Well, it’s been quite the year. How does everyone feel it went? Good? Bad? Challenging? As an industry publication we found it interesting from a marketing point of view, and something of a mixed bag. Different approaches have been tried, from horror to humour to more long-form content, like entire songs created for adverts. It does feel like marketing is perhaps in an exciting a period of change. Maybe this is something we’ll quiz our network about in the new year, to get their thoughts. But for now, we hope you enjoy our list of the marketing moments, and we hope you’ve enjoyed the content we’ve been putting out as a publication.
See you in 2024.
Mike Piggott, Editor
Burger King — ‘The Call’ (by Dentsu Creative)
Burger King got director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon on board for Halloween, marking the launch of its seasonal products: Ghost Pepper Whopper and Ghost Pepper Chicken Fries. The film follows a woman who receives a creepy call. So far, so Scream. She tries to escape by driving away but is haunted by the food. The playful campaign quickly became a favourite among the MediaCat team, who appreciated the personalisation where you could send a spooky call to friends via TheCall.BK.com.
Apple — ‘2030 status, Mother Nature’ (in-house)
Apple figured out an inventive way to get all of their boring sustainability PR points across in an engaging fashion, with their Mother Nature campaign starring Octavia Spencer as Nature herself. The scene opens in a boardroom filled with Apple execs, (including real life CEO Tim Cook) as they present their sustainability report. Whether or not we actually believe in Apple’s environmental efforts is beside the point, we appreciated the creativity it takes to deliver a dry agenda in a humorous way.
Uber One — ‘Best Friends’ (by Mother London)
Uber One’s first ever campaign brought together Hollywood icon Robert De Niro and Sex Education star Asa Butterfield, in a quirky campaign film filled with awkward but loving moments. De Niro and Butterfield take Ubers across London and order Uber Eats at various points, bonding during the process. The multi-channel campaign ran across TV, BVOD, digital, OOH and cinema.
Yorkshire Tea — ‘Pack Yer Bags’ (by Lucky Generals)
Unashamedly weird and ridiculously catchy, Pack Yer Bags tapped into a fundamentally British phenomenon: the yearning for a decent cup of tea. The summer anthem was accompanied by a full-length music video, following the journey of ‘Skipton Alfie’ as he made his way through Ibiza. For this absolute banger, Lucky Generals partnered with Ninja Tune, the record label behind legends like Peggy Gou, Maribou State and Bicep.
Barbie (Mattel) — Pink Billboard (in-house)
Barbie’s marketing budget was reportedly $150m — more than the movie’s production budget, and it showed. Through hundreds of brand partnerships Mattel and Warner Bros. made sure the release date was permanently etched into everyone’s brains, and tied to Barbie’s iconic shade of pink. Arguably, the marketing team’s most bold efforts were their blank, pink billboards, with simply the release date. That’s confidence in your product (and your film).
Stanley — TikTok response to a burnt car
Drinkware brand Stanley experienced one of the top viral marketing moments of the year, thanks to the brand’s quick response. A customer posted a TikTok showing the aftermath of her car catching fire. Everything was burnt except her Stanley Quencher tumbler, which remained intact with ice still cold inside it. Two days later Stanley President Terence Reilly re-shared the user’s original video and offered to replace not only her tumbler, but also her car. So far, Stanley’s smart reaction has received almost 40 million views, 5.2 million likes and high praise on social media.
Norwich City Football Club — ‘Check in on those around you’ (in-house)
For World Mental Health Day, Norwich City F.C., in collaboration with the Samaritans, launched a heartbreaking suicide prevention campaign urging people to ‘check in on those around you.’ The video opens with two friends at a game. We see them in different scenarios — cheering, singing, and sulking after a loss — yet one friend remains less enthusiastic, and more melancholy. The film has an unexpected ending, followed by the message: ‘At times, it can be obvious when someone is struggling to cope. But sometimes, the signs are harder to spot. Check in on those around you.’
Liquid Death — ‘Your Grandma’s Energy Drink’ (in-house)
Canned water company Liquid Death isn’t afraid to push boundaries when it comes to advertising. In a recent interview with MediaCat Magazine the VP of Creative said: ‘We simply put entertainment over marketing.’ This ad for their iced tea range is no different. Featuring a group of grandmas partaking in activities such as skateboarding, MMA fighting, and heavy metal, the ad ends with: ‘Don’t be scared. It’s just Iced Tea.’ The ad was made in-house and, to date, has garnered almost 2 million views.
Walmart — ‘Mean Girls Black Friday’ (by a collective of Publicis Groupe agencies)
Walmart recruited the original Mean Girls cast (minus Rachel McAdams as Regina George) for this year’s Black Friday ad. In the ad we see the cast in the present day, living their lives, complete with careers and kids. The brand uses nostalgia in a smart way, with classic Mean Girls quotes done with a Walmart twist, such as: ‘This isn’t regular shopping, this is deal shopping,’ and ‘On Wednesdays, we shop deals.’
Make My Money Matter — ‘Oblivia Coalmine’ (by Lucky Generals)
Meet Oblivia Coalmine, the latex-clad oil executive, paid for by UK pensions. This film by Make My Money Matter starred Academy Award winner Olivia Colman, and aimed to encourage people to tell their pension schemes to stop putting their money into fossil fuel projects. Research from the campaign group found £88bn of UK pension savers’ money goes to these companies, which averages as £3000 per pension holder.
Featured image: Liquid Death / YouTube