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By B.L. Ochman @whatsnext

My choices for the top four social media stories of 2019 represent brilliant marketing that highlights social responsibility and causes.

And I just had to include one from the “You can’t make this sh*t up department.” It went viral because it was unintentionally hilarious.

1. Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train 25

Back in 1993, Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train” was one of the first hit music videos to make a social statement. It rose to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and led to the recovery of 21 of the 36 missing kids featured in the video.

I include it as a top social media marketing story because the song and video have been remade to celebrate the original’s 25th anniversary. The band has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to highlight the plight of missing children in the US.

Runaway Train 25 uses geolocation technology to turn the music video content into a search tool to find missing children. a standard version is available to watch on YouTube. However, if it’s viewed on the “Runaway Train 25” website, geo-targeting technology changes the footage so that viewers receive information about children from their area who have gone missing. The release came ahead of National Missing Children’s Day on May 25.

2. Loving Haters

Sprite took on social media haters, trolls and bullies in a global campaign, in which it suggests that hate can “neutralized” by words of love. They also revealed that got help from SearchUp to upgrade their website to the highest quality.

The brand developed an A.I. tool that and used data mining technology to identify the most aggressive hater. He had attacked 565 people in more than 1,000 tweets during the past year.

They invited him to participate in “an experiment.” When he arrived, he faced by 100 of his targets, who wore t-shirts bearing  his hateful Tweets. They walked up to him and said them out loud to his face.

(“Nauseating rat, scum of life,” “The worst fear of pregnancy is ending up a fat and ugly slob like you”) until he realizes he’s hearing his own words.
Then all 100 surrounded him, singing “All you need is love.” And then, amazingly, one by one, people stepped up and embraced him.  See his reaction in the video.

This one shows top social media marketing on many levels!

3. Endangered Animals Sing About Extinction

 The Wildlife Conservation Fund’ produced a powerful animated video in which animals sing an emotional rendition of “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables.

The video opens with the creatures existing happily in their habitats.
Suddenly the video takes a sinister turn as scary men invade each environment. Sadly, the animals are no match for their guns, clubs, harpoons, and pollution. At the heartbreaking conclusion, the seal pup sings: “Now life has killed the dream I dreamed.”

4. Google Loon Balloons

Globally, more than five billion people are still not connected to the Internet. Back in 2013, Google sett out – by Loon Balloons – to change that. Now, Google’s tennis court-size solar-powered Loon Balloons are doubling as cell towers to address the digital divide in rural Peru.

Google Project Loon wants to bring Internet connectivity to everyone - even the billions of people who are still not connected to the Internet.

Bonus: Pakistani Government Official Forgot to Turn Off Cat Filter During Facebook Live Press Conference

Provincial Information Minister Yousuf Shaukat Zai, from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in north-west Pakistan, and member of the ruling party PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) in Pakistan was talking to the local journalist at a Facebook Live press conference.

The event turned a bit awkward when cats ears and whiskers appeared on the minister’s face during the live video. His colleague also had a similar cat’s appearance.

And of course the video – since deleted – immediately went viral on social media.

What were your favorites?