Successful social media campaigns in India

The past few years have seen several social media based campaigns, growing ever more innovative and “out-of-the-box”  evolving with the medium that is social media.

While all  successful campaigns appear absolutely unique in content and concept- a few key characteristics run common in every campaign setting apart the ones that actually generate sales from the ones that bring only mindless clicks.

Through this post I would like to analyse some successful social media campaigns in India while decoding some key characteristics that led to their success.

#1 Old Spice India ‘#WhatsInTheTub’


Old Spice introduced Milind Somen as the face of the brand in 2012, it also set about defining its new signature smell as ‘mantastic’. To reinforce the magic of mantastic smelling, Old Spice had launched ‘#WhatsInTheTub’ campaign in April 2013. The campaign involved Milind Soman being featured in a tub wearing nothing but the mantastic smell. The campaign involved sharing the ‘Mantastic’ movie posters  on social media where the tub replaced the main lead and established a personality for the bathing tub.

Key Success factors :

Focused and targeted  – on a simple issue of re-establishing the mantastic smell

Simple – Simple sharing of posters and tweets.

Engaging content – Relying on Milind soman’s appeal.


#2: Vespa India ‘Do you Vespa?’

Vespa -the iconic two wheeler brand  launched its global campaign “Do you Vespa?” a little differently when they came to India. With a focus on generating aspiration for its brand, Vespa asked fans to create stories that personified the Vespa spirit on Twitter. Vespa India provided the opening line for the story featuring any one of the character in the ad, twitter users had to take the story ahead in their imaginative and fantasy colored tweets.

Key Success factors:

The Right medium for the right message: – choosing twitter encouraged wacky and edgy story scripts with limited characters.

Memorable – Made memorable by telling stories that have an emotional resonance for the audience and they could immediately identify with.

#3: Oreo Orange Creme “#OreoBesties”:

When Oreo Orange Creme was launched in India, the cookie brand launched an activity based campaign to reinforced the friendship between Oreo cookie and Orange crème. They did so by calling them #OreoBesties. Twitter users were invited to share selfies with their best friend with the hashtag.  on-the-go customised visuals were created from the fan tweets that showcased their #BestieBond.

Key success factors:

– Simplicity

– Emotional Resonance with audience and brand values

– Engaging content.

#4: KFC India ‘So Veg So Good’

Realizing the vast Indian vegetarian consumer segment potential, KFC India  launched it’s ‘So Veg So Good’ campaign with a television commercial featuring comedian Vir Das. Before the commercial was aired – KFC India social media pages put up content highlighting Das’s new found obsession with KFC inviting the community to guess it. Reactions from fans were also invited in the form of memes, and the #omgKFChasveg. The best memes were given out free KFC vouchers.

Key Success factors:

1. Targeted -set of clear objectives and success criteria and laser targeting.

2.Great Content – great content presented in an interesting and engaging way.

#5:  Famebox “American Swan Beauty & the Blogger”

Famebox, an online talent platform  launched a web reality show called “American Swan Beauty & the Blogger” in April 2013. The contest teamed up  a fashion model and a blogger,.The model bringing up the glamour quotient, and the blogger creating the needed buzz with real-time social media updates, videos and pictures . The campaign leveraged  Facebook, the website and Twitter, to drive eyeballs to the Famebox YouTube Channel for fashion.

Key Success factors:

1. Targeted -set of clear objectives and success criteria and laser targeting.

2.Great Content – great content presented in an interesting and engaging way.

3. Right Medium – Used the right channels to reach right users and incite the expected actions.






Indian Social Media landscape is in exciting phase currently. With more and more focus on creativity, innovation and rationally integrated strategies, there is a massive interest shown by brands in this space. Below are listed some examples. These campaigns not only are successful and interesting, but also provide an inspirational food for thought for those enterprises which are considering engaging customers online.

  • Pepsi, who bagged sponsorship rights for IPL 2013 launched “The Great Indian Catch” contest that used Google maps and Facebook Check-In functions. The objective was to engage as many cricket fans and create excitement among them.  In order to participate, the user had to login via Facebook and give access to the Facebook check-ins feature at different cities on the map of India as defined in the application itself. The game is played on the entire map of India. Batsmen would hit the ball to different parts of the country while fielders would have to field the ball. Players were allowed to play 20 balls in a day across 300+ cities. Highest scores will be displayed on the leaderboard and winners get a chance to get VIP box tickets for IPL matches.

Pepsi, considering the high cricket viewership in India, took benefit of this window of opportunity and executed the idea brilliantly.

First, combining social media with gaming not only helped to engage audience but also took gamification to a whole new level.

