Every snarky 90s kid surely remembers proclaiming “if you’re not on social media, you don’t exit” to virtually anyone who crossed their path, but this saying could not be more true for brands nowadays. From engaging their customers on Facebook or trying to create a sense of community on Snapchat, to providing users with inspiration and information on YouTube and Instagram, companies go out of their way to come up with the next viral campaign. Cats, fake British accents, and half-naked muscular men are competing for our attention and real estate on our newsfeed with varying degree of success. Today, we present four Instagram campaigns that put storytelling, creativity, and fun over product placement. 

Toronto Silent Film Festival

Since the popularity of Escape the Room does not seem to be letting up, TSFF decided to build one using Instagram in order to promote this year’s festival edition. The game is composed of a panoramic image of a room. Behind each frame hides a short clip that reveals a clue or an old film tape box with a letter taped to it. Your task is to find all the letters and come up with the escape code.

Agency: Red Lion Canada

Ballantine’s

Ballentine's

Currently in its second issue, Ballantine’s magazine about whiskey, W, is published exclusively on Instagram. It is great not only for the liquor’s enthusiasts, but also for anyone who wants to see Instagram’s limits tested to their fullest. Across the two issues, you can witness a superb use of panoramas, tags, and linked accounts that create a visually stunning “Insta-zine,” filled with interviews, articles, and infographics.

Agency: Work Club

Land Rover

Nothing says “outdoor adventure” more than a Land Rover. In order to inspire mobile-focused Millennials to embark on a journey of their own, the car manufacturer decided to launch two accounts—@solitudeinsawtooth and @brotherhoodofwonderstone—where they tell two fictional stories about what can happen if you just get out of the car. Stitched into a giant panorama, photos and films at each account help advance the narrative and teach viewers practical survival skills.

Agency: Y&R New York

Old Spice

Those who hoped for even more of Terry Crews’s shirtless body could initially be disappointed, but this sci-fi choose-your-own-adventure game will surely put an equally big smile on their faces. Every description provides a piece of the story and asks users to choose between possible scenarios. Each tag takes them to a new account and a new image, and so the adventure continues. Beware, however, as some tags lead to dead ends, leaving your main character in less than ideal circumstances.

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy