Social media has morphed into a no-brainer tactic adopted by every campaign being launched and is designed to create a wave of “retweets” to overflow the Twittersphere or spark an interrobang of interest that friends feel obligated to “share” a Facebook post. The muscle of social media has influenced brands to replace worn-out traditional media, like television and print, with impactful experiential marketing campaigns that drive word-of-mouth by directly interacting with the consumers. The introduction of trending hashtags has redefined how the success of a campaign is measured and companies like Zappos are finding new ways to build a valuable strategy.
#TravelHappy is Zappos’ most recent one-two combo of an innovative experiential stunt and engaging social trend. As social media has evolved, firms have taken notice to this direct correlation of igniting trends and positive on-the-ground experiences. Zappos turned a basic baggage carousel into a “Wheel of Fortune”-style promotion where American Airline travelers could win prizes that are featured on their online marketplace and then have them shipped directly to their house. This event was able to show off the wide range of products offered by Zappos as well as their reliable free shipping and outstanding customer service. The event took place in the 8th busiest U.S. airport on the day before Thanksgiving, giving lucky travelers and curious passerby’s plenty of opportunities to share their excitement and surprise through both social media and word-of-mouth. The effectiveness of this campaign was supported by using a hashtag people felt comfortable passing along, one that was more than just a brand promotion. By linking to a hashtag used by non-participating Tweeters, Zappos was able to quickly and efficiently begin trending by piggybacking off those Tweets. With the social world moving at an ever more rapid pace, the challenge of engaging with consumers requires constant innovation and creation.