Second, making the players play balls at different time intervals made users visit the app more frequently.

Third, the game involved player’s Facebook friends. One could invite them to play the game and send virtual gifts and merchandise. This immediately triggered the viral nature of the campaign.

Finally, the user friendly and simple interface of the application made it more interesting and intriguing.

  • “Life of I” campaign, promoted by Star Movies, was launched to provide a highly rich audio-visual engagement of the film “Life to Pi” to the audience. It’s an award winning Hollywood film and Star Movies took an interesting digital and social route to reach its audience through an interactive trio of web, Twitter and Facebook. Pi has been turned into ‘I’ to make it personalized for its social media enthusiasts.

The main attractions of the campaign – high quality videos, excellent photographs, wallpapers, background score of the film, custom video for the users based on their social data – make it highly engaging. The campaign goes a step forward and lures you by offering free trips to Taiwan, Puducherry etc. if you happen to be the lucky winner of Facebook ‘Life of I Contest’. To participate in the contest, users need to login to the Star Movies Facebook page and find the ticket. This will invariably increase their social media presence.

Also, if you a give a missed call to the given number on its website, you will get a reminder minutes before the film goes live on the channel. This is to ensure that you do not miss the premiere. To make it even more intriguing, the campaign page also shares a couple of behind-the-scene facts of the film such as how a real tiger was used in the film. The campaign was sure a success because of couple of reasons.

First, the campaign beautifully integrates all forms of social media. The web, the Facebook page and Twitter are interlinked at several junctions, yet offering seamless experience to users.

Second, the total number of missed calls, SMSs and the number of logins into the contest help the brand measure the number of people who watched the premiere through digital campaign. This method helps directly to measure the success of the campaign.

Third, the campaign tends to become a highly personalized one as it uses users’ social data such as users’ zodiac sign is used to calculate compatibility with Richard Parker’s not to mention the use of “I” in place of “Pi” in the original film.

Finally, the cinematography, the device agnostic make the overall campaign highly innovative



Examples of successful social media campaigns in India

Kolkata Knight Riders

In 2011, Shah Rukh Khan was unable to attend the final of the fourth edition of the IPL. But their Facebook campaign ‘KKR tension mat le yaar’ had already become a success. The campaign revolved around inviting fans and users to recommend fun and innovative ways in which the KKR team could reduce their stress levels. An approximate of 2 lakh entries from fans were received. Customer interaction was well managed and brand awareness was sustained.

Fiama Di Wills

In 2012, ITC’s leading personal care brand, Fiama Di Wills launched Fiama Di Wills Men – Aqua Pulse range of shower gel and bathing bar. They envisaged their innovative social media advertising campaign to target urban Indian males with active lifestyles. The campaign was called the ‘Mega Aqua Pulse Australian Adventure’. It was essentially a contest to give Indian water sports enthusiasts an opportunity to win a free trip to Australia. The contest received more than 4000 entries and approximately 40,000 friends were invited to participate. The brand made sure that there was continuous customer engagement by offering tools such as Wall Posts, Reviews, Mentions, Discussion Posts, Videos and much more on their Facebook page. The Fiama Di Wills Men community on Facebook registered 1.7 lakh fans, with 3.7 million post views and over 19,000 feedback posts, all within just 30 days of its launch.


A three-month social media campaign to promote UNICEF’s “Awaaz Do” initiative, an effort to send eight million unschooled children in India back to school. The #AWAAZDO hashtag received 1,525 mentions and the @UNICEFIndia Twitter account gained over 2000 followers. The campaign itself also received 60,540 impressions on Twitter, as it was calculated using Tweetreach. By the end of the campaign, the Awaaz Do website also got 203,248 signups of people interested in joining a good cause.


The virtual nature of Evalueserve’s business model called for the use of web-based technologies to support our sales and marketing efforts across the globe. Using LinkedIn, a team member in India can initiate contact or create awareness about Evalueserve with prospective clients, adding comments to forums, asking or answering questions, etc. Clients also proactively approach us with queries, as they see our activities on the network. Viewing profiles of existing and potential clients helps in the client research process. LinkedIn helps the sales teams to identify key contacts and gauge their interests by viewing their forum posts or the events they attend. Most consumers realize that LinkedIn is their professional profile of record. The result is a notable increase of sales leads together with a better image of the brand and the individuals working at Evalueserve.

Reebok EasyTone

One more Facebook contender in the list, Reebok launched the Butt Revolution campaign in 2010 in which an interactive page allowed users to get answers to their queries about fitness from certified Reebok trainers. This catapulted sales for their EasyTone shoes mainly targeted women in the 18-24 age group This social media campaign was used as a follow up to the same campaign released on traditional media.

