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Our favorite campaigns from 2017
January 2, 2018 | Brianna Aust

There are few things we love more than a fantastic marketing campaign, and 2017 brought some genius creations from brands we know and love.  We asked a few of our Arsonists to tell us their favorites, and they didn’t disappoint…

Caroline’s fav

General Electric | Molly the Inventor

Nine out of 10 people will skip or fast forward through an ad if they have the chance. As a result, one of the things we need to ask ourselves as marketers is what keeps us from pressing that “skip ad” button? It’s simple…a good story. That’s exactly what GE accomplished with Molly. Molly is the girl who never stops inventing and is the star of GE’s 2017 inspirational ad. Bravo, GE. Bravo.

Erik’s fav

Budweiser | Dilly Dilly

You know it and you love it. If you don’t love it, you still probably know it. DILLY DILLY.

Budweiser continues to produce campaigns that become cultural phenomenon. From the Bud Frogs, to the Whazzup campaigns and now Dilly Dilly, these campaigns have all now become iconically linked to fun. By not taking themselves so seriously, Budwesier has allowed us, the drinkers, to become part of the fun. How do you know when it works? Look around and see how quickly consumers make it part of their life. My daughter’s friend carved “Dilly Dilly” into her Halloween pumpkin, the slogan already appears on handmade shirts and graffiti and a small brewer just created a new ale and called it Dilly Dilly. Budweiser went all out with their response. Instead of sending the typical cease-and-desist letter to the brewer it connected its message to the campaign and had a town crier deliver a handwritten scroll letter to the brewer – how fun and how perfectly on brand.

These campaigns don’t just communicate a brand name, they open the door for consumers to emotionally connect at a much deeper level. If you question the impact, go out to a bar tonight, raise a glass, say “Dilly Dilly” and see what happens…

Kyle’s fav

Sherwin-Williams | Color Chips

Understanding what your audience cares about is what creates a successful marketing campaign. Sherwin-Williams pulled out a “Color Chips” campaign in 2017 that proves just that.

“We know people aren’t inspired by paint itself. What people really care about is the transformation a coat of paint can provide,” said Jonathan Cude, chief creative officer at McKinney, which developed the spot with Buck Studios. “Our worlds of color chips are about inspiring you with the possibilities for your home.”

According to AdWeek, the captivating African jungle :30 second TV commercial, took nearly 30,000 paint chips, along with 24 production artists working a total of 5,600 hours to create.

It has everything a great campaign needs to be successful: creativity, emotion, storytelling, strong connection to the consumer and the product, works in print, video, online; is highly memorable and has fantastic production quality. Great job McKinney and Buck Studios!

Casey’s fav

Heineken | Worlds Apart Experiment | #OpenYourWorld

Your brand and politics (GASP). Your brand, politics and alcohol (DOUBLE GASP). Is it possible to create a smart, political campaign that’s not cringeworthy? Heineken proved to us in 2017 that it is.

As a part of its “Worlds Apart” campaign, Heineken brought together people with opposing political views (feminism, climate change and transgender ideology). The pairs were engaged in team-building activities prior to the unveiling of their differences. Once revealed, the pair was asked “Would you like to share a Heineken and discuss these issues or leave?” Everyone stayed.

The outcome? An effective political commercial that actually sparked conversation and in turn, brand awareness.

Inga’s fav

The Bucket List Family

After Snapchat acquired his tech start-up in 2013, tech entrepreneur Garrett Gee, his wife Jessica and their two kids decided to become a full-time traveling family. They’re chronicling their adventures as the “Bucket List Family” on social media and I’ve been following them for a few years. Their following grew tremendously in 2017 and the Bucket List Family has become a living, moving, dream-marketing machine. A strong base of followers equals great social exposure and since the competition for attention between brands is so intense these days, offers from travel and hospitality brands started flying in. They’ve partnered with hotels, resorts, car brands etc. One big example – a sponsorship with Disney called “30 Stays in 30 Days.”

The family has done an admirable job walking the tightrope of incorporating sponsored content without losing the authenticity and essence of what attracted people to them in the first place. It’s not easy, but they’ve been able to find that magic middle ground. Well done!

James’ Fav

KFC | Tender Wings of Desire

Something really weird happened on Mother’s Day in 2017 – weird, yet wildly intriguing – KFC dropped a romance novel featuring the one and only Colonel Sanders.

The book, called Tender Wings of Desire (no, I’m not kidding), was made part of the restaurants $20 Fill-Up meal this Mother’s Day. Check out the promo video – somewhat disturbing. I didn’t find the novella all that compelling, and I think it’s fair to say that it was the most clichéd romance novel ever written. However, it’s worth noting that after I learned about it:

  1. I read it
  2. I talked to everyone I know about it
  3. I ate at KFC multiple times in the month of May, which is not normal

KFC decided on the campaign and they committed to it. Despite its possible failings, there is no doubt that this novella was intended as a romance novel first rather than being a commercial. And that’s why it drummed up the buzz and got people thinking about the brand a little differently than other modern campaigns. This put a human face back on the Colonel, who has become a caricature, and hopefully brought some customers the desire for tender wings in the process (yum!).

Josh’s Fav

Crappy car – Fantastic ad

This spoof ad to sell a used car shows the true power of advertising. The product is not new, it is not better, it’s not unique… in fact it is probably a car that most of us would not even consider due to its age and mileage. This is just an old car presented in a cool way that evokes emotion in people and makes them want it by utilizing high-production values and tongue-in-cheek humor with an appropriate message: “a car for people who have life figured out and just want to get somewhere.” The proof is in the results: a used car that was originally priced at $499 is now up to $150,000 after 114 eBay bids – now those are advertising results!

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