This article was published on June 20, 2011

Summer’s Sizzling Social Media Campaigns

Summer’s Sizzling Social Media Campaigns
Dan Taylor
Story by

Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is a professional Photographer and freelance writer based in Vienna, Austria. Dan is a co-founder at Heisenberg Media and speci Dan Taylor is a professional Photographer and freelance writer based in Vienna, Austria. Dan is a co-founder at Heisenberg Media and specializes in conference photography. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter

From the bottom of the ninth, to Route 66, nothing says summer like fun in the sun. To this end, a number of brands are embracing the dog days of summer and offering tailored social media campaigns to engage audiences and make the most of the mercury rising. Let’s have a look at who’s doing what.


Granted, Visa doesn’t really make a lot of waves in the social media pool, but to its credit (pun intended), it’s banking on a summer travel theme, working hard to ensure that when you hit the road, your Visa card is nearby.

Visa’s recently introduced the Memory Mapper app to its Facebook page, utilizing Google Maps satellite technology, and allowing users to create their own memories. The app allows users to upload photos, videos, and captions to create a time-capsule of their trip. To sweeten the deal and put the finishing touches on your user-generated masterpiece, Visa kicks in a number of pre-selected music tracks. Now that’s all fine and dandy, but where’s the benefit for Visa, you might be asking? Well, in addition to allowing for free creation of a visual memento of your trip, Visa calls for users to spread the word about the tool by virally sharing users’ creations with friends and family. Nice push, Visa.

Supporting the Facebook campaign is a national television slot illustrating one family’s dream vacation to Tahiti. The family of four is first seen surfing the beaches of California before traveling to Teahupoo, Tahiti. The commercial then spotlights the Memory Mapper tool using satellite map views of the family’s travel, adding a healthy dose of family photos and videos, and naturally, the Visa selected music.


Chances are, you’ve already spotted the Perrier digital campaign, but in case you’ve not, this one is hot, hot, HOT! Literally.

Targeting the coveted 25-35 target market, the bubbly from France took its water to the club to heat things up and cool things down. Centered around a night club party scene, Perrier is taking the concept of group coupons to another level with group viewing. I’ll explain: The YouTube based campaign kicks off with a simple question, “Can You Handle the Heat?” Provocative enough to get this writer to click. As more and more viewers join the party, 6 more videos become available, each with a hotter, crazier, steamier version of the party. As you can imagine, when the party reaches it’s boiling point, an ice cold Perrier is just what one would reach for in such a situation. Brilliant.

Within the first week of its launch, the Perrier YouTube campaign garnered more than 3 million views, clearly demonstrating the effectiveness of the campaign. If this “Tune in to get in on the action” campaign sounds familiar from Perrier, you’ll remember that last year they asked viewers to tune in to Dita Von Teese to watch her pour, but of course, Perrier water over herself, clearly indicating that Perrier isn’t afraid to walk on the wild side – and get a lot of eyeballs and clicks in the process.


Residents of the New York Tri-state area have recently seen a number of point-of-sale signage encouraging them to check in to their favorite McD’s via Foursquare in exchange for customer rewards.

Launched mid-June, five NYC boroughs and four metro communities in New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York will compete head-to-head in a “most check-ins” competition that concludes on Labor Day. In order to keep the campaign fresh, and consumers engaged, McDonalds has broken the contest down into three cycles, offering multiple chances to win. During these phases, the locale with the highest number of check-ins will offer consumers a free McCafe beverage on July 7th, August 8th, and September 1st. Those wishing to take McDonalds up on their offer must check into this specific location on these days to redeem the offer … further pushing the message.

It’s clear here that McDonalds is banking not only on home town pride, but even more specifically, neighborhood pride. Chances are, regulars to a McCafe that are also Foursquare users are already checking in anyway, so why not promote the process, offer a reward that most probably will cost McDonalds next to nothing in terms of ROI, and make a splash with the social media community. If you’re a resident of the Tri-State area, keep an eye on locally trending tweets on the 7th of July, my bet is that McDonalds will make the cut.


Just how social can a refrigerator get? Well, we’re about to see this summer, as Frigidaire has recently partnered with Gowalla and Jennifer Garner to promote the consumption of fresh food this summer, with the added benefit of supporting the non-profit organization Save the Children in the process.

As part of the Frigidaire Kids’ Cooking Academy Summer Session, Frigidaire wants to promote the value of seasonal foods, and help kids again a better understanding of working with fresh ingredients, and the nutritional benefits therein.

When Gowalla users check in and share photos, memories, stories, etc. from their favorite farmers’ market, Frigidaire will make a donation to Save the Children, up to $1 per day for each check-in one makes at said farmers’ market.

Likewise, users can commit to eating fresh foods via Frigidaire’s website, also triggering the $1 donation to Save the Children, but the company further pulls from Gowalla, incorporating Jennifer Garner’s check-in details and comments regarding her favorite farmers’ market.

Gowalla director of biz dev Any Ellwood comments,

“We’re proud to be partnering with Frigidaire and Jennifer Garner to raise awareness for such an important and mobilizing issue. We’re working together with our community to encourage people to participate and show their support for Save the Children. It truly embodies Gowalla’s philanthropic mission, and is a great example of using social media for social good.”


Speaking of healthy summer food, New World Pasta is inviting consumers to “Bring it!” this summer. More specifically…the pasta based dish. Ronzoni is offering consumers the opportunity via Facebook to vote for their favorite pasta based summer fun dish in exchange for the chance to win one $2500 prize, or one of 10 $100 weekly prizes.

Not only is this a fun way for consumers to vote for their favorite offering, but Ronzoni provides value via clickable recipes for the pictured dishes. Likewise, its wisely added an opt-in for its monthly newsletter, further extending the marketing value of this summer promotion.

And for the record – I’ll have the Thai chicken Pasta salad please.


Rounding out our sizzling summer social media campaigns roundup is the most “Red, White and Blue,” of them all: Budweiser. Yes, yes, I realize that Budweiser is no longer a solely “American” company, but in combination with baseball, it’s about as USA as you can get.

Not only is Budweiser pushing the sluggers and the suds this summer, it’s also doing it for a good cause. In cooperation with the Folds of Honor foundation, Budweiser is donating $100 for every home run hit in a major league baseball game this summer/fall.

Naturally, Bud is pointing a number of links out to the foundation, but it’s also incorporated the message into a custom Facebook landing page with a running total of how many homers have been hit this year, and how much Budweiser has donated to the foundation which honors fallen American Armed Services heroes.

Again, building on their “All-American” brand, combining it with the most American of sports, and following all the way through to a highly patriotic cause – flawless. You can dislike beer. You can dislike baseball. No one dislikes someone who has sacrificed everything. I’m not saying Budweiser is making good copy out of a tragedy, but rather, putting the power of social media to a great use, and creating a memorable campaign in the process.

And there we have it. Some great examples of how brands are turning to social media to engage and cultivate a social media savvy audience when the weather turns warm. Got some hot-and-heavy examples of summer social media campaigns not covered here? Let’s hear it!

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