Head & Shoulders India Wants Men

Head & Shoulders India wants the men of the nation to be the men they used to be long ago and to reclaim their lives with #ZindagiMiliDobara’. Through a 3-month long campaign that commenced on March 1st, the shampoo brand has been on the hunt for the most deserving two men in the country, who have long ceased to be the men they used to be. The two winners will be treated to a trip to Brazil for 5 days where they can take along 2 of their friends each.

KFC India Introduces Veg

Kentucky Fried Chicken better known as KFC has gone out of its way to woo vegetarians in the country. The quick service restaurant chain that served a variety of fried chicken items will now serve a lot many vegetarian options, in a bid to tap into the vast vegetarian consumer segment. For the promotions, KFC has launched the ‘So Veg So Good’ campaign with a TVC featuring comedian and actor Vir Das. The campaign focuses on the new vegetarian entrants in the KFC menu, starting with ‘Paneer Zinger’

What are some examples of successful social media campaigns in India?

Some of the famous and interesting social media campaigns in 2014 are:

  1. Café Cuba created a coffee revolution in India in April 2014. Café Cuba used an interesting way to market the product. It used MS-DOS based interaction with the user to present the origin of the drink to the product. The user had to follow the instructions to view the complete visual and also this visual was entirely created from keyboard characters. While they set the stage an year back using traditional ways to market such as TV advertisement, invitation to people to try the drink and print media the company also created online presence on social media sites and communication messengers Social media is mainly driving the community to the website; it is being shared on the brand’s social media pages. Cafe Cuba’s 85K fans strong Facebook page has a brand new cover photo and wall updates talking about the MS DOS style story. The Cuban Guy on Twitter is at his chirpy best chatting up with people and inviting them to experience and join the coffee revolution. While most of the users have loved the website, many haven’t tasted Cuba yet. The Cuban guy takes your name and address and promises to give you a taste of the new drink. However I am not sure about the fulfillment of the promises made.
  2. Truly Madly is a modern day match making service that breaks the stereotype existing the country. It ran a social experiment where it asked boys and girls to share how they’ve faced generalizations such as difficult to imagine a Punjabi vegan or a beef-eating Tamil Brahmin or for that matter even a health conscious Bengali or the once such as artists struggle for a living, government office employees ‘do not work’, girls who love fashion are shallow, men from the north do not respect women, and so on. Truly Madly used this to curate interesting visuals that could be shared on social networks. The portal encouraged social media conversations around breaking stereotypes by sharing these visuals and also a #BreakingStereotypes contest with prizes on offer. People have shared stereotypes ranging from the funky to the thought provoking to ones that make you really sad.
  3. KFC has gone out of the way to woo the veggies in India. In the bid to tap the vast vegetarian consumer segment KFC introduced ‘So Veg So Good’ campaign. The campaign was introduced on social media a few days prior with teaser updates. Fans were asked to guess what Vir Das was going crazy about at KFC. Beginning April, the brand updated its Facebook cover photo with messages like ‘What’s up with Vir Das?’ The Twitter page put up tweets talking about Das’s new romantic interest. Vir Das also contributed by tweeting about the new campaign to his followers. This was followed by inviting the community to express their reaction on KFC coming up with veg options using memes, and a fitting hashtag #omgKFChasveg. The best memes were gratified with KFC vouchers.
  4. Pocket app by ICICI: Banking domain is considered as risk averse in terms of shift in technology or in adoption of new technology. However ICICI bank took a lead in the features such as virtual transaction through Facebook. Indian bank have not entered into virtualization as of yet. Prior to ICIC bank Ing-Direct, in Australia, had taken another bold step in virtualization. With the increase in penetration of Facebook in India, it was an initiative to target young online users and create a product that integrates bank with social media. The Facebook app offered social activities for friends and families such as planning outings, booking movie tickets, sharing expenses and recharge mobile phones without the hassle of memorizing too many numbers and alphanumeric passwords. This app got very high attention at the time of launch however it did not last very long.

What are some successful examples of Social Media campaigns in India?

Social Media campaigns had been taking the world at storm since past few years and participants starting from organizations, Non profits to governments and activists are leveraging its extreme power to achieve their own goals. India, as one of the participants has been benefitted in many ways over the past few years. Several campaigns running across several timelines covering and highlighting trivial to serious public policy issues had been covered in these kind of campaigns. Lets take a look at few of the best social media campaigns in India. (Not Ranked)

1.BJP Victory in General Elections @narendramodi – A party leader who has the second most Facebook fans in the world (after Obama) and whose election speech was projected in 3D holograms simultaneously at 100 locations. An intensive social media campaign across all the imaginable channels, aiding a staggering victory. During the recent Indian elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party achieved not only a majority of Parliament seats, but also showed the world that the world’s largest democracy has come of age in the digital era.He has 5Mn Twitter followers, 20 Mn Facebook ‘Likes’, his own website and a team of professionals managing his social media strategy. Barack Obama is the only other politician to have more Facebook fans than Modi.

