Just like that, another year gone.
2018 was certainly one for the social media record books. Between Facebook controversies, Twitter bot exposés and the many algorithm changes, marketers struggled to simply keep their heads above water.
However, some Canadian social media marketers didn’t just stay afloat – they absolutely thrived in these turbulent times. As we approach the final year of the decade, we’re commemorating 2018 by highlighting the best Canadian social media campaigns of the past 12 months.
5 of our favourite Canadian social media campaigns from 2018 (plus a bonus one):
1. Bell Media’s #BellLetsTalk. We’d be remiss not to kick off our list with arguably the most famous Canadian social media campaign, #BellLetsTalk. Back in 2010 when Twitter was still relatively new, Bell used the platform to encourage Canadians to start a conversation about mental health while also fundraising for the cause. Needless to say, the campaign took off.
Now, Bell Let’s Talk Day is an annual event. On this day, Bell donates five cents to Canadian mental health initiatives for every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video, and every use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter. Each text message, mobile and long-distance call made by Bell customers also earns a five cent donation.
While Canadian athletes and media personalities initially brought this campaign to the forefront, Bell Let’s Talk Day’s popularity now extends far beyond the Canadian border. Everyone from Ellen DeGeneres to the Backstreet Boys have shared the hashtag, spreading the word to millions around the globe.
Since Bell Let’s Talk began, Bell has donated $93.4 million to mental health initiatives and reports that 87 per cent of Canadians “are more aware of mental health issues”. Fighting stigmas and raising money for an important cause? Now that’s something we can get behind.
— Bell Let’s Talk (@Bell_LetsTalk) January 31, 2018
2. CBC Olympics’ PyeongChang coverage. While CBC’s Olympic broadcast and social media efforts were incredible all around, we want to give a special shout-out to the Olympic Games Overnight crew. Hosts Kelly VanderBeek and Craig McMorris’ timeslot certainly wasn’t ideal for Canadian audiences, but they did an incredible job of encouraging viewers to stay #UpWithCBC by using their segments to create social media engagement.
From emoji challenges to bear-naming contests (Peter Mansbear won, duh), Kelly and Craig convinced us non-Olympians to stay up way past our bedtimes, and they certainly put CBC’s social media team to work.
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) February 13, 2018
Plus, Craig’s phenomenal snowboarding commentary definitely won social media gold.
Holy kittens, @Craig_McMorris has a lot of sayings!
What’s your favourite McMorris-ism? 😂 pic.twitter.com/9l4ZflhiPM
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) February 11, 2018
The result? CBC’s Devin Heroux reported that “Canadians stayed up for the Games, with CBC’s overnight audience growing by 767 per cent.” While we can’t give Olympic Games Overnight’s social media strategy all the credit (the athletes and events were pretty spectacular too, of course), it undoubtedly played a big role in CBC’s success.
3. Canadian cannabis legalization, according to Vice. Whether you’re for or against legalization, we can all agree on one thing: there’s a ton of confusion surrounding Canada’s legalization of cannabis. So who better to supply clear, accurate information than Vice Canada?
Known for their edgy and enlightening content, Vice Canada did what the government apparently could not – they laid out the facts surrounding legalization so that everyday Canadians could actually understand what the heck is going on.
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Thanks for clearing the air, Vice.
4. Calgary Farmers’ Market. Here’s another controversial one for you. Calgary Farmers’ Market, a very family-friendly destination, shared the following image on social media to promote their new location. Chaos ensued.
Gross? For sure. Attention-grabbing? Absolutely – and in today’s content-overloaded world, attention is worth its weight in gold. While this strategy was risky and certainly turned off a few potential shoppers, it garnered mostly positive attention and completely transformed the brand’s reputation – if you want to add a little edge to your Sunday grocery shopping routine, this is the place to go.
5. Tim Hortons and The Away Game. No Canadian social media list would be complete without at least one hockey-centric tearjerker. Enter Sidney Crosby, Nathan MacKinnon and Tim Hortons. In an effort to spread the spirit of hockey, Tim Hortons flew the Kenya Ice Lions – Kenya’s only hockey team – to Toronto for a chance to finally play against another team. The twist? The Ice Lions needed a couple extra players to fill up the bench, so Crosby and MacKinnon geared up.
Hockey fan or not, we dare you not to get misty while watching this video:
Besides building goodwill for Tim Hortons, Crosby and MacKinnon, this video changed the outlook for the Kenyan hockey community and caused countless viewers to catch the feels. Consider this the definition of excellent branding.
Bonus: Seth Rogen’s Translink takeover. This technically isn’t a social media campaign, but it should go down in history as one of the best Canadian Twitter exchanges ever. After Morgan Freeman was ousted as the voice of Vancouver’s public transit announcements, it looked like Vancouverites would be forced to endure the usual Siri-esque announcer.
However, in a tweet I now have framed on my wall, reporter Stephanie Ip suggested that Vancouver-native Seth Rogen fill in for Mr. Freeman. Both Seth and Translink (Vancouver’s transit authority) loved the idea. Thus, history was made:
You know what eases the pain of having someone’s umbrella shoved in your back during a crowded Skytrain ride? Answer: Seth Rogen’s cherubic laugh.
If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out our 2016 list!