Dec. 13, 2010 at 3:37 PM ET
As 2010 comes to a close, Advertising Age took a look back and found 10 social media campaigns that "helped show how the web could be a tool to promote real change."
At the top of the list: Red Cross for Haiti.
Less than 24 hours after the earthquake struck, killing an estimated 230,000 people, the Red Cross initiated a text relief campaign. Wireless users wanting to help were asked to text HAITI to 90999 and a $10 charge would later appear on their phone bills. Over the next 36 hours, the campaign raised more than $4 million, making it the most successful texting fundraising effort ever.
Also on the serious side of social media: the "It Gets Better" campaign, begun by gay Seattle-based "Savage Love" columnist Dan Savage as a response to a spree of bully-related teen suicides that happened over the summer and early fall.
From this, the It Gets Better Project was born — a website that allows mostly gay adults to share their stories with potentially suicidal young gay people about how life "gets better." So far, more than 5,000 user-created videos have been uploaded.
Videos have come in from all walks of life, including celebrities (Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, Ellen Degeneres, Jane Lynch), politicians (President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) and the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles.
Also on the do-gooder part of the list: Pepsi Refresh, which gave grant winners $1.3 million a month to "Do Good." For example: in October, helloCHANGE received $250,000 to "creatively prevent kids from using tobacco across the US" and the Esperanza Foundation received $50,000 to "provide foster kids and low-income children with college scholarships."
The rest of the list shows off Ad Age's "Mad Men" roots, with soda pop, energy efficiency and hygiene products sharing the spotlight, with the resurrection of aftershave product Old Spice scoring a major hit with Isaiah Mustafa.
After being put on YouTube, the commercials became viral, with the most popular one amassing nearly 24 million views since the beginning of February. On Twitter, Old Spice solicited questions for Mustafa, now known as the "Old Spice guy," and Mustafa responded to many of them individually by making short videos. For example, one commenter asked Mustafa to propose to his fiance for him, and Mustafa obliged, making a video replete with a ring and romantic candles. Some of these personal-request videos have garnered millions of views as well.
Rounding out the list: