Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hashtag Marketing is in Vogue

In my last post I mentioned Virgin Australia’s newest campaign, which features a social media initiative involving, the hashtag #mealforameal. In an effort to capitalise on the growing activity on social media platforms such as Instagram, Virgin aimed to engage customers in a more personal, and more importantly, traceable way. Each time someone updates their social media accounts using this hashtag, Virgin is most likely able to view the post, and thus catalogue their engagement with the campaign.

Although using hashtags within tactical digital marketing strategies is becoming quite common, they have yet to really be used on a greater, and more mainstream scale – well until now anyway. Earlier this year for example, Calvin Klein launched a #mycalvins social media campaign encouraging their key influencers (bloggers and celebrities) and fans, to post pictures of themselves in their CK underwear. According to Fashionista, over 6 million social media users used this hashtag, and the campaign engaged over 200 million fans across 23 countries.

Given the success of this initial digital campaign, Calvin Klein’s latest campaign images (as seen below) features the hashtag, #mycalvins, much more prominently than the brand’s own name.

Source: (mulheresnofd)

As these images are likely to appear in print, digital and offline spaces, Calvin Klein is perhaps leading the way for a digital revolution of mainstream advertising. Although QR codes have been around for a little while, with many billboards and product packaging featuring these codes, there are notable barriers to customers scanning these codes, and thus engaging with these campaigns. The use of a hashtag, in comparison, simply requires an active social media account, and is able to be used across almost all social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and more recently, Facebook).

Whether Calvin Klein’s newest campaign will translate into sales, and an even higher rate of customer engagement, is yet to be seen. However, given the success of their previous efforts, it is no surprise that going digital is a strategy they are dedicated to see through in their campaigns.

Although I’m not an enthusiast for the excessive use of hashtags, it’s clear that they’re certainly having a ‘moment’. Only time will tell whether we’ve got another fad on our hands, but until then, hashtags are here to stay and are undeniably the newest stars of the advertising world.

Salil Kumar
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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