2. ICICI Bank “Magic Pencil” project #IfIHadTheMagicPencil – For the launch of ICICI Bank’s Creative Masters Drawing contest, where participants could contribute to a social cause with their drawings, the brand launched the Magic Pencil Project which promised to give away magic pencils with which one could bring their imaginations to life. A site was created along with a blog, and platforms on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to generate curiosity on the Magic Pencil Project.(84000 views in Youtube)

3. Pepsi India IPL7 #ThatPepsiIntern – Pepsi, the official sponsor of IPL7 had brand ambassador and actor Ranbir Kapoor join Pepsi as an intern to bring all the thrill and action from IPL to cricket fans. Beginning with the Twitter handle @ThatPepsiIntern, sharing live tweets on the IPL. The campaign went on to fire him and announced 15 internships through social media. These interns won an all expenses paid trip to UAE, VIP access to the matches and close encounters with celebrities.

4. MasterCard India #World Beyond Cash – In a significant move to engage the growing youth of the nation, MasterCard had launched ‘World Beyond Cash’ in India where students and young professionals were invited to submit their ideas for a world beyond cash. A Facebook app was created where participants could submit their ideas in the form of poems, essays, illustrations, flowcharts, videos etc. (

5. TrulyMadly #BreakingStereotypes – TrulyMadly, a modern day matchmaking service that finds suitable matches using science and technology, launched the #BreakingStereotypes campaign that sought to break stereotypes existing in the country. It ran a social experiment where it asked boys and girls to share how they’ve faced generalizations while growing up, and curated these stereotypes into interesting visuals that could be shared on social networks. Twitter contests helped fuel the message further. (

6. Oreo Orange Cream #OreoBesties – For the promotions of Oreo Orange Creme, the cookie brand launched a series of activities that reinforced the friendship between Oreo cookie and Orange crème by calling them #OreoBesties. Fans were invited to share their wacky selfies with their best friend using the hashtag. Visuals with the two asked fans to guess what one said to the other. Live customised visuals were created out of fan tweets that described their #BestieBond. (

7. Old Spice India #WhatsInTheTub -With Old Spice introducing supermodel Milind Soman as the face of the brand last year, it also set about defining the new ‘Mantastic’ smell. To reiterate the magic of smelling Mantastic, the deodorant brand had launched ‘#WhatsInTheTub’ campaign, where Milind was featured in a tub wearing only the Mantastic smell. ‘Mantastic’ movie posters were shared on social media where the tub replaced the main lead. (11 Million views in Youtube).

Successful Social Media Campaigns in India

There are numerous examples one can quote for successful use of social media in India. It is almost a mandated requirement these days to leverage social media for promotion of any product or even gathering of information through listening tools. From FMCG to Electronics to Media itself leverage Social Media extensively. Even Politics has taken to Social Media. Some of the examples are detailed below.

When talking about successful social media campaigns one of the most recent and the important one that stands out are the Lok Sabha elections in India. The current Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and his team very effectively utilized this medium to reach out to Audience and connect with them about their issues. The Prime Minister continues to leverage this medium even after being successfully elected to reach out and also source feedback from the citizens. Social Media acts as a medium for any citizen to connect with the Prime Minister directly which otherwise would not have been possible. For citizens it feels like a direct personal connect.

One of the other campaigns launched by the Prime Minister is the “Swaach Bharat” which translates to clean India. Prime Minister has been tagging all known personalities to the program who in turn tag other personalities so as to generate a network effect. The idea for such a campaign was to instill the need for cleanliness in everyone’s mind only then the Prime Minister believes will this campaign be successful. This campaign was actually, I think, derived from the Ice bucket challenge that drive a great deal of attention from worldwide to ALS disorder.

One of the other examples that comes to my mind is from my experience in the previous organization Cadbury. In the recent years there has been a increased focus on promoting our products via social medium. During product launches emphasis is made on visiting the Facebook page or following the twitter account. Continuous updates flow from not just the Cadbury brand but also the parent organization Mondelez. The then MD in fact took it upon himself to meet the young crowd and also check on posts and tweets very often.

An example from the Glamorous Hindi Movie world would be the trailers of various movies that are launched prior to the movie promotions. Movies such as Ra One, Bang Bang, Dabbang, PK etc.. have launched their trailers much earlier through You tube generating interest amongst the audience. Actor Aamir Khan in fact tweets regularly about his about to release film often releasing a new intriguing feature of his film to generate the inquisitiveness amongst the audience. TV channels also have been using Social Media to promote their new films or programs being featured. Case in point is the promotion of MI3 by Sony Six.

From the Industry, the campaign that stands out to me is the Philips LED ad were based on the trailers launch for Bollywood, Philips chose to release / leak videos of their new brand ambassador Ranbir Kapoor on you tube again. It generated a pre buzz that had millions watching the advertisement on TV.

The innovative campaign by Pepsico called ‘Oh yes, Abhi’ is another such example. Here the organization initiated a contest through social medium where anyone could script, shoot, edit and upload a video in 24 hours. The campaign was called Pepsi Shot 60. It had 200 uploads in 24 hours. Uploads from more than 3.9 million fans and these were to be voted by the fans on Facebook. A perfect example of creating a network effect. There are similar such examples from them of another campaign called ‘music abhi’.

From the FMCG world, P&G and HUL use Social Media Channel extensively too. There has been a recent example of how HUL converted a Snapdeal delivery issue into a wow campaign for itself. The customer of Snapdeal received a bar of soap instead of phone. There was a buzz on social media about the ordeal the customer had to go through to get a refund. HUL notched up this opportunity by not only providing a replacement phone but also providing its new set of products for the customer to use. The response was quickly on the social media and generated instant positive reaction towards HUL and negative to Snapdeal. Where Snap deal missed the opportunity HUL lapped it up. HUL has been a key user of this medium. The Dove campaign is one such to remember. During its product launch it ran a blogging campaign for customers to write about its product.

We can go on and on to quote many more such examples. Social Media Marketing is not just here to stay but to also grow. Slowly Social Media Marketing will have larger presence in comparison to the traditional marketing mediums.

Successful Indian Social Media Campaign


We have all brought up eating Parle-G biscuit and even today the biscuit wrapper has the same girl’s picture. It’s an Indian heritage biscuit. Saying this, can we assume that such a well-known brand does not need much focus on marketing??

I was amazed to see this digital campaign done by Parle-G where they created a digital campaign to bring out the genius in a child and helps parents to understand their philosophy. They engaged Ruskin Bind and developed a microsite  that contains various sections like Genius Gyaan – stories by Ruskin Bond, Parents Quotient – mother blogger shares her experience with parenting and Diary of a Genius – school experiences written by a child. They created a Facebook page which hosted lots of games & quizzes which the children could participate & win exciting prizes. On twitter the brand was conversing with users by tagging them and asking them to visit the site.

They even launched a mischievous child video on Youtube, which showed various annoying habits and parents were asked how they would react when they saw their kids doing the same. The answers were to be given on Twitter.

The Success Mantra

  • Picked right brand ambassador, Ruskin Bond, since he strikes an instant chord with kids and is extremely popular among them. The Facebook page hosts multiple threads of posts & videos and all these contents are generated by users. User generated content is a great way to engage users.

  • The focus on this campaign is not directly on increasing the sale, instead they are using blogs to add value to the society and are subtly branding themselves.

  • Another learning from this campaign was that they kept the basics right. Parle G effectively targeted parents since parents are the ones who take buying decisions along with children who highly influence the buyer. They even kept their branding consistent everywhere!


Tanishq – “Confession of a bride”

Tanishq introduces a unique & innovative digital campaign “Confession of a bride” where they engaged with modern brides and gave them a chance to fulfil their wedding wish, if it happened to be the most unique one!

Every Indian bride wants her wedding to be special and wants to give some exquisite touch to the event. Tanishq leveraged this idea and launched a month long campaign where they invited the to-be-brides to confess their wedding wish with Tanishq. The lucky bride with most unique confession would stand a chance so her wish come to true for her wedding. Many other brides had an opportunity to win goodies like pre-wedding styling trials, gift vouchers, make-ups, etc.

With an intention to connect more with the consumer, Tanishq also provides with various apps such as creating your own wedding hashtag, wedding rituals contents, wedding planner & gift registry.  The campaign was launched using website, Facebook, Youtube & Twitter. There were stylists managing various queries & tips using the Twitter handle.

The Success Mantra

  • Target specific marketing – Social media campaign would target young women who would have more involvement in buying decision. The campaign was very well differentiated from a routine television add.

  • Objective was never on Sales, rather it was towards the brand making relationship with consumer. By fulfilling such wishes which are close to heart, Tanishq has created the soft corner in the targeted segment, to-be-bride, while also promoting its wedding collection.