The Best Digital Campaigns of 2019 – Christmas Edition

By Cicero/AMO’s Digital Team

In a year filled with Mental Health Eggs, Brexit chaos, Fyre Festival, the #10YearChallenge, Forky, Billie Eilish, a redesigned Sonic, the Game of Thrones Finalé and Avengers EndGame, we look back at our favourite digital campaigns throughout the year. 

The year was filled with trends, topics and new marketing ideas that brought brands to audiences in new and exciting ways. Our digital team have highlighted and analysed the most effective communication pieces below. 

So in the final days of December when you’re ‘working from home’ (with lower case letters), kick back with a mulled wine and check out our favourite videos from 2019.

Tudder – The Cow Tinder App

Back in February the online cattle marketplace SellMyLivestock used Valentine’s Day as an unlikely opportunity to promote their platform.

SellMyLivestock is a place for farmers to find new livestock and breeding partners for their animals. As Valentines Day approached, they took this functionality and spun it into a Tinder style app where users were given a picture of a cow with its details and they swiped left or right depending if they were interested. Swiping right takes them to the cows SellMyLivestock listing. They called this Tudder (a real app that is still available for download).

Tudder exploded as “Tinder for cows” proved an irresistible headline for most media outlets and soon it even went international. Word then spread on Twitter as people made numerous cow puns.

This campaign proved that there is room for creativity and even a sense of fun in B2B marketing.

Mercedes – The Last Day

In May Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Mercedes, retired after 13 years in the job and even longer at the company. To mark the occasion BMW put out this advert imagining his last day and what he would do when he gets home…

The tone of the video was spot on, funny but also respectful to their competitor and Zetsche himself thanking him for “so many years of inspiring competition”. The video now has over four and a half million views on YouTube and was well received by viewers.

CardGames.Io – Simple tweeting

We have included this one for its simplicity, a single promoted tweet for a card games website that looks like a 90’s throwback and has 598 followers showing how being genuinely funny can make you stand out.

Sainsbury’s – Meet Rizal

Around Valentine’s Day, Sainsbury’s showed a great example of reactive marketing when the Tinder profile of Rizal, a mechanical engineering student from Southampton, went viral. In the ‘hobbies’ section of his profile he had included a line reading ‘Going to Sainsbury’s every Sunday’ as well as reviews from friends and family for why women should date him.

Sainsbury’s then invited Rizal to come to Sainsbury’s under the guise of a game called ‘Supermarket Swipe’, where they invited local singles to come and meet him on the checkout.

This is a fantastic example of reactive marketing where Sainsbury’s hijacked a trending topic and used this to promote their brand in a fun and friendly way.

Spotify – Let the song play

In October Spotify launched a campaign showing a simple video playing on everyone’s love of a car sing-a-long.​

Spotify’s VP, Alex Bodman commented on the campaign saying: “The creative started with a simple insight that we rarely discuss, but everyone can relate to. Then the team got to work on bringing the insight to life with a healthy dose of Spotify’s sense of humour. Hopefully it makes people laugh, while reminding them how much better driving is when you have the perfect soundtrack.”​

The video has received over 25,000+ YouTube views​ and the the ‘Songs to play in the car’ Playlist has over 8.5 million followers​. This is a great example of how a simple idea started from a conversation in the boardroom can lead to clever marketing that doesn’t have to cost the earth.

True Care – Life Insurance

Complex services such as insurance are notoriously difficult to market. Conveying the product in a simple way that both explains the nuances of the service and engages the audience at the same time is a difficult balance to strike. Often insurance communications can come across as dry or disengaging.

This Japanese advert for life insurance is a fantastic example of how an unexciting product can be brought to life through comedy. The advert captures the attention of the audience by using a relatable story and holding the ‘sell’ until the very end.

A great way to make a beige product exciting.

Gillette – The Best Men Can be

In January this year, the viral ‘We Believe: The Best Men Can Be’ campaign was launched from Gillette in a bid to challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to ‘be a man’. The campaign was in reaction to the #MeToo movement that raised attention on male behaviour, sexual harassment and assault, Gillette joined the conversation and the commitment to drive change with the brand’s campaign and new slogan, #TheBestMenCanBe.

The main driver of the campaign was a short video created by Gillette that was released on Twitter to highlight that change was needed in response to the recent movements and received more than 30 million views, 231K+ retweets, 571K+ likes, and 51K comments.

The brand’s campaign and new slogan, #TheBestMenCanBe, was both critiqued and praised for its attempt to tackle toxic masculinity. However, Gillette did not respond to any tweets about this, and let the messaging of the video do all the talking – Although, Gillette did report that sales had not declined since the campaign launched and called the campaign a big success. So, it just shows different social strategies work for different campaigns, objectives and brands.

More recently (June this year), the brand reported figures which show that since the ad launched in January, 65% of consumers are more likely to purchase Gillette. Among millennials, that figure was even higher, with 84% of women and 76% of men aged under 35 saying they would be more likely to purchase from the brand.

Overall, the campaign was a success and started a conversation around a controversial subject and changed the brand image and overall narrative for Gillette and their future marketing. As long as Gillette continue to fully commit and stand by this messaging, it’s a positive direction for them to take – this is reinforced by PRWeek’s Twitter poll, where 82% of people thought that Gillette’s ad was a success and that brands should speak up more.

Although the video wasn’t liked by everyone, it received a lot of backlash from all types of people on and off social media. However, the numbers speak for themselves and Gillette was able to do what it intended to.

The Egg – Mental Health

Which came first? The campaign or the egg?

‘The Egg’, AKA Eugene, social media campaign is probably the best example of what contemporary viral marketing is. “The Egg”, was probably the simplest and yet one of craziest marketing stunts of 2019, which shows the power of influencers and opinion leaders in contemporary marketing.

With a subtle hint of comedy, a stock image of an egg  was able to achieve over 53 million likes on Instagram, more than 3 million comments and 10 million subscribers – becoming the most-liked post on Instagram EVER and beating Kylie Jenner’s record of announcing her baby’s birth in 2018.

Using the power of influencer marketing, ‘The Egg’ got Kylie Jenner to create a video highlighting the post, and the likes came flooding in from Instagram users across the world, including other celebrities and influencers. And again, a great example of how influencer marketing can be a benefit as part of a wider marketing strategy.

An all-round, egg-credible campaign!

North Face – Using Wikipedia to your advantage

This is a very controversial campaign by North Face and ad agency Leo Burnett Tailor, who published a video detailing the company’s exploitation of Wikipedia as part of an ad campaign. The exploitation, according to the company’s video, involved swapping Wikipedia images of various destinations with new images that prominently featured The North Face gear – all done with absolutely no budget spent and purely based on their observation of consumer behaviours.

The arrogant and almost show off tone of the video presents the following question: How can a brand be the first on Google without paying anything for it? The rest of the video details how North Face pulled off its stunt, including sending photographers to capture original images of people using the company’s gear in ‘adventurous’ desirable locations.

The Wikipedia pages for these high-tourism destinations, often appear at the top of the first Google search results page; the first images found on these pages are often at or near the top position on Google Image Search, making this an effective method of getting their content right to the forefront of everyone’s google search across the world.

It seems odd that if North Face was going to all these lengths to manipulate Google Image Searches without detection so well, then why did they feel the need to create this video to highlight how ‘clever’ they were? A likely theory is that the ad agency wanted to highlight and ultimately advertise what a good job they had done, because if that video was never made it’s more than likely that the public and Wikipedia would be none the wiser. This is ‘dangerous marketing’ and something businesses should look to avoid.

Get in Touch

Kris Makuch

Director of Digital