mar·ket·ing | \ ˈmär-kə-tiŋ
:the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service
Since the early 19th century, society has been exposed to a multitude of marketing and advertising techniques for one common purpose, to engage consumers in the buying and selling of particular products. As a marketing agency ourselves, we enjoy a memorable and creative marketing campaign just like the next person, so we decided to compile a list of our favorites throughout the years. Go ahead, scroll down, we know this list won’t disappoint.
De Beers – A Diamond is Forever
We want to take our hats off to one of the most successful marketing campaigns that this century has seen, the De Beers diamond marketing campaign. In 1938, De Beers hired marketing agency N. W. Ayer to assist them in creating a larger target market audience to increase the sales of diamonds which were, at the time, at an all time low. Not only did this marketing agency do just that, but they were able to craft an advertising campaign that not only connected with people on an emotional level but established a tradition that we see to this day. With this campaign, De Beers single handedly turned one of the least rare stones into one of the most expensive and wanted pieces of jewelry. I mean Diamonds are Forever right?
Aaah, you’ve finally been seated at your table at the restaurant you’ve been wanting to try for weeks, the ambiance is set, the flavours of the food can be smelt through the air, and the waitstaff approaches you to take your initial drink order, “Can I have a Coca Cola?” you ask. “Is Pepsi ok?” Skkkrrrtt. Not only has this question probably been asked millions of times, but Pepsi (being the marketing geniuses they are) decided to capitalize on this and set the record straight that it is more than ok. In this epic super bowl advertising campaign, PepsiCo features Steve Carrell and celebrities, Lil Jon and Cardi B, who have coined the phrase “Ok!” to push their marketing message that we need to toss the question and enjoy their product. This campaign was so successful that it made it in the Top 10 Super Bowl Ads viewed online, with a little over 28 million views. But this ad isn’t the only one Pepsi created, with the help of Cardi B again, they reprised it in a second campaign providing more shareable content for people to absorb the message that Pepsi is in fact more than okuurrrr.
Charlie Brooker definitely outdid himself with season 6 this year, instead of an interactive movie experience on Netflix he is actually letting us live through his Black Mirror universe…all jokes aside, Black Mirror has probably some of the most top notch marketing techniques that we have seen in years. From IRL easter eggs to social media marketing, the BM Team and Netflix have developed an outstanding strategy to promote the bleak darkness that is this streamed series. Though Charlie deters away from marketing you can’t help but enjoy the subtly placed marketing pieces that Netflix may have placed around your city. One of our favorites is the Bandersnatch pop-up store that mysteriously opened up across the UK featuring promotional material from the interactive Netflix movie, though the stores bore a sign that said “Be Right Back” (got love the reference to another episode) the public was only able to admire the store from the outside in. Their marketing campaign also consisted of working with certain websites that were willing to change their source code to target users that had ad blockers, donning a message that said, “Hello Ad Blocker User. You can not see the ad, but the ad can see you. What’s on the other side of your black mirror?”. Though this tactic was expensive, the creep factor that contained the tone of the show was definitely there. As of now Charlie has said that the world is bleak enough that he doesn’t want to produce a season 6, though we hope to see more Netflix marketing techniques for this show this year anyway.
In 2012, Youtube was bestowed with a marketing campaign video that launched a business into viral success bringing in 12,000 consumers in 2 days with it’s satirical and comical approach. Dollar Shave Club, a month to month grooming subscription service, won the money of its viewers when they subtly shaded other grooming products for being over-hyped and less efficient than their own in the video titled, Our Blades are F****** Great, which snowballed them into creating just as enjoyable video content from there on out. Though what makes DSC marketing so beastly is that their marketing efforts don’t end once you purchase the subscription. You are greeted with a well designed welcome email welcoming you into their community, sent a badass branded box with clever notes, product, and the monthly lifestyle newsletter with quotes, spotlights, club news and more. Why has this product outdone themselves to connect with their community? Because Johnny Earle, or otherwise known as Johnny Cupcakes, explained, “these little experiences make people happy. They give them something to talk about…”.
