Emily Tan
Sep 17, 2013

Why social media isn't more creative: Isobar's Graham Kelly

SPIKES ASIA 2013 - The industry seems to either regard social media as a miracle or dismiss it as a fad, and this results in a lack of creativity in social-media campaigns, Graham Kelly, Isobar's regional ECD, argued during his forum at Spikes Asia today.

Why social media isn't more creative: Isobar's Graham Kelly

“Over-exaggeration by snake oil salesmen, or 'gurus', leads to client expectations that are too high, but dismissive views result in clients handing social-media work to interns,” said Kelly.

The truth he says, is somewhere in between. “We need to view social media objectively, it can be powerful, but it's not magic," he said. "Let's acknowledge that it's like any other media and the work we produce for it has to be entertaining, effective and intelligent.”

Agencies and clients have to stop being self-satisfied that they have anything on social media and start thinking about the quality of work they're putting out on the platform.

Kelly then outlined a few techniques, with examples of great social-media campaigns.

Be contrarian

When everyone's chasing likes, and every brand wants to be your friend, Grey Poupon, the 'classy mustard' decided to exclude people, only granting membership to those whose 'refinement' was in the top percentile.

“They succeeded in attracting the people who count, without alienating everyone,” said Kelly.

Be smart about formats

Rather than just run a TV spot on YouTube and Facebook, you can take a great idea as a starting point and adapt it for social media. AllState Insurance's TV campaign gave the brand a great character to work with, Mayhem, whom they gave his own Facebook's timeline to introduce him to the world.


“It stayed true to the core idea but didn't just take the TV ad and put it on the Facebook page," Kelly said. "They gave it some thought and put it to work using timeline.”

Be focused

“Sometimes social media reminds me of the early days of web-page building, when we'd cram everything in just because we could,” laughed Kelly. “But we've gotten better at focusing and building up an idea.”

One campaign that does this, he said, is by CIL Paint, which focused on getting men involved in colour selection by renaming paint swatches.

“It made a difference and it made a good story,” commented Kelly.

Be useful

Being useful is a great thing for a brand. Rather than relying on interrupting an audience, you actually become a service they appreciate. Sky TV in Brazil, which lets users record a show with a Tweet, is one such example:


Be social in the real world

Social doesn't have to exist purely in the digital realm. Tech today allows it to be used promotionally in real life. C&A Fashion decided to address female insecurity about shopping by showing the number of likes each item of clothing has. While actual females may not be swayed by this idea (who wants to wear a dress owned by over a thousand people?) it's an example that shows what's possible.


Be imaginative with promos

Your brand page is going to have to do promotions. If you're going to do it, at least make them creative, which is what AirAsia did when it launched in Sydney.



“I like the design it was elegant, not rushed, unlike many social media promos,” said Kelly.

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