Making Social Magic Happen

A stuffed teddy landed in my lap. Thrown by the mentalist onstage, I had just been chosen to begrudgingly star in the next part of the show. “Choose a 5-7 letter word,” he said. Immediately it popped in: rodeo. Gleefully I jotted it down and sealed it in an envelope. Then the magic began.

He asked if the third letter was a “d”. My look of disbelief was all he needed as a yes. He then wrote the word on a board for the 500-person audience to see. I was about to get the magic brought down on me.

As I blurted out “rodeo” I already knew what was on the card. How did he Jedi mind trick me? It was pure rabbit-out-of-a-hat magic. The vast interwebs probably have an explanation for how he pulled it off, but ignorance satisfies me for now.

#WearYellowForSeth pulled off some similar magic. A campaign for The Bubble Foundation UK in Newcastle, it pleasantly stirred over 250K people to action. In a world where we are happy to get a few hundred likes and shares on our posts, this is a force 10 hurricane of engagement. It’s magic. Much like the mentalist, this magic has a wealth of smarts and planning at its foundation.

Here’s a peek behind the curtains of what helped drive the success of #WearYellowForSeth. If you haven’t seen the campaign yet, have a look at the video quickly.

Every campaign could use a big shove to get it off the ground. It just so happened there were some well-known members on the board of the Bubble Foundation who were ready to activate their social networks to throw some weight behind Seth.

The hashtag says it all

What are you supposed to do? Wear yellow. Who for? Seth. Anything else? Not really, aside from the specific day. The task was simple. If you had yellow in your wardrobe, you could join in.

It wasn’t #WearGreyForSeth

It probably goes without saying, but the exact colour of the campaign kinda mattered. Yellow is happy. Grey is sad. Yellow is hopeful. Grey is depressing. Every campaign is obviously not going to be focused on a colour, but it helped tie things together in this case.

Timing is everything

Kim Kardashian, an election, cat videos, natural disasters, corrupt corporations. Our feed is constantly screaming for attention. Seth’s video landed at a quiet time with few things breaking. Good scenario planning helped create the perfect storm for a boy in a bubble to break through.

Be ready to scale

The Seth train picked up so much momentum we needed a way to help him, and the rest of the world, see all the love that was pouring in. When the campaign busted through the seams of the usual channels — facebook, twitter, snapchat, instagram, youtube — a site was created to aggregate it all.

That’s my take on what unlocked the magic of #WearYellowForSeth. The campaign has pleasantly been picking up some recognition from our tough-to-please industry. To date it has won honours from the Creative Floor, the MM&M awards, and the IPA’s Best of Health, while also being shortlisted in several other shows.

Most importantly, Seth is deep into the business of being a kid. He not only got us to all pay attention, but to wear a colour that’s so hard to look good in. Now that’s the real magic.

Congratulations to Dan Clark, a designer in the London office and the man pulling the strings behind the work. Having volunteered with the Bubble Foundation UK since high school, he was perfectly positioned to jump into action and make it all happen.