2021 has been a whirlwind year for us all. As society started to shift back into normalcy after a locked down 2020, there has been a shift in how audiences consume content. In turn, this has influenced how brands market to their followers on social media. 

With a rise in TikTok campaigns, increased use of user-generated content and a different spin on influencer tactics, consumers were treated to some out-of-the-box ads from some of their favourite brands. 

Here, media update’s Taylor Goodman unveils the four best social campaigns of 2021:

Let’s get stuck in:

1. Apple ‘#ShotOniPhone’

It would be difficult to make it through a listicle about the best social media campaigns of 2021 without mentioning Apple’s ‘#ShotOniPhone’. 

Despite this campaign originating in 2014, year after year Apple astounds consumers with massive billboards, social posts and videos featuring content that was shot on its latest iPhones. 

Throughout 2021, the brand has plastered its platforms and mounted billboards with images that are shot with its very own devices. To promote the newest version, the iPhone 13, the brand opted for video.

*Image sourced from Apple 

This short video shows users creating a short film, with special effects, filmed only using the iPhone 13.

Not only does this campaign show consumers just how great the product is, but by showcasing user content, they are saying ‘well, you can do it too!’ And herein lies its success. 

‘#ShotOniPhone’ is the perfect amalgamation of the simplicity of user-generated content, accelerated by one of the biggest brands in the world. This is a part of the charm — seeing how this tactic humanises Apple. 

Choosing to forego the light, camera and action of it all shows that the brand puts it’s trust where it really matters: In its products.

2. Lego ‘#rebuildtheworld’

Lego has cemented itself as a household name — not only in the toy industry, but in almost every home too. For this reason, it is not a brand that regularly runs campaigns because it simply doesn't need to. 

But that didn't stop the brand in creating one of the most impactful ads in under the ‘#rebuildtheworld’ tag. This campaign first kicked off in 2019 and has continued to break boundaries since. 

Its latest iterations are colourful, imaginative and inspiring — all carrying the tone that anything is possible with a creative mind and some Lego bricks. 

“We remain in awe of the creativity, optimism and resilience that children show every day and how, through play, they can develop the essential life skills — not only to imagine but to create a brighter future,” says Julia Goldin, chief product and marketing officer at The Lego Group

As the brand’s target market is mostly children, it is great to see it creating short and simple videos that encourage teamwork, self-expression and creative problem solving. We take our hats off to you, Lego

3. McDonald’s Saweetie Meal

Similar to Lego, fast food giant McDonalds doesn’t really need to throw millions into creating top notch social media campaigns. Let’s not forget, it is the most visible brand on social media, as well as one of the most recognisable symbols in the world

Despite this, McDonald’s decided to rock the social media scene anyway by expanding on their limited offer celebrity meals. These collaborations were first kicked off with K-Pop group BTS.  

The brand’s latest partnership was with rapper Saweetie, who has a die-hard fan base and has been making serious waves online in her own right. 

Saweetie is a self-proclaimed lover of the golden arches and is making a name for herself as quite the food influencer, regularly going live on Instagram and giving food recommendations to her fans.

"McDonald’s and I run deep — from growing up back in Hayward, California, all through my college days — so I had to bring my icy gang in on my all-time favourites. Depending on the mood I’m in, there are so many ways to enjoy my order. I like to keep things fresh,” says Saweetie. Sounds like a match made in heaven to us

The Saweetie meal was a limited offer, which included:
  • a Big Mac
  • four piece Chicken McNuggets 
  • medium fries 
  • a medium Sprite 
  • Tangy BBQ Sauce, and 
  • "Saweetie' N Sour" sauce. 

This collaboration proves the power of using celebrity endorsements. It allows businesses to capitalise on the personality’s large following, but to also keep a brand relevant and expand its reach to new audiences.

4. Spotify ‘Wrapped 2021’

On Wednesday, 1 December streaming service Spotify launched its 2021 ‘Wrapped’ campaign, and Instagram stories everywhere were flooded with shares upon shares. 

If you aren't a Spotify user, let’s sum it up for you. This campaign is a personalised summary of how you spent your year listening on the app, powered by your usage data. 

*Image sourced from Bored Panda

When you open the app, Spotify offers a curated playlist of your most played songs throughout the year. Additionally, it offers a click through story with colourful slides that unpacks your:
  • top artists 
  • most listened to podcasts, and
  • top songs. 
Users also have access to unique features during this period. For example 2021: The movie “pairs your top songs with classic scenes from a movie that’s all about you.”

But it doesn't stop there. Playing Cards is “an interactive, data-based game that you play and then share with your friends. We’ll display several statements about your listening this year and you’ll have to guess which are true,” says Spotify in a press release.

*Image sourced from Techcrunch 

*Image sourced from Techcrunch

This campaign was first launched in 2015 and it has stuck as a user favourite ever since. Why? Because people love personalised content and gamification, and Spotify hit the nail on the head!

For many, ‘Wrapped’ has become a yearly tradition whereby listeners can reflect on the year that has passed, and do so through music and striking visuals. 

Additionally, it is highly shareable so users can share it with their peers and vice versa — creating a sense of community amongst Spotify users. So, if you were in the top 1% of Taylor Swift listeners or Driver’s License by Oliva Rodrigo was your most played song, let your followers know! You know they will love that!

What is your favorite social media campaign of 2021? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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If you want to learn more about the latest happenings on the social scene, then be sure to read Five social media trends to look out for in 2022.
*Image courtesy of Unsplash