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2020’s Most Successful Marketing Campaigns


As 2020 comes to a close, it’s important to reflect on how this year has changed and impacted, arguably permanently, the media and marketing industry. From COVID-19 to a rise in social justice awareness and the presidential election, brands and marketers were faced with challenges and obstacles they needed to work with in order to stay afloat. Brands had to learn to navigate new territory, including new ways to reach the public, thoughtfully and effectively.

The WHO has partnered with social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to flag or even ban posts that promote rhetoric in opposition to or even against the life-saving covid-19 vaccine. The campaign against misinformation has continued to grow, as the pandemic has drawn significant attention to the spread of misinformation in the way that different demographics perceive the coronavirus, based on several factors from the type of media they consume to the region they reside in. The CDC, WHO, as well as numerous celebrities and influencers have aimed to use their platforms to combat this issue in order to spread factual and useful information regarding covid-19, mask wearing, and now, the coronavirus vaccine. Now that social media platforms are adapting and assisting in the fight against misinformation, this task is more straightforward and manageable.

Wisconsin Democrats brought together the cast of ‘The Princess Bride’ for the first time in thirty years. This reunion was all in support of the Democratic Party in Wisconsin during the presidential election and according to JS Online, the virtual event brought in $4.25 million for the organization. This was a great representation of how organizations and brands can utilize the power of virtual events to raise money supporting different causes. Because this tactic was so successful, the Wisconsin Democrats also hosted a similar event, a ‘Rocky Horror Show’ live stream where multiple celebrity guests were featured. It’s evident that in a time where human connection is seemingly scarce, virtual alternatives are effective and drive genuine engagement.

Gillette’s #MeToo inspired advertisement takes part in the spark that led to 2020 being a year of massive social justice movements. Razor-making giant, whose typical ads highlight masculinity, embraced more progressive ideologies by insinuating many men have participated in harassing and bullying others, followed by a call to action to step up and instead do what’s right. Creating an ad with a narrative inspired by the #MeToo movement was bold in that it was the direction society was moving; however, many had not yet caught up. The campaign was both controversial and applauded, achieving more than 14 million views, proving that adapting to the current social climate is key in finding marketing success.

Oreo, the famous cookie company, partnered with agencies 360i and The Community to create a marketing campaign dubbed the Doomsday Vault, a real-life vault located in Norway, purposed to comically protect the prized Oreo recipe. Inspired by “doomsday” seed vaults, Oreo played into the fact that this year has felt like, and in many ways was, a global catastrophe. With Oreo’s proactive presence on Twitter, the conversation of how far the brand would actually go to keep their recipe secret was ongoing, allowing for excitement surrounding the campaign to build. According to Ad Week, Oreo’s senior director Justin Parnell said, “the brand had sent its agency partners an open brief in the fall to spread some playfulness and provide a little relief from all the worry and division in the world right now”. The brand reports the stunt drew nearly 100 million impressions across paid and organic social and PR, as well as acquiring 324,000 video views and 178,000 engagements. Additionally, they received more than 415 media placements in outlets including Hypebeast, Food & Wine and CNet. Following all of the data, Oreo said the content outperformed CPG benchmarks by 59%.

Facebook, a leader in social networking, capitalized on the profound value of Super Bowl exposure, with the platform’s first and only superbowl ad since its inception in 2004. Through comedic celebrity appearances of Chris Rock and Sylvester Stallone and a rumored $10 million spend, the purpose of this advertisement was to broaden the way the public currently views and even uses the platform by further explaining the social network’s capabilities. Super Bowl advertising has grown immensely over the years and has become one of the annual event’s most popular aspects. This advertising opportunity not only provides brands with general exposure, but it also presents a chance to display a brand’s creativity, innovation, and even what they stand for to diverse audiences they would not otherwise reach.

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