Some campaigns take months to plan and implement, whilst others become a success overnight. It’s almost impossible to predict which will capture the public’s imagination, but the ones that do are remembered for years to come. Many of the successes used SMS marketing to achieve their goal, and the ones that didn’t could have easily implemented the channel into their efforts.

So, without further ado, here are some of the biggest marketing campaigns of all time.

Dove’s ‘Campaign for real beauty’

After conducting some research, Dove discovered that, to no one’s surprise, most women do not feel comfortable with the way they look. It decided to launch a global campaign to challenge the norms of beauty that society pushes upon us – what woman wouldn’t want to get behind that?

In Australia, Dove decided to integrate SMS with electronic billboards, making it one of the first brands to do so. Australians were asked to judge six ‘models’ (five of which were local women) by their appearance by texting in a response. Consumers were given two voting options for each model: grey or gorgeous, fat or fabulous, and wrinkled or wonderful.

Not only was this a great social experiment, it gave consumers the chance to become part of Dove’s campaign. Even playing a small part in such an empowering and inspiring campaign is an attractive offer. Anyone who agrees with Dove’s message is going to want to take part, as consumers feel they are doing something positive.

Coca-Cola’s ‘Share a Coke’

Whoever thought that something as simple as putting people’s names on drinks bottles would become such a huge success? Well Coca-Cola obviously did, and the move paid off big time. We all saw people huddling around fridges in shops, searching for a bottle emblazoned with their name. Facebook was aflood with images of the bottles. Some people even bought specific bottles as gifts for their friends and family!

Not everyone was happy though – those with less popular or unusual names could not find a personalised Coke bottle. In Australia, Coke tackled this by encouraging consumers to text the brand their friend’s name, so that it could be projected onto the iconic sign at Sydney’s Kings Cross. The original sender then received an MMS of their friend’s name in lights, which they could easily share via Facebook and email.

The result? Around 65,000 people told Coca-Cola with whom they most wanted to ‘Share a Coke’. The company then added 50 new names to its line of personalised Coke bottles, becoming the most talked about Facebook page in Australia in the progress. As for the bottom line, sales volumes increased by four per cent.

Old Spice – ‘The man your man could smell like’

Before the success of this 2010 campaign, the Old Spice brand was suffering from complaints of being outdated. To shake off this image, Old Spice employed a semi-naked Isaiah Mustafa for a humorous advert that addressed the opposite of its target audience – ladies. The risk paid off, as the ad went viral and sales of Old Spice products increased by over 100 per cent in just one month. To this date, the ad has received over 50 million views on YouTube.

Old Spice didn’t stop there though – it wanted to interact with its new-found fans in a totally unique way. The idea was to get the ‘Old Spice Guy’ replying to people’s questions and messages on Twitter and Facebook. However, to make the campaign a success, the responses needed to be in video format.

It was a mammoth task, but Old Spice managed to produce 150 different video responses and publish them on YouTube. What was surprising is that Old Spice didn’t ask people to text in their questions. Although social media is great for boosting brand awareness, it rarely allows you to capture people’s data. Text messages would have done that, as well as encourage people to sign up to the SMS campaign.

Cancer Research UK – #NoMakeupSelfie

Anyone with a Facebook account remembers seeing their newsfeeds full of women taking pictures of themselves without any makeup on, all in the name of charity. The campaign was a viral hit and in just six days raised over £8 million for Cancer Research UK. Even celebrities were keen to get involved and show their support. After all, it was simple way to make a real difference: upload a photo of yourself and then text ‘BEAT’ to 70099 to donate £3 to Cancer Research UK.

One of the best things about this campaign is that it was not created by the charity – a teenage mum from Stoke came up with the idea. This shows just how important brand advocates are, as without them, campaigns like this would have never have come about. Moreover, the ability to donate via text message is equally important – it’s quick, easy and instant. People probably wouldn’t have bothered to donate if doing so involved going to the charity’s website and signing up. Perhaps this is why one in three Brits prefers to donate to charity via SMS.

The success of this campaign then sparked the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which raised even more money for charity. Again, the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association had nothing to do with it, but in a month it received $98.2 million in donations. The UK equivalent, the Motor Neurone Disease Association, received £2.7 million in just a week.

You can’t force something to go viral, but a great message paired with an easy way to get involved is more likely to be successful than a passive, uninspiring campaign. Before creating the next big campaign for your brand, it’s always worth analysing what made the greatest ones so good first. Hopefully, these have provided you with some inspiration.