975,476 Facebook Members; 500,000 Downloads and a Fairytale Ending to a Year Dominated by Social Media

Monday, 21 December 2009

Yesterday Rage Against the Machine (RATM) become the first UK Christmas number one from downloads alone. The Facebook group “Rage against the machine for Christmas no.1” boasts 975,476 members and was the catalyst to the most exciting chart battle for years. The Facebook campaign directly challenged the X Factor’s dominance for the Christmas No 1 slot – X Factor winners have dominated Christmas number ones for the last four years.

Over the last ten years we have witnessed a communication revolution. The rise of online shopping, the blogging phenomenon, iPhones and smart phones and online advertising spend overtaking TV advertising. The rise of social media has shaken up the marketing and advertising industry by introducing new dynamics to communication.

The RATM Facebook campaign really highlights the digital revolution we have experienced and thus makes a perfect end to 2009. It proves that online campaigns can make a serious impact on society and firmly reinforces social media as one of the most important technology developments of the past decade (and possibly the last 50 years).

If you think traditionally the X Factor single should have won. It had:

  • A 12-14 week show on Saturday and Sunday nights
  • A proven history of successful X Factor number ones with four previous winners
  • A hugely successful record label financing the single
  • High street sales; HMV, etc

The RATM campaign had

  • £0 financing and marketing budget
  • No store sales
  • And a song which was 15 years old

But where it lacked in investment it scored in emotional connections with the UK population. Facebook gave people the opportunity to really make a difference and be heard. The viral campaign spread within days and topped 500,000 members in under a week.

The power of social media cannot be ignored. It has challenged the traditional forms of advertising. Consumers will be heard and must be listened to. Brands which do not listen will simply not be around in the future. Companies need to move their communication efforts to where their target consumers are, and many statistics show that as of 2009 more and more of us are spending time online especially engaging on social media.