We know you’ve done it, viciously searching the convenience store cooler for the bottle of Coca Cola that had your name on it, there’s no shame! We’ve done it too. I mean you didn’t even need the soda but how cool is it that this product has your name on it? That was the company’s intended purpose when it launched their 2011 award winning Share a Coke campaign in Australia, where an agency pitched them the idea that they needed a more personal approach to connect with their audience. Thus for the first time in 125 years, Coca Cola printed a new label with 150 names on it which led to 250 million bottles and cans to fly off the shelves in a nation that is home to 23 million people. This concept was so well received that it spread to multiple nations that put their own personal spin on the project all the while keeping the mantra of “Share a Coke with (insert name here)”. It was the perfect campaign, because not only were people across the globe able to connect with the grass root marketing by having their names in commercials, on billboards and even their nicknames on the bottle, but Coca Cola was able to obtain free social media marketing through the efforts of influencers and their consumers posting and tagging their personalized product. The campaign has grown from 150 names to 2500, included the ability to share a song, and turned the personalized label into a shareable sticker. Which begs the question, will you share a coke with Beast?
Have you seen Heather Donahue, Joshua Leaonard, Michael Williams? They were last seen in Black Hills Forest near Burkittsville. This is the messaging the public saw in 1999 when the Blair Witch Project Team launched their marketing campaign that consisted of passing out missing person leaflets, printing fake news stories about the “student filmmakers” in small local papers, and producing photos of “police reports”. Though their excellent word of mouth marketing isn’t what makes this campaign so beast, it’s the fact that all their collateral had a very important call to action, driving people to their website. The Blair Witch Project is considered to be the first widely released film primarily marketed by the Internet, virally getting the public to beg the questions of “Is this real? Or fake?”, “Are those student’s really dead?”. The BWP team didn’t just throw up a landing page either, they added content over time publishing more information on this urban legend, using the “found” footage they had from filming to keep their audience engaged, and more. These guys were geniuses, because not only did they receive a little over 20 million hits on their website before the movie released, they were America’s tenth top grossing film in 1999. The Blair Witch Project successfully went viral before we even understood what going viral meant and for that, we tip our hats to them.
Mastercard – That’s Priceless There’s some things money can’t buy.
Breakfast tacos for the marketing meeting? $3.67, coffee for the entire marketing team? $25.19, developing the perfect rebranding campaign? Priceless. Traveling back to 90’s again, Mastercard and it’s strategy team came to the realization that there were some things money couldn’t buy launching them into a two decade successful marketing campaign where the COO of McCann XBC, Joyce King Thomas, and her partner created the concept of a grocery list of items that led to those priceless moments. According to Ms. Thomas herself, this rebooted marketing campaign allowed for audiences to create their own contented memes even before the meme came to fruition on the internet, building a deeper connection to the brand and it’s consumers. I mean I can’t be the only millennial that created their own version of the priceless commercial, right?! After reaching 200 countries successfully, MasterCard and the McCann Erikson advertising agency realized the impact of this campaign and has allowed it to evolve throughout the years, never allowing it to become stagnant or stale. I mean, that is definitely a marketing strategy that money cannot buy.
You swipe left, left again, right, left, and WAIT what?! Is that Deadpool on your dating app? The creatives behind the rule bending movie marketing campaign said yes. Deadpool wasn’t just a fourth wall breaking anit-hero movie, it was a box office hit that can be contributed to it’s fourth wall breaking promotional campaign where it took all traditional and digital channels by a storm. In a movie realm of blockbuster superhero franchises, the Deadpool marketing campaign needed a strategy that would set it apart and stay top of mind of their audience without being lost to it’s cinema competitors like The Avengers. What strategy was that? Promote as if Deadpool was the Creative Director himself. From false billboards promoting the movie as a rom-com, to the misfit hero “taking out” Mario Lopez during an interview with Ryan Reynolds on Extra, the Fox marketing team and the actor blew our minds with their capacity to reach the public in a tactful but crude way using the characters tone of voice. One of the most engaged components was the YouTube videos – on average the ratio of people who tap that thumbs up button is .02 to .06, Deadpools ratio came in at a whooping 1.04. Just those numbers alone should show you why Deadpool kicked ass on their marketing efforts, though the ratios aren’t the only thing that sold us, the content was top tier. For a campaign that may have done everything traditionally wrong, they did everything right.