The #hashtag turns 10 – five great hashtag campaigns from the past decade

August 23rd, 2017

Hashtags were originally invented to navigate a busy Twitter feed but have spent the past 10 years developing into a much bigger part of the social media experience. Today they form a crucial part of branded campaigns, they inspire change, and keep people updated on news stories in real-time. But what makes a great hashtag campaign?

Here we explore five #winning hashtags and how they helped propel brands, personalities and products to the front of people’s social feeds:


The #NoMakeupSelfie is a perfect example of the power of a hashtag! Users were encouraged to upload a ‘selfie’ baring their natural face, donate money to Cancer Research UK, and ask friends to do the same. The campaign, although not started by Cancer Research, was allover social media in March 2014 and helped to raise £8 million for the charity.


Oreo is a brand known for its excellent and creative use of social media. In the lead up to Halloween 2013, the company began creating six second ‘Oreo-themed’ scary movies posted alongside #OreoHorrorStories. Twitter users loved the posts, which saw high engagement, and worked as a great way for the brand to jump on the #halloween trend too. 


Sophia Amoruso’s rags to riches story, #Girlboss – which is also a Netflix series – had critics discussing the role of a hashtag in a product’s title. Thanks to its ever-present #, the book’s marketing could begin before it had come out. Additionally, when it became available, users discussing the book could not avoid using the # to talk about it. Amoruso described this as a way to “embed sharing into the title”.  


Always found a way to target to its female audience by combining the marketing of its product with a campaign for change. The brand attempted to turn negative phrase ‘like a girl’ on its head by encorporating #LikeAGirl into its adverts and imagery. The audience then took to Twitter to open a discussion on sexism, raising awareness of the issues and brand. 


Charmin is proof that, no matter how seemingly mundane a product is, there is an effective campaign for everyone! And, it works as a reminder that brands can engage an audience with humour. The #TweetFromTheSeat campaign was a success for the  brand, which has received a steady increase in Twitter followers since.

Ten years on from the first use of the hashtag as we know it, the symbol has changed the way people and brands alike use social media. If you’re a social media novice, see our tips on how to use hashtags, or find out how we can help you make the most of your social media output.

By Sian Cooper

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