For an advertising medium self-described as “social,” social media can become boring and predictable. The majority of digital advertisers have a tendency to resort to their old standbys: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube… you know the drill.

While these are effective mediums to reach mass audiences, how influential will your campaign be if you — and every other agency — promote “like” contests on Facebook? In today’s competitive marketing field, it is crucial to set your brand apart.

One way to do this is to expand your reach beyond the confines of computer monitors and smart screens. It’s time to become social again. Two particular brands have a notable grasp on this concept. Let’s take a closer look at their campaigns.

Gatorade: Replay

Winner of the Grand Prix prize at the 2010 Cannes Lions Festival, this campaign is social in every aspect. Take a look at the case study below:

It is important to recognize that the creative team did not abandon digital influence. By uploading webisodes of the returning players in action, it integrated online media with offline connections. There is no greater branding combination.

What began as a brilliant marketing strategy is now a television series in its third season and the premise of a future motion picture. The campaign’s social success can be attributed to one single factor: It connects.

Kleenex: Softness Worth Sharing

Here’s a riddle for you: How does Kleenex become social? The answer is simple.

It issues tissues! Check out the commercial below:

At, users are invited to send free tissues to friends and family. They can then track which recipient of theirs also sent tissues to a loved one. Packaged in a tiny rectangular box, these thoughtful gifts inspire acts of giving.

Over 1.5 million boxes have been delivered, and when you send a pack you get a pack! Kleenex brand director Craig Smith notes that the company “enabled 1 million consumers to become ambassadors for the brand.” By encouraging customer participation, Kleenex established a socially effective campaign.

Both of these campaigns share some social commonalities that any advertiser can practice. They encourage audience involvement. They also recognize individual emotion in conjunction with product benefits.

Ultimately, the best marketing strategies are consumer-driven. Ask yourself how your product emotionally appeals to your audience. Then, get out there and CONNECT with your target market. Get social!