Throughout the year there are literally thousands of campaigns vying for consumer attention. It’s getting harder and harder to breakthrough because there are simply more places and avenues that people can go to interact with a brand than ever before. Therefore it becomes even more important to focus on not just what the experience is and what the right channels are, but also the right cultural insights.
Here are some of the best experiences created by larger brands this year, and why they were successful.
1. Sprite: This summer in NYC, Sprite took over a bodega in Nolita and turned it into an expression of the brand’s mission with “Sprite Corner.” They painted it green, only sold Sprite and filled it with stuff they love, from chef classes with Eddie Huang to a rap concert by Vince Staples. Everything laddered up to their golden thread, to obey your thirst, by giving passers-by the chance to indulge in their passions and curiosity. To promote the pop up, Sprite focused their global social on this single brand activation, taking the content, sharing it out and partnering with influencers to hold workshops and extend their reach.
2. Magnum: Magnum certainly takes the award this year for bravest brand with their “Be True To Your Pleasure” campaign. In line with their strategy to shift ice cream from being a guilty pleasure to being an outward pleasure and form of self-expression, the brand aligned this message with people who identify themselves as gender-nonconforming. Magnum created videos that put a spotlight on a group of individuals, including the famed drag queen William Belli, who fearlessly embrace their personal pleasure and talk about their gender identity. The content was created in partnership with i-D Vice, an award winning director, during a year where personal courage was being championed from the likes of Caitlyn Jenner, this was timely, beautiful and a very real embodiment of the Magnum belief system.
3. Pedigree: Pedigree is without doubt the category leader when it comes to dog food, but when they shifted their focus from product-centric to the benefits of dog ownership, they created a vibrant emotional storytelling narrative and participation experience. This year saw Pedigree not only encouraging people to buy and adopt dogs, but also launching what can only be described as Nike+ for dogs, and it’s for this experience that I love them. Unlike us, dogs don’t usually struggle with lack of exercise or an unhealthy relationship with binge-eating while binge-watching Netflix, but their owners often over-feed them, leading to overweight pets at risk of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. In the UK this year, Pedigree launched “Pet Tracks,” an app that allows owners to create diet and exercise plans to keep their pets fit and healthy. By doing this, they not only created a means of building deeper loyalty and customer satisfaction, but they also created a new marketing channel to engage with consumers on a daily basis.
So, what can we learn from these three examples? Sprite showed us what it means to create a full brand immersion. This activity may have been physically accessible only to those in NYC but by focusing on the core brand they made it relevant to their global community and accessible via content and influencers. Magnum’s success was not only powerful due to their authentic brand story but also because of its timeliness.
They understood the underlying emerging cultural trends at play this year and they were prepared to take a proactive approach, play with tension and help shape culture. Pedigree is a blown out example of what we already know and practice every day in social – to go outside of product RTBs and make an emotional connection. But instead of this being something they only display in a few posts, they aligned their whole ecosystem around helping more people have better pet-owner relationships.
These are only a few of the many extraordinary examples we saw in CPG experiences in 2015. With such a great year to learn and grow from, I’m excited to see what 2016 will bring.