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3 ways social media campaigns can make us splurge

Kimberley Carmona

I remember when my Facebook feed was filled with friends sharing videos of people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness for the charity.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge required individuals to film themselves dumping ice water on their heads, to post those videos on social media and to challenge others to do the same. Individuals who were challenged and  who chose to not dump ice water on their heads had 24 hours to donate to the ALS Association.

From Bill Gates to Homer Simpson, people and TV characters were dumping ice water on their heads, donating money or both. The social media campaign raised $115 million for the ALS Association.

When faced with the prospect of dumping an icy bucket of water over my head, I declined, so I donated instead.

While the Ice Bucket Challenge was extremely successful and a worthwhile endeavor, other social media campaigns can lead consumers to spend money they otherwise wouldn’t. Here are a few types of social media campaigns that try to induce you to part with your money — and some tips to help you avoid overspending:

1. Keeping up with trends
To raise awareness of its new wireless headphones, audio electronics company JBL created a #CordFail campaign to highlight the flaws of using corded headphones.

By creating videos showing themselves tangled up in their headphone cords and looking silly, #CordFail contestants were vying for a grand prize trip for two. The trips varied by year, but included the NBA All-Star Game 2016, the Coachella music festival or the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.

JBL hired Vine celebrities, including Logan Paul, Arantza Fahnbulley and Jerry Perndrank, to select original and creative ideas and develop content inspired from those user-generated videos.

Though a trip winner was announced, the real winner was JBL. The company created brand awareness on multiple platforms and increased sales.

The 2015 iteration of the campaign drove more than 24.5 million social impressions, and JBL racked up 5,000 new fans across its social media accounts.

TIP: Trends come and go, and while it’s fun to take part in them, you often are better off buying something you want.

2. Celebrity endorsements
Grammy-winner Taylor Swift became a meme earlier this year after sharing her Apple Music ad that featured her falling off a treadmill. Swift’s ad featured her running to “Jumpman,” from Drake and Future’s mixtape “What a Time To Be Alive.”

The video currently has 6.7 million views on Instagram and received more than 73,000 retweets on Twitter. On YouTube, the video was posted by Beats 1 Radio and reached 18 million views.

The funny thing? Swift didn’t benefit from the advertisement. Drake did.

Since the ad was shared, the song became a hit. Sales went up 431 percent worldwide on iTunes, according to Fortune. The playlist that Swift mentions on the ad, #Gymflow, became the fifth-most-popular Apple Music playlist worldwide.

TIP: Don’t just jump on a bandwagon that you’ll continue paying for in monthly installments. Apple Music lets users take the service for a trial spin before making a monthly commitment. Using trials, or sample items, saves you money instead of wasting money on a product or service that might not be worth it.

3. Provide discounts or chances to win stuff
The original McDonald’s Monopoly game required people to stop at McDonald’s, collect stickers from food packaging and place the stickers on a paper Monopoly board.

Then the game moved to Facebook. Customers now had two options: Place stickers on a paper board or claim the sticker code to play on a digital board using a Facebook app. The app would then share on social media that the person was playing the game.

McDonald’s Monopoly game creates a cycle of brand awareness and increases food purchases by game players. The more people buy, the more chances players have to win free food or cash prizes.

TIP: We all love free stuff, but free stuff shouldn’t come with a price. There are plenty of social media campaigns that don’t require you to pay to play.

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