Social Media Campaigns That Rise Above

In the fast-paced and highly saturated world of social media, it can be difficult to establish online presence and awareness. Ideal content will attract not only attention but rewarding engagement and interaction. Establishing an online presence is only the first step for companies. Next they must master the skill of standing out from their competitors, and avoid being drowned out by the high traffic nature of social media. This begs the question: how does one create a unique voice on social media? In the world of constant content, how do you create the one campaign that catches attention? The following are just a few examples of some unique and innovative ideas in recent social media campaigns.


In February, Worldwide Breast Cancer launched a highly successful campaign that summarizes the importance of self check-ups, recognizing warning signs, and other important information about breast cancer as translated through lemons. The campaign is ingenious for a few reasons: it is simple, easy to understand, and it manages to summarize a large amount of crucial information into a basic and easily digestible format. It created a catchy campaign name and concept, managed to double not only as awareness but also as incentive to donate to Worldwide Breast Cancer, and started a conversation and community around the subject. The campaign perfectly strikes the balance between serious and lighthearted. Through just three Facebook posts, the campaign reached 7.3 million people.


This viral sensation was started not by an organization, but by just one person: twenty-eight year old Kat Selwyn Layton. After the passing of mental health advocate Carrie Fisher, Layton was inspired to speak out more publicly in her own life about mental illness and wanted to encourage others to do the same.  She created highly shareable online badges that featured all variations of mental illnesses and conditions. The badge featured the campaign name #EndTheStigma, with other hashtags of support such as #1in5, bringing awareness to the statistic that one in five American adults are living with a mental illness. This initiative is brilliant, as it takes an extremely direct approach. The simple campaign works towards dealing with shame, breaking silence around misunderstood or marginalized illnesses and creating a highly accessible and positive online mental health movement. The badges have been shared over 40 000 times on Facebook alone.


Dublin Simon, a homeless charity in Dublin Ireland runs an awareness campaign on the day of the summer solstice, also known as the longest day of the year. The campaign centered around awareness for the homeless and a call to action to donate, simply through the message of "Everyday feels like the longest day of the year for those who are homeless". This campaign is extremely clever due to its ability to link a day you may otherwise think little of to its mission, and providing incentive to donate and get people thinking about its simple, but highly effective and shareable message.


Seventeen of the animal emojis found on smartphone keyboards were highlighted as endangered by World Wildlife Fund, and the organization took to Twitter as an opportunity to raise awareness and generate donations. For every retweet or tweet of one of these endangered species, €0.10 was donated to WWF for awareness and conservation efforts. Strategically launched on World Endangered Species Day, this campaign is brilliant in that it could be re-run, with an updated list of endangered species that need help the following year. It is appealing to all ages, easy to get involved in, and makes great use of the easily understood and communicated tool and trend of emojis. As well, it gives an opportunity to give a visual for the endangered animal in an endearing way. The campaign generated over a million uses of the hashtag #Endangered Emoji, and thousands of followers gained to the WWF Twitter account.

These campaigns show how they were able to reach a larger audience and find success by taking unique approaches to their messages of awareness. Creating highly shareable content that can either appeal or at least interest a wide variety of people is a huge victory. When content online becomes viral, it becomes powerful.


"It's not about wanting but about BEING"

Youtube star, Alex Bertie invites his younger sibling Hollie, who is only 12 years old, for his Trans sibling Q&A special and when she is asked “if you have any advice to parents of a trans person, what would it be?” and without hesitation she replied, “Don’t shout at them just because they’re different. Take a chill pill, think about it, and don’t abandon them.” At only 12 years old, Hollie understood the reality of how choosing to be supportive is a matter of life or death.

The misconception about the Transgender community is the transition process being a want versus a need, in other words asking a trans person why they want to transition is irrelevant because the connection between body and mind is absolute. Imagine a life when body and mind conflict? How would you feel? How would you survive? Would you survive? Or would you be a part of the 40% of the trans community who commit suicide because they aren’t accepted and supported. It was best said by Luna, an International Relation Student at DCU, “It’s not about wanting, it’s about being” during her interview by The Irish Times. Being acceptingand supportive carries more power than you may know.

According to a study at San Francisco State University (SFSU), a trans child who experiences high rejection from their family are 8 times likely to commit suicide than someone who experiences low rejection. When rejecting a child for being born with the wrong natal sex (assigned gender) one weakens their mental health which is why suicide and/or drug abuse risks are high. Being valued by parents and family from childhood allows us in turn to learn to value and care about ourselves.

An example of how acceptance can save a trans child’s life is shown in the chart below. The difference between low and high is obvious, but worth noting is the difference between moderate level rejection, which is described as “some negative reactions but also had some positive reaction” and high rejection. The drop from high to moderate is substantial.


An organisation here in Dublin, Ireland that recognizes the power of acceptance is the Transgender Equality Network Ireland, also known as TENI. Founded in 2006, TENI’s mission is to advance the rights and equality of trans people and their families. Their recent efforts paved the path for the Gender Recognition Bill that was signed in 2015 by Ireland’s Oireachtas.

Before the signing of the bill trans people were required to undergo a lengthy process which required the supporting documentation from an endocrinologist (the branch of physiology and medicine concerned with endocrine glands and hormones), whereas now individuals of 18 and over are able to self-declare their own gender identity.

Despite the small victory, the struggle isn’t over. The new bill exclusion of “those under 18, non-binary people and people with an intersex condition.” sends a discouraging message to transgender children; rejection. The argument for the age requirement is to protect children from making a mistake but according to Pennsylvania’s transgender surgeon, Dr. Christine McGinn “when people don’t do well after their transition, it’s because they have absolutely no support system.

TENI’s chairs Sara Phillips acknowledges the bill isn’t perfect, however the board, staff members and volunteers at TENI still work hard towards a better and more equal Ireland. A nation that can join other countries like France, who in 2016 removed their surgical requirement for gender recognition or Argentina and New Zealand, who in 2012 declared all people can amend their natal sex, or like the Girlguiding organisation in the United Kingdom who just this past January welcomed boys who self-identify as “a girl” to join their program.

So many children are suffering in silence and the 40% suicide rate world wide for transgender children and young adults is unacceptable. The new Gender Recognition Bill is a move in the right direction for Ireland, however this legislation needs to be amended to include those under the age of 18 years old because this isn’t a matter of want but need.


Find out how to help Ireland keep its progression at the TENI website

To learn more about San Francisco State University study, click here.


Sources: - Image - Hollie’s Interview - Dr. Christine McGinn

‘Hidden Homeless’ Real Estate Agency Spreads Awareness of Poor Living Conditions

Often when people think of a homeless person they think of someone sleeping on the sidewalk.

The fact of the matter is that most people who are homeless are not sleeping rough in the streets.  They’re couch surfing in friends’ or relatives’ homes and living out of suitcases.  Many of these people could not keep up with their rent or were forced out after their landlord sold the property.  

The Society of Vincent Paul, or SVP, has worked to spread awareness about this problem.

There are over 1,100 homeless families in Ireland right now and SVP believes this is a social issue, not a financial issue.  With more regulations on private housing and more support for social housing.

SVP created a “Hidden Homeless Real Estate Agency” pop-up which was meant to show the public first-hand the poor conditions that hundreds of Irish families have to live in every day.  It had simulated displays of overpriced flats with poor conditions as well as hotel rooms, which many families have to revert to using out of necessity.  The idea for the exhibition was to spread awareness of the issues with the private rent sector and fight for better-priced housing.

The displays were live from Oct. 17th to 18th in South Dublin.

SVP asked passersby to walk through the exhibition then to sign a petition, this petition will be sent to Minister of Housing Simon Coveney.  The petition called for more social housing and further reform on the private sector.  1,400 people have signed the petition as of Nov. 21st.  

SVP’s Head of Social Justice John-Mark McCafferty explained that this success was due to a joint effort.  In the Company of Huskies- a creative agency- suggested the idea to spread awareness on housing rates in Dublin., Ireland’s largest property website, have also played a huge role in the campaign.  

You can visit SVP’s Hidden Homeless website here.