A shocking ad campaign encourages you to take action rather than just showing your support on social media

While browsing the internet yesterday, I came across a post on Bored Panda which showcased some of the most innovative ad campaigns over the last year. Although many of them were shocking in their own right, one really got me thinking about whether social media can really make a difference.


Crisis Relief Singapore released a number of ads in different media formats – for newspapers, magazines, street furniture – and each showed a shocking photo in the centre, with people giving thumbs up around the outside, representing Facebook likes.

The tagline simply read, “Liking isn’t helping.”

It got me thinking – does social media really make a difference when it comes to helping out great causes?

There are a number of examples where people spreading the message has had positive results. Take for example, the tale of Stephen Sutton, an 18-year old who sadly died last month from cancer.

Stephen set out to achieve everything on his bucket list, including skydiving, drumming in front of a crowd at Wembley stadium and raising £1m ($1.6m) for charity.

He caught the attention of a comedian in the UK and from the celebrity messaging Stephen, the campaign went viral.

The Thumbs up for Stephen campaign, encouraging people to tweet a picture of themselves with a thumbs up and donate, raised more than £3m ($5m) for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Stephen’s funeral took place last week (Friday 30th May) and by that point, £4m ($6.7m) had been raised for the charity.

Earlier in the year, a Cancer Research UK campaign, started by an unknown person on Facebook encouraged women to take photos of themselves without make up on. The No Makeup Selfie again, went viral for charity, as thousands of people pledged money when they posted a picture of themselves without makeup on.

But what both these show is that a lot more than just liking or favoriting a post on Twitter and Facebook is needed.

Charities need to take these ideas onboard and to make a campaign go viral, they need to encourage social media users to take action and pledge, not just encourage likes which do not show up on your friends’ timelines.

Crisis Relief is right – you liking a post about catastrophes around the world may not help, but sharing and taking action will do.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer social media management services to build a vibrant audience for your brand across all media channels. Learn more about social media and PR here.

Author clare

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