A fresh, innovative and forward-thinking digital marketing campaign, executed seamlessly, has the power to inspire, educate, entertain and attract audiences to a brand like nothing else can.
With an increasing number of emerging channels, touchpoints, insights and technologies available to today’s brands, there has never been more scope for innovative, impactful campaigns.
Here are 6 of the most memorable digital marketing campaigns of 2018...so far.
Read more: Check out the most influential digital marketing campaigns of 2017
1) Influential - Amazon
A recent influencer marketing study suggests that 70% of millennial consumers are driven by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions. Moreover, YouTube is the second most influential social media platform for influencing purchases.
Understanding that influencer marketing coupled with powerful video content and a creative concept has the potential to boost brand and product awareness significantly, Amazon plugged their cutting-edge Alexa-powered voice assistant, the Echo, with a piece of video content featuring a host of world-renowned celebrities from a host of different fields, from comedy to cooking.
Initially aired at the Superbowl, the ‘Alexa Has Lost Her Voice’ campaign was not only funny and incredibly creative, but it used influencers in a way that placed the benefits of its voice technology-driven product at the heart of the production.
According to Amazon's Executive Creative Director: “We’re always trying to innovate on behalf of our customers and even though I think we’ve proved conclusively that nobody could ever replace Alexa, we hope that viewers have as much fun watching this, as we had making it.”
Result: Not only did the video campaign earn over 47 million views and go viral as a result of its ingenuity, but it cemented the value of influencer marketing done well.
2) Crowd engagement - Adidas
International athletic brