From Astronaut Sloths to women’s rights, we’ve spent the year watching different communications trends come and go. Here’s a list of the memes, platforms and social good campaigns that made a splash in 2013, curated by the Ad Council’s PR/Interactive/Social team. Take a trip down memory lane, and recall the year’s highlights — be they profound or ridiculous.
Favorite Social Good Campaign
Google’s auto-complete function can tell you a lot. (For example: have you ever typed in the phrase “what is”?) Piggybacking on the simple idea that search terms can reveal the real but anonymous opinions of the world, Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai developed this stunning campaign for UN Women. Despite advances in womens rights, these ads showed that gender equality is still a long way away by presenting actual autocomplete data from March 9, 2013 using the phrases “Women cannot…” “Women shouldn’t…” “Women should…” and “Women need to…”
Favorite Use of Social Media
“You Can Still Dunk in the Dark”
On February 3, 2013 the lights went out during America’s most popular sporting event – The Super Bowl. Oreo took advantage of the fact that 100 million TV viewers turned to social media, tweeting: “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark,” accompanied by a picture of an Oreo cookie. After only an hour the post generated 10,000+ retweets, 18,000+ likes and over 5,000 shares. This one tweet, which cost zero media dollars, earned 525,000,000 impressions. Check out this mini-case study on 360i’s website here.
Favorite Use of Technology in Public
WestJet Christmas Miracle
Canadian airline WestJet used technology to surprise passengers in a big way. A digital boarding pass scanner dressed as a giant Christmas present allowed passengers to video-chat with Santa, who knew all passengers by name because of their boarding pass information. WestJet employees took note of all Christmas wishes made by passengers to Santa and purchased them while passengers were flying to their destination. When passengers arrived at the baggage claim carousel, they were greeted with individually addressed presents from Santa – inside were the gifts they told Santa they wanted most for Christmas!
Favorite Viral Video
Meteorite Crash in Russia
Through the power of crowdsourcing, the world was able to see a remarkable natural phenomenon across several different areas of Russia. Scientists claimed that the meteor that crashed in Russia was the largest to have hit earth in more than a century. It was also one of the biggest things to hit YouTube this year.
Favorite Internet Meme
Astronaut Sloth proves that nothing is impossible. Through slow and steady progress, he worked his way to Internet fame, inspiring thousands of variations. Next stop: the moon!
Favorite New Social Platform
Google Helpouts make the Internet a little more human, offering one-on-one instructions for people who want to learn anything from string theory to tying bow ties. We think this new services offers a wealth of opportunities to social marketers who want to disseminate information about their issue area, or who want to train their employees on new skills.
Honorable Mention: SnapGuide
We love Snapguides as another easy place to find online tutorials. Snapguides are fun, crafty and embeddable. Check out the one we built for our campaign with Goodwill Industries International to show people How to Throw a Festive Sweater Holiday Party using sweaters purchased at and then donated back to Goodwill stores.
Kitten of the Year
This tiny, spastic kitten’s reaction to a lizard could possibly be the funniest and cutest thing we’ve seen all year, and the fact that it’s a GIF just makes it that much better.