2019 hasn’t disappointed when it comes to creative, controversial, and memorable marketing campaigns. From chocolate bars and record-breaking vegan pastries to backyard BBQs, here are our favourite marketing campaigns from 2019.
Cadbury x Age UK – Donate your Words
In September, Cadbury joined forces with Age UK to tackle loneliness in later life. Age UK found that 1.4 million older people feel like they struggle with loneliness and that 225,000 regularly go an entire week without speaking to another person.
Sue Perkins – no stranger to chocolate from her days as The Great British Bake Off host – also joined the campaign by pledging to spend 30 hours without speaking a word to anyone and in isolation.
What’s clever about this campaign, though, is Cadbury’s decision to make the front of their iconic Dairy Milk packaging completely word-free. They also donated 30p from every bar sold to Age UK to help their work supporting older people and initiatives such as their national advice line and telephone friendship service.
Why we like it: The campaign draws attention to a real-world problem and helps to raise awareness and money for a UK charity. Plus, the campaign was creative and emotive, gaining serious ‘memorability’ points.
Gillette – The Best Men Can Be
Gillette found itself in pretty much all of the headlines when it released its “The Best a Man Can Be” advert in January.
A play on their famous “The Best a Man Can Get” strapline, this campaign was positioned as a rallying call for men all over the world to do better – to stop objectifying women, bullying people, and indulging in toxic behaviour.
This went viral, with thousands of people over the world showering the brand with praise and abuse. Apparently, P&G’s CEO of global grooming even received a threatening call from a shareholder.
The brand nearly took their YouTube video, but sticking with the video content proved to be worth it.
Within a week, the ad had 110 million views on YouTube and 18 billion media impressions.
Why we like it: Few campaigns this year have caused such a media storm or generated so many impressions. This is a campaign that shows that being perseverant, shocking, divisive, and creative works.
Carlsberg – Probably Not the Best Beer in the World
In a brave – and risky – move, Carlsberg released an ad campaign which totally inverted its long-running ‘Probably the Best Beer in the World” tagline.
Putting its global brand reputation on the line, Carlsberg totally rebrewed its product “from head to hop.”
To promote this, the brewer had “Probably NOT the Best Beer in the World” slogans run across social media and billboard ads. It looked to reposition its global brand image by admitting that it had prioritised “quantity over quality” in the past and releasing new packs and glassware to re-emphasise the beer’s more premium upgrade.
This campaign created a huge buzz and earned Carlsberg respect from customers and marketers alike.
Why we like it: The campaign showed how important – and impactful – it is to be honest with consumers.
Warburtons – Good Bagel
Robert De Niro is, by now, a classic feature of Hollywood movies – on top of being a pop culture icon.
Warburtons has already dipped its toe into the world of famous campaign guests – remember its Muppets ads? – but De Niro threatening CEO John Warburton became an instant fan favourite.
The video features De Niro at his De Niro-est, defending the reputation of the New York bagel.
It generated a lot of buzz – and free coverage – with De Niro even being asked about the ad in October’s GQ cover story.
Why we like it: TV ads that generate “have you seen..?” questions are always successful in creating a little buzz. And we love Robert De Niro. Warburtons clearly knows its target audience.
Greggs – Vegan sausage roll
Okay, this one is our favourite of the year.
Any vegan or vegetarian knows the #struggle of loving Greggs pastry but never being able to get your mouth around the famous sausage roll.
Jumping on the vegan popularity bandwagon and to “own Veganuary,” Greggs unveiled its “next-generation sausage roll technology” in a parody of an Apple launch event. Yes, they also used Apple-style minimalist branding and iPhone-esque boxes to send the rolls to media contacts.
This caught the attention of everyone from vegan influencers to Piers Morgan, who definitely added to the viral nature of the campaign. Who can forget Piers Morgan choking dramatically on a vegan sausage roll on live TV?
Why we like it: This campaign was perfectly timed and perfectly positioned. And Greggs’ response to social media criticism (including from a certain Good Morning Britain host) was total class.
As 2020 approaches, we can’t wait to see what the new year has in store. We hope to see more viral campaigns that make us laugh – and pause for thought.