10 Most Creative Influencer Marketing Campaigns of the Past Years

Influencers have taken over the social media world. Where large companies once spent their marketing dollars on celebrities with global appeal, influencers offer a low-key and less-costly but equally effective approach. And, as the popularity of content creation continues to rise, we’re enjoying some of the best influencer marketing campaigns on social media.

But, what does an influencer do? What makes this different from a regular celebrity endorsement? More importantly, which is more effective? Before we attempt to answer these questions and more, let’s take a deeper dive into this relatively new phenomenon called influencer culture. We’ll also look at the best influencer marketing campaigns other companies can emulate.

What Is Influencer Culture?

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It all started with social media. Content creators can become famous by continually producing popular, well-received posts over a period of time. This helps them build a loyal following, as users tend to gravitate toward interesting content.

For example, the American burger chain Wendy’s uses its Twitter account to issue legendary comebacks to users who engage with it. Even better, Wendy’s makes it a habit to take humorous digs at rival fast food companies. The result? A marketer’s dream of 3.9 million followers who hang on to every tweet.

Some influencers rose from the ranks of common users who happened to stumble across a post that millions loved. Social media platforms make it easy for users to share or forward content. After hitting it big with one post, it becomes easier for the creator’s content to show up in social feeds, get discovered and create some of the best influencer marketing campaigns out there.

Before 2012, singer/rapper PSY was a famous South Korean artist who has a strong local following. For some reason, the music video of his hit song “Gangnam Style” picked up quickly among YouTube viewers, pushing its views to the 1 billion mark within 159 days. This meant people all over the world viewed his music video nearly 15 million times every day. By 2022, the song still manages to generate 900,000 views a day.

Influencers Before Social Media: The Jordan Brand

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Of course, influencers existed way before social media became a thing. For instance, Nike’s Jordan brand continues to remain the standard in sneaker culture, even as its original influencer stopped playing basketball nearly 20 years ago.

When the Jordan line started with a single shoe in 1984, Nike paid Michael Jordan a whopping $2.5 million contract good for five years. At that point, Nike hoped to earn $3 million from sales during the first three years. To say the first Air Jordan (which was a basketball shoe and not the lifestyle shoe it is now) exceeded expectations is a criminal understatement. Air Jordans generated $126 million during its first year alone.

Of course, it helped that Michael Jordan was an NBA unicorn during his time in the NBA, capturing championships, MVPs and other awards. Nike wisely transformed the Jordan label from a sneaker line into a completely independent brand under the Nike name. Aside from issuing annual iterations of Jordan shoes, the brand also signed up-and-coming NBA players and reissued popular models as lifestyle shoes.

Nearly 40 years later, Jordans remain among the most popular sneakers thanks to these new players and countless reissues. Every time social media announces a new colorway for Air Jordan reissues, you can expect a flurry of online activity, from orders and retailer reservations to bids on reseller sites. Today, Jordan brand’s worldwide sales total $3 million every five hours. Meanwhile, Michael Jordan received a $150 million royalty check from Nike in 2021.

But Why Influencer Marketing?

Along with the rising popularity of social media is the increase in self-branding. Individuals and companies scramble to create their unique identities using a selected set of qualities. In the case of individuals, the successful marketing of their personal brands often leads to their ultimate goal: companies approach them for a possible collaboration.

The key for the individual influencer is turning everyday life into an aesthetic. By curating their online personas into something appealing to many followers, they can attract companies that look for the same aesthetic qualities for their brand. Meanwhile, brands will utilize the commonality with the influencer to make the latter’s audience accept them more wholeheartedly.

For example, an influencer might consistently promote a partying lifestyle on social media. When a brand associated with the party lifestyle suddenly associates with the individual through clever product placement, the influencer marketing campaign looks more organic.

Influencer Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

The rise of influencer marketing doesn’t automatically mean the demise of traditional marketing. In fact, smart companies will aim to develop a healthy mix of both strategies. It then becomes a matter of choosing which marketing campaign to apply in specific situations. The following questions can help you differentiate and decide between influencer marketing and its traditional counterpart:

Do You Have a Specific Target Market?

If the answer is yes, then influencer marketing campaigns might be what your brand needs. Traditional marketing usually involves trying to engage the broadest demographic. In contrast, companies can choose influencers that already have a grip on the market they want to penetrate. In addition, some of the best influencer marketing campaigns utilize several individuals coming from different niche markets.

Do You Require Authenticity?

Let’s face it, asking established artists to endorse your brand doesn’t necessarily mean they’re actual users. Unless the endorser is a well-known enthusiast or already an established user, the authenticity of the campaign will remain in question.

Acquiring the services of an influencer should always mean getting actual usage for your brands. As a result, followers are more likely to believe the influencer actively uses your product, especially if they have a prior history of product use or category participation. Remember, the best influencer marketing campaigns look natural, not forced.

Do You Have a Bigger Budget?

Brands intent on waging traditional marketing campaigns should have no problem raising the big budget they need. Meanwhile, influencer marketing campaigns are often built from scratch and require much smaller financial requirements.

For the conscientious marketer (or the penny-pinching financial officer), choosing several influencer marketing campaigns over a single traditional marketing campaign better utilizes a fixed budget and brings a better return on investment (ROI). In fact, Tomoson estimates that for every dollar a brand spends on a single influencer campaign, it earns back $6.50.

Do You Need Room to Improvise?

Traditional marketing doesn’t have much wiggle room once everything’s set. Plus, it’s much more expensive to change strategy midstream when you’re paying for a national campaign.

In contrast, influencer marketing campaigns allow you to conduct the same campaign but change influencers if the original one doesn’t work. Meanwhile, changing your target platform (for example, from Facebook to Instagram or YouTube) often requires minimal changes in execution. Often, it’s a matter of editing the length of a video.

10 Best Influencer Marketing Campaigns

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How effective are influencer marketing campaigns? Here are 10 of the most successful campaigns developed and curated by popular content creators.

1. Corona’s Choose Glass

If there’s one company that unjustly received negative press during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a beer manufacturer that shared its name with the virus: Corona. Misinformation connecting the beer to the coronavirus may have contributed to dipping sales in the summer of 2020. However, when Corona prepared its campaign promoting the company’s sustainable glass bottles, the marketing team developed a plan to paint the brand name in a positive light.

Instead of calling celebrities or drawing up edgy commercials, the Corona team tapped several micro-influencers that were already known for their environmental and sustainable living advocacy. This led people to see Corona beer outside its unfortunate virus connotations and support its campaign for recyclables. In fact, more than 6.5 million people engaged with Corona’s 1,000+ posts.

2. Knauf Insulations’ Informative Cousins

Knauf Insulations’ simple yet effective influencer marketing campaign featured home DIY experts and “cousins” Mike and Rich conducting a series called “Insulating with the Cousins.” This series of short videos provided users with quick tips and tricks on how to generate large savings in energy consumption.

By partnering with an already-famous duo that’s well-known in home DIY circles, Knauf Insulation generated more than 1.3 million views for the series. As a result of Knauf’s newfound popularity, even its website reported a 500% increase in website traffic during the campaign.

3. Ryzen Processors: Benefiting From Product Reviews

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) took advantage of the rise in demand for PCs and offered industry influencers, free processors to test for themselves. At that point, AMD became deservedly confident with their Ryzen line’s performance. They threw in free “I ❤️ AMD” shirts along with the units, and the gamble paid off.

The recipients were blown away by the performance and didn’t hesitate to publish their positive reviews. AMD followed up by teaming up with some of the influencers. The resulting videos provided tips for gamers in setting up their ultimate gaming PCs—using Ryzen, of course.

4. Savage X Fenty: Rihanna’s Magic Touch

Combine a celebrity brand with one of the best influencer marketing campaigns, and what do you get? A product line that sold out within hours of launch. This is basically what happened with pop celebrity Rihanna’s launch of her fashion line Savage X Fenty.

The campaign featured a number of micro- and macro-influencers, including a few who sport plus sizes. With each influencer boasting a million or more subscribers on YouTube, Savage X Fenty reached an awareness level well beyond what the brand could supply.

5. Old Navy: Alex Rodriguez As Pitcher, not Shortstop

For 2018’s Black Friday, Old Navy took a different approach. It dropped its usual practice of utilizing influencers to shill for its clothing line and instead reached out to then-recently retired New York Yankee shortstop Alex Rodriguez. The goal was for A-Rod to call on his Twitter followers to help Old Navy donate up to $1 million to the Boys & Girls Club of America. For every purchase of Old Navy’s Cozy Socks, the company would donate $1.

Rodriguez made the pitch more personal, as he was a former Boys & Girls Club of America alumnus. And sure enough, fans made sure Old Navy hit its $1 million goal.

6. BMW and TikTok: Not an Odd Couple

If you see a BMW drive by you, would you immediately think of teenage TikTokers behind the wheel? Somehow, the German automobile manufacturer decided this demographic is who they wanted to target, as it represents the next generation of vehicle drivers. So, why not let them get to know BMW just before they get their driver’s licenses?

That’s exactly what BMW envisioned when it launched #THE1challenge. It’s a dance campaign on TikTok that featured BMW along with prominent TikTok influencers. The campaign actually performed well, generating more than 7 million views and over a million likes.

7. Dunkin’ Donuts: Charli Bit It

Already with a large TikTok presence of 3 million followers, Dunkin’ Donuts partnered with its steady influencer signups such as Charli D’Amelio, who just happens to be the most-followed TikTok creator. Initially, it was just Charli posting videos of her going to Dunkin’ Donuts and ordering food and drinks. Then, the company launch a cold brew  named “The Charli.”

Upon release, Charli and The Charli helped Dunkin post a 45% increase in cold brew sales and a 57% increase in app downloads. Plus, the campaign resulted in a lot of user-generated content featuring The Charli.

8. Absolut: People and Planets

In 2019, vodka giant Absolut partnered with Collectively, an influencer agency, to feature a number of influencers in its environmental campaign. This was in support of Absolut’s then-campaign, “Planet Earth’s Favorite Vodka.” The campaign took eight months and featured eight activations.

Guest influencers included sustainability advocates and LGBTQ activists. Primarily using Twitter and Instagram, these influencers exposed the Planet Earth’s Favorite Vodka campaign to their legions of followers through unique brand experiences that showcased Absolut’s commitments to people and the planet.

9. Benefit x Crocs: Face and Feet

Cosmetics brand Benefit teamed up with footwear company Crocs to create a unique #benefitofcrocschallenge. Led by famous TikTok influencer Manny MUA, the campaign challenged users to perform beauty and makeup routines while wearing Crocs sandals on their hands.

Choosing Manny MUA was a no-brainer. Apart from having brand affinities for both Crocs and Benefit, Manny is also a leading TikTok authority on beauty. It also probably helped that Benefit X Crocs’ chosen influencer had 4 million followers at the time. As a result, the featured limited-edition Crocs sold out during the campaign period.

10. History Channel x NeoReach: Stay Curious

In its effort to reach out to younger audiences, the History Channel launched its TikTok account by collaborating with influencer agency NeoReach. The latter developed a “Stay Curious” campaign that featured a number of influential TikTok creators looking engrossed while watching the History Channel.

The effort paid off extremely well, hitting 21 million accounts and collectively generating 12.2 million views. After the launch, the History Channel proudly showed off its 50,000 new followers, which is currently at 770,000.

Create Powerful Content With Presentation Software

The best influencer marketing campaigns will always feature powerful content. No matter how famous your brand account or featured influencer is, users will only engage with content that catches their interest.

When it comes to creating powerful content, the choice of presentation software plays a critical role. The right presentation software includes interactivity, which is the main feature that sustains or increases engagement. Interactive presentations allow presentations to be compact and comprehensive at the same time, with the user given the freedom to control how the content unfolds.

Ingage is a leading interactive presentation software that allows teams to collaborate on presentation documents. Its cloud-save feature means sharing the document with your team is as easy as logging in to the account through any browser.

Once you’ve completed the work, you can send the client a link to the presentation so they can view it at their leisure. Powerful analytics features track the viewer’s engagement levels. It then reports which areas of the presentation generated the most interest and which sections could use more work.

Learn more about how Ingage can add more interactivity and engagement to your presentations. We can’t wait to explore your business and its specific needs. We’ll also gladly arrange a free demonstration.

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