Social media platforms reveal best brand campaigns of 2021

TikTok and Twitter outline the best branded moments across their platforms for the year

Social media sites Twitter and TikTok and have revealed their standout brand campaigns of 2021 from across Australia’s marketing landscape.  

From telcos and tech players to broadcasters, athleticwear retailers, QSRs, small businesses and artists, the lists display growing maturity and innovation around using social media not only for creative storytelling and engagement, but to trigger conversion.  

The Twitter round-up  

In its list of the top three 2021 standout brand campaigns, Twitter Australia first pointed to the Optus Sports ‘Kicking Goals with Euro 2020’ campaign, which ran alongside the UEFA Euro 2020 championships. The social media platform dubbed the campaign its top example of how a brand reimagined a live event digitally.   

The ambition was to create a fan experience for football lovers in Australia and give fans a way to catch up on games. Fans gained access to daily personalised updates from the telco’s account, featuring a branded Twitter moment. These included highlights, analysis and a subscription offer for Optus Sports. Optus also used takeovers to further drive national impact and around key moments during the tournament.  

The combination of paid and organic Tweets garnered 44.7 per cent impressions over the six-week campaign period. Optus also grew followers by 14 per cent and recorded a 112 per cent increase in people visiting its profile over the timeframe.    

Read more about the Optus campaign here.

Twitter also highlighted Foxtel’s work to set up the launch of the latest Succession Season 3 as its top example of a series launch via the social platform in 2021. The campaign was about giving the TV show’s fans personalised experiences using Branded Notifications and tune-in reminders. Each message was customised to reflect the news sentiment of that particular day (good / neutral / bad) and powered by Twitter Trends.    

Twitter said Foxtel also sought to bring out the satirical humour of Succession to life by using gifs showing awkward and funny moments from the show as well as content that reflected the Roy family’s tone of voice.  

Third on Twitter’s top brand campaigns list was sponsored content by gaming tech company, Alienware, tied into 7’s AFL season. The ‘Alienware Armchair Experts Invitational’ campaign was aligned to 7AFL’s #armchairexperts Twitter show, first introduced during the 2018 AFL Premiership Season and run every week after the Friday night match coverage.  

Tasked with reaching incremental new online communities outside of Alienware’s hardcore gamer customer base, the campaign utilised engagement and custom video solutions to align and connect to AFL fans. The Alienware Armchair Experts Invitational ran for eight weeks with AFL superstars revealed as PC gamers by host, Adam Cooney. The program pivoted around Cooney going head-to-head in a game of Rocket League, using the Alienware M15 laptops.  

The campaign generated 33 million impressions, 8.6 million views and a 14.2 per cent lift in followers.  

Twitter acting managing director, Angus Keene, said being top of mind and creating meaningful connections with audiences continues to be a priority for brands.  

“Our top three standout brands tapped into these cultural moments to find new and engaging ways to capture their audience’s attention,” he said. “We also saw brands use Twitter to launch something new. We know 91 per cent of people on Twitter want to see new launches from brands and that twice as many people will talk about a brand if they see their launch campaign on Twitter. For these brands, it’s proven to be a powerful way to make a bang whether launching a new product, or a new series.” 

The TikTok round-up  

Meanwhile, a mix of innovative big-brand campaigns, small business creators and brands that successfully tied social engagement with commerce have been highlighted by TikTok as part of its round-up of the best brand moments of 2021. The platform officially launched its B2B offering in Australia in 2020.  

On the list of what TikTok described as ‘cracking’ campaigns leading the way with new use cases was Athlete's Foot, which reimagined TikTok's For You Page as a running track.  As part of the campaign, advertising placements acted as signposts for the community. The campaign was the first in Australia to use sequential storytelling on-platform, where users had to scroll through their For You feed to catch the creator to win a pair of Asics Kayanos. It generated 2.6 million impressions in one day and reach of 4.9m across the campaign period. 

Read more about the Athlete's Foot campaign here.  

Mecca also launched a shoppable livestream campaign this year on the platform with Charlotte Tilbury, which saw the duo fashion looks based on products from the beauty retailer. This also allowed TikTok users to shop from the Mecca website directly from videos.  

According to TikTok, the campaign was Australia’s first gamified effect to drive awareness, brand love and recognition on the platform. The interactive ad execution drove mass user participation through a short-form game that gave users the chance to win a $1000.  

Telstra also made the 2021 list for its creative paid and organic content strategy to the millennial audience. TikTok said Telstra embraced its platform to build brand affinity by translating tech-focused or complex messaging in a more engaging way.  

Macca’s was another strong performer on the platform this year, most notably for its 50th anniversary campaign. This gave half a dozen creators the opportunity to create their own version of its jingle, ‘I’m lovin’ it’. The campaign chalked up in excess of 41 million impressions in terms of reach as well as 20,000 pieces of user-generated content.  

Read more: How these 3 brands are winning on TikTok 

From a small business perspective, TikTok pointed to Melbourne bread shop, Goldelucks, as a strong brand performer this year. Since joining TikTok, Goldelucks reportedly sells out of treats now being delivered nationally and has built an international fanbase off the back of content such as videos of cake explosion boxes.  

Australian artist, Misscustoms, was also recognised for generating 7.4 million likes with her custom sneaker designs that have now resulted in a waitlist, while SMB, Bondi Blades, reported 20 per cent of sales coming from TikTok in her first month of advertising on the platform. Shelbysherrittart, a Ballaret-based potter, also clocked up over 1.8 million followers for a content series she created in her art studio.  

The fifth SMB on the list, IT repair business, Max Hawker, was also honoured for sharing videos during lockdown of the work done in the workshop. This lifted website visits to 200,000 per month and resulted in two staff members being employed.  

Finally, TikTok noted several brands that have capitalised off the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag and trend influencing shoppers. Top of the list was Aldi Soup Dumplings, followed by Kmart Finds,  

Officeworks Magic Sticky Notes, Woolies Boba Tea Kits and Glassons’ Blue Corset Top.  

“Brands in Australia brought us joy and encouraged us to get creative. They reminded us of the importance of being authentic when connecting with the community and were able to engage with a wide global audience,” commented TikTok Business Solutions general manager A/NZ, Brett Armstrong. “2021 was the year that TikTok became a launchpad for must-have brands and products that the community loves.”  

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