Given the unfortunate circumstances of the year of 2020 that was handed to us all, there was some remarkable, innovative and engaging marketing campaigns created by brands. Despite the upheaval defining the most difficult year, brands are continuing to transform in real time and lay the foundations for future growth (whatever that may be). We’ve pulled a list of 2020’s best ad campaigns and provided some insights into what made these campaigns so successful.
1. Glowing, Glowing, Gone: Adobe and Pantone Created A Colour That Stands For The Climate Change Over Corals
Pantone, the widely used design platform directly addressed the issue of coral reefs dying uncontrollably with a new colour collection called ‘Glowing, Glowing, Gone’. The collection is inspired by the vibrant but alarming colours created by some coral in response to heatwaves caused by climate change. The incredibly vibrant colours created – Glowing blue, Glowing yellow and Glowing purple were created to represent the colours of the climate crisis. These colours were created in partnership with Adobe and The Ocean Agency (a non-profit org).
Creatives were challenged to use these colours to create attention grabbing work across any medium to raise awareness of the growing existential threats to coral reefs. These selected assets are available for free to the creative community who take part in the Glowing Design Community. You can read the full brief here; https://www.glowing.org/
Through various social channels/platforms and communities, their campaign is still ongoing and reaches millions of audiences and continues to succeed in raising awareness around the health of coral reefs.
2. Nike - Kamala Harris
Whether this was orchestrated purposely or not, this was a priceless marketing moment for Nike which gained worldwide exposure of their brand slogan in a short video. This short video captured Kamala Harris calling Joe Biden after their historic victory, wearing a Nike sweatshirt and uttering the perfect words inadvertently, ‘We did it Joe. We did it’. In this video the Nike logo is visible and gained exposure in video views of up to millions of people worldwide.
This unplanned moment got more attention than most planned initiatives and campaigns by brands, and the fact that the phrase matched exactly what the brand stands for – Just do it! Made it one of the most memorable marketing moments of the year;
3. Burger King – Order from McDonald’s
This campaign was launched after the announcement England would be entering into their second lockdown. The Burger King twitter account encouraged their customers to get a Big Mac from their rival in order to save thousands of jobs in the restaurant industry. In the tweet, they also mentioned multiple of their fast-food arch-rivals and urged people to order from them.
Burger King is no stranger to mention their rivals on social media, McDonalds usually being their main target. This act of kindness from the chain shows that these truly are extraordinary times we’re living in as they encourage their customers to order from places where jobs are at risk.
4. Volkswagens Snowy Scavenger Hunt Vehicle Promotion
Volkswagen teamed up with the Swedish national Ski team to host a unique scavenger hunt where the first person to find their hidden vehicle got to keep it. Volkswagens take on the scavenger hunt involved hiding one of their Passat Alltracks in a showroom deep in the north of Sweden. The campaign was wittingly named ‘The No Show Room' and featured breath-taking shots of the vehicle in the snowy conditions. Volkswagen dropped hints about the cars whereabouts through commercials showing members of Sweden’s national ski team trekking through the north of Sweden’s terrain; https://youtu.be/CNRf4XqjcJg
This campaign was an excellent example of interactive content. In addition to being able to physically look for a vehicle, customers were also encouraged to pick up from clues in adverts about the location as well as other hints and clues that featured on Volkswagens Social channels. These clues were also strategically placed and pointed to unique features of the Passat Alltrack. The vehicle may have been hard to find, but placing it in the conditions in Northern Sweden showed that it had superb handling in snowy terrain. The campaign proved very popular amongst customers.
5. Gillette’s #MeToo Movement Activism
2020 was the year that Gillette adapted their 30 year old slogan from ‘the best a man can get’ to ‘the best a man can be’ for their latest advertising campaign. The campaign saw Gillette create a short adaption that addresses the #metoo movement and the problem in society in addressing issues such as sexual harassment, bullying and toxic masculinity.
This Advert didn’t just capitalize on the attention surrounding the movement but also displayed Gillette’s commitment to the movement. Following the debut of their advert, they also announced that they would be donating one million to the movement each year for the next few years;
The campaign proved to be a huge success in terms of Gillette’s brand awareness. In just a week after launching the video, Gillette had earned over 1.5 million mentions across social media, comparing to a few thousand the week before. This campaign is a prime example of how brands can approach sensitive topics and voice their support for these societal issues with the greatest impact on their brand awareness.
6. World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 PSA’s
We would be neglectful not to mention and include a COVID-19 themed AD in this roundup. Over the past year many brands have come out with their own takes on COVID-19 adverts, but for this we wanted to mention and highlight the work of the WHO effort to spread awareness about the virus. The WHO’s marketing team worked relentlessly throughout 2020 to reach audiences around the world with their healthy and safety advise surrounding COVID-19 and to prevent the spread of misinformation around the virus. Their efforts deserve to be commended.
Brands can also learn a lesson from these COVID-19 PSA’s. Promoting messages that are primarily for the health and safety of our society is not only the right things to do but can also cause customers to look favourably at your brands as a whole.