The flip: Four ways to make your next campaign remarkable

From our new Lift series – a collaboration between Facebook and expert charity marketers who have developed unique and effective strategies for helping charities create impact.

What is a remarkable?

At the UN climate talks in Paris, the most remarkable attraction was a work of art. Greenpeace had created a two-story growling, animatronic polar bear sculpted from recovered shipwrecks. At the entrance to the Parc des Expositions, the polar bear, Aurora, roared her alarm about the necessity for a global climate change policy. She became the backdrop for thousands of selfies.

The event was 40 acres of exhibition halls filled with hundreds of booths, every installation was vying for attention: France offered its own wine bar; India, a water feature; the US, a theatre. But, Greenpeace and Aurora knew the secret – organisations all need to have conventional, “heartbeat-style” communication to survive, but you need to create remarkable moments to thrive.

The Aurora polar bear is an example of what I call “a remarkable”. Inspired by marketing guru Seth Godin, it refers to a campaign “worthy of being remarked upon”. Here are some recent remarkables:

  • For International Women’s Day, a Romanian patisserie started selling baked goods that were literal pie charts, highlighting gender and wage inequality.
  • For Valentine’s Day, a New York zoo offered the chance to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach in honour of a formerly-special someone. Ten dollars bought a digital certificate with your ex’s name!

The flip is the change you make to an ordinary campaign idea to make it extraordinary.

Darren Barefoot – Capulet Communications

Build your own remarkable moment

So how do you devise these shareable campaigns that break through all the noise to reach (and recruit) new supporters? There are plenty of approaches, but I encourage organisations to think about what I call “the flip”.

The flip is the change you make to an ordinary campaign idea to make it extraordinary. In the cockroach example, the flip reverses the conventional act of buying “naming rights” for someone you love. Like buying a star, for a romantic partner.

We recently worked with Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, who do vital work for sick children, to help them devise a remarkable campaign called “Best Day Ever”. The showpiece of this campaign was a giant blanket fort in the centre of town full of cupcakes and Disney princesses.

The flip formula

In a crowded marketing landscape, anything less than remarkable will be both invisible and inaudible. Aurora held the secret. Now you know it, too.

As you might imagine, there are plenty of different ways to make the flip happen, but these are some common ones with some more examples:

Change the medium

A French museum invited influencers to recreate famous works of art using household objects on Instagram.

Change the size

To raise money for a renovation, a cathedral is selling Lego bricks to visitors, contributing to a scale model of the site.

Remove something

A blood bank partnered with the local municipality to remove As, Bs and Os from street signs to encourage blood donations.

Outsource to audience

Female surgeons around the world shared selfies from the operating room.

The goal of the flip, of course, is to make something so powerful or intriguing or amusing that people must “remark upon” it and share it through social channels. And often remarkables will receive media attention, whose articles in turn make for great follow-up shareables.

What’s next?

For more ideas and resources for elevating your cause this giving season, visit our giving season resource hub