskSeaWorld. The Art of Deflecting and Why It’s Bad for Business. The Dodo. Retrieved from https://www.thedodo.com/community/zoutwater/askseaworld-1064959426.html