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2018 in review: the winners and losers through social listening

Welcome to 2019! The year of social trends has officially begun, and who would have guessed that a stock image of an egg would have knocked Kylie Jenner's Instagram crown clean off? But on the other hand, from a year that has already seen the bombardment of Bird Box related memes, we can't really be too surprised.

2018 social trends can offer us insights into what works well and what doesn't. The new year is for new campaigns and trends, so what better way to look forward than to start by looking back at 2018 in review? Let's dive right on in.

Winners of 2018

We looked across the hottest brands, topics and posts to bring you our social media winners in New Zealand from 2018:

1. Air New Zealand

Clinching their first place lead yet again, Air New Zealand continues to pave the way for successful use of social media. Their creative use of targeting to the right demographic encourages conversations, and appeals to different aspects of our lives including social media. Through creative use of social media, they hit the mark and nail their demographic which has led them to a successful campaign. With almost everybody being glued to their smartphones these days, Air NZ has capitalised on this opportunity in the market and created a #AirNZShareMe campaign. What does this do? By positively engaging with their followers and inspiring them to share their own beautiful snaps of locations, this is clearly reflected through comments, likes, and shares.

2. Climate change

A topic of conversation all year round is climate change. Once again, Air NZ has used their platform and created positive conversations on social media in 2018 with their in-flight safety video which was filmed in Antarctica; the video featured kids and even Entourage actor and environmentalist, Adrian Grenier.

With the hot topic of 2018 being the ban of single use plastic bags, New Zealand was swift to get on board. Because our little country has a clean green image projected out into the world, (not to mention Tourism NZ’s catchphrase being ‘100% pure NZ’), we've got to make sure we continue to live up to this reputation. In 2018, an initiative by Greenpeace saw a nationwide movement to ban single-use plastic bags in major supermarkets across New Zealand, including New World and Countdown to help ensure a sustainable future. Kudos to you, Greenpeace and our government for a job well done!

3. Chocolate lovers rejoice

Money makes the world go round? More like chocolate. In 2018, Whittakers was a common trending topic in New Zealand, with the release of new flavours, collaborations with Lewis Road Creamery, and let's not forget they even opened their first store inside Auckland International Airport. The use of celebrity endorsement (AKA Nigella Lawson) can be thanks to the success Whittakers has on social media. As a household name and beloved chef, she's already part of a hot trend on social media which will no doubt continue to grow. No wonder Whittakers chocolate has won many awards, including one of the most trusted brands in New Zealand.

The losers of 2018

When there are winners, unfortunately, there are also losers. Here's what didn't meet the mark last year.


We're pretty sure you've seen this, and don't worry we're not going to make you watch it again! In-flight safety videos are always something to look forward to from Air NZ, and more often than not they really hit the nail on the head with engaging and entertaining videos. However, they did experience one of their occasional flops in their "It's Kiwi Safety" video, a take-off of Run-DMC's original song, "It's Tricky."

Despite the video featuring the catchy song reworked and a star-studded cast, many had felt that the overall message of the video was being lost in translation and that more effort was being paid to the creativity of the video, with very little emphasis on safety.

The video now has 2.3 million views on YouTube, however, it has received 2.7K thumbs up and 2.3K thumbs down with the comments section heavily criticising the video as being “embarrassing” or “cringeworthy.” Ouch...

Tips for 2019

This year may have begun with an egg going viral for breaking a record, but the key thing we can learn about social trends from 2018 is that high audience engagement can go a long way for a companies success through social media. And lastly, creativity is important but don't lose your message along the way!

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© Zavy 2021
© Zavy 2021