It is very rare that a marketing or PR campaign stops you in your tracks and makes you think.
Last month, however, a wonderfully creative online campaign really excited me as a communications professional, but more importantly, as an individual living in the UK post 1945.
So often social media is used for commercial purposes, or personal gain, but this campaign was refreshingly different. It had the essential classic components of a PR activity in terms of delivering an objective – in this case raising awareness of the D-Day landings – but it was also harnessed social media in a compelling and powerful way to deliver a serious message in a very short timescale.
What was most remarkable was that each of the seven twitter accounts recounted factual, documented events and dialogue from the real-life experiences of the participants complied from previously unpublished research and data.
Tracking the progress of the seven participants on the front, followers were immersed in minute-by-minute events in the lives of different military personnel from a pathfinder, photographer and commando to a submariner and nurse throughout the conflict.
The result was a unique social media experience that conveyed the brutal realism of a pivotal historical event in gripping detail. Compelling, exciting, often heart-wrenching, Channel 4 managed successfully to create a totally captivating experience that used social media in a completely new way to entertain, engage and, most importantly, to educate.
A refreshing lesson from history that many leading brands would do well to learn from.