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It seems that some brands are finding answers (or at least testing approaches) to the hotly debated question of if/how brands can leverage social media newbie, Pinterest. One answer recently arrived in the form of digital agency Firstborn’s Pinterest campaign for Uniqlo. As reported in Brandweek, the clothing retailer Uniqlo effectively hijacked Pinterest pages by creating a hundred separate shell user accounts and coordinating simultaneous individual pins across multiple categories to produce what the Firstborn describes as the “first-ever branded mosaics” intended to “wake scrollers from their slumber.”

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The final effect can be seen here. Placing the pins across Pinterest categories such as Men’s Apparel, Women’s Apparel, Geek, Fitness and Sports ensured that the mosaic was viewable even to users not following Uniqlo. The proliferation of social networks and questions about how to best harness the strengths of each one continue to be a challenge for even some of the largest companies.

The reason this is noteworthy from a design perspective is that as designers, part of that challenge is ours. The challenge to come up with concepts that fully leverage the medium while also bringing that deeper understanding of where a brand’s audience is and how they are best reached. In a hyper competitive marketplace, the added value of positive brand experience and association can’t be overstated.

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Coverage and comments on the campaign were almost as interesting as the campaign itself with some arguing that it potentially created a negative experience for the user and likening it to SPAM. Others lamented that the campaign was sure to spawn a spate of copies causing me to think of Seth Godin’s recent blog post “The importance of going first.”

Another example of optimizing social media’s “scroll factor” in concept and design includes Smart Argentina’s widely covered twitter campaign by BBDO Argentina demonstrating how the car can fit anywhere, or as the tagline smartly states “the only car to fit in 140 characters.” Although both campaigns utilize social media and take advantage of the scrolling aspect, each is very much unique to their brands and use channels specifically suited to them, their audience and the message they’re trying to communicate.

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These campaigns demonstrate the importance for brands, and by extension the designers who work on them to think beyond the page or even the screen to the deeper goals of a particular campaign and how those goals are best accomplished.

What do you think, is Uniqlo’s Pinterest campaign a creative coup or just SPAM? Leave a comment and let us know.