In my public relations class last week, we had the opportunity to watch and evaluate several videos of PR campaigns on Facebook. Facebook is an effective way to reach millions of consumers.
There is a great site called Facebook Studio that showcases campaigns from companies such as Skittles and Coca-Cola and shows how those companies used Facebook as a platform to implement unique campaigns.
One of the most exceptional Facebook campaigns was about Milk-Bone, a brand of dog treats that donates a percentage of its profits to train service dogs and place them with people who need assistance from service animals. The “It’s Good to Give” campaign from Milk-Bone used Facebook to share the story of a service dog named Noble. Through the Facebook fan page, fans were able to follow Noble as he grew from a puppy learning to walk on a leash to a fully trained service dog.
Milk-Bone posted pictures of Noble along with his progress as he grew and learned. Milk-Bone encouraged active participation and conversation among the audience, which soon became personally invested in Noble’s story.
This campaign was successful because it employed emotional appeal and encouraged active participation among its audience, while still maintaining focus on the brand.
Part of the reason this campaign was so successful is because Milk-Bone appealed to the audience on an emotional level. For many people, there are few things cuter than a puppy. Milk-Bone combined adorable puppy pictures with a feel-good story about helping humans. The audience became invested in Noble’s story on a personal level, and some felt that the dog was part of their own family.
Another element that added to the success of the campaign is the active participation of the audience. Facebook users could “like” the page to earn special rewards for Noble. Many consumers used the page to share stories of their own pets or to converse with each other and build community. They became truly involved in Noble’s story.
Milk-Bone could have continued to simply post pictures on its Facebook page. Because the audience was so involved in Noble’s story, Milk-Bone harnessed that support and produced television commercials and a PBS documentary about the campaign.
FOCUS ON THE BRAND
During PR campaigns, sometimes the audience loses sight of the brand. In this case, it would have been easy for consumers to focus on Noble and not realize that the point of the campaign was to increase the purchase of Milk-Bone products. However, I believe that Milk-Bone was able to emphasize the brand and connect it with the humanitarian cause of providing aid to humans. The Milk-Bone logo was prominent on the Facebook page and in many of the pictures.
According to the Facebook Studio page, the “It’s Good to Give” Milk-Bone campaign featuring Noble earned 6.3 million impressions through its Facebook fan page and more than a billion media impressions. As a result of the campaign, donations, volunteer applications and service dog requests rose to record levels.
The Facebook campaign is still active now, and the audience can follow the stories of three young dogs, Grizzly, Star and Presley, as they are trained and placed with human companions. The Facebook fan page currently has approximately 162,000 fans.
This Facebook campaign is an excellent example of a successful social media strategy, and I hope that in the future we will see many more effective uses of Facebook like the Milk-Bone campaign.