MediaCat Magazine’s marketing moments of 2021

From breastfeeding and financial gender stereotypes, to child poverty, homophobic hate crime and beauty standards... here are some marketing moments that caught our eye this year

As 2021 draws to a close we thought it a good time to reflect on some of the year’s standout marketing moments that caught the eyes of our team. This year, marketers have taken on topics such as breastfeeding, gender stereotypes when it comes to money, beauty standards and child poverty.

Here are campaigns we liked, but what caught your eye this year?

Relief and Squid Game — There’s a better way to get out of debt

Earlier this year, a campaign from Miami-based startup company Relief (an app that uses AI and collective bargaining to eliminate credit card debt) took everyone by surprise. Working with Canadian advertising agency Wunder they capitalised on the hugely popular Netflix show Squid Game by sliding these cards under doors.

Playstation — Play Has No Limits

Sony’s PS5 campaign, Play Has No Limits, from Adam & Eve DDB, told the story of two rival kings in a city modelled on a chessboard. Its aim was to emphasise the exhilarating gaming experience. The ad referenced God of War: Ragnarok, Uncharted, Final Fantasy, Gran Turismo 7, Call of Duty and Horizon Zero Dawn.

Starling Bank — #MakeMoneyEqual

Continuing the #MakeMoneyEqual campaign launched in 2018, Starling created a royalty-free collection of 100 stock images to change the way women are depicted in the media. This followed insight from research by Brunel University, which found that men are largely shown as the earners and women the spenders.

KFC — Your Chicken Could Never

From the 999 calls when KFC ran out of chicken to getting inked with a Colonel Sanders tattoo, KFC fans share a special bond with the brand, claims the Your Chicken Could Never campaign. Some edits of the campaign include the beloved ‘It’s Finger Lickin’ Good’ tagline for the first time, after KFC put it on pause during the pandemic.

Tommee Tippee — The boob life

Tommee Tippee launched a global campaign to promote its ‘Made For Me’ range — Breast Pads and a Double Electric Breast Pump. The Boob Life campaign was created by creative brand communications agency Manifest, and aimed to break the silence around breastfeeding, reminding mothers it’s not ‘one-size-fits-all.’

B&Q — Later Means Never

The third instalment of B&Q’s Build a Life campaign celebrated the power of taking action to create a unique space within your home. The campaign ran on TV, online, cinema, and VOD and included an influencer series called Changemakers, which featured real life home improvement stories.

Dove — Reverse Selfie

This year Dove launched Reverse Selfie — a campaign which looked to dismantle young women’s unrealistic beauty standards and boost their self esteem. By age thirteen, 80 per cent of women distort the way they look online. So Dove decided to reverse the steps of a girl posting an edited photo of herself on social media.

Weetabix — Weetabix and Heinz Beanz

Weetabix sparked outrage (and some hilarious responses) when it suggested that their cereal could be served with baked beans. Say what you will about this food pairing, but the stunt had a response from over 140 organisations and got people talking.

Axe — The New Axe Effect

The New Axe Effect brought Axe’s tagline back, in a 60-second spot by Interpublic’s The Martin Agency. It showed a more open-minded approach to masculinity — and represented a significant messaging shift for Axe, a brand that’s been criticised over the years for sticking with outdated stereotypes.

Stonewall — Proud Mistletoe

Following the rise of homophobic hate crime (London is up 30% in a 10-year high) LGBTQ+ rights organisation Stonewall — working with Ogilvy and Gay Times — invited the queer community to ‘kiss goodbye to hate’ under rainbow coloured mistletoe; to the track ‘Merry Christmas. I don’t want to fight tonight‘, by Joey Ramone.

Marcus Rashford and Tom Kerridge — #FullTimeMeals

After the success of his #EndChildFoodPoverty campaign, Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford MBE joined forces with Michelin-Starred chef Tom Kerridge, in a campaign to help children and families gain the skills and confidence to enjoy great meals at home, whatever their culinary skills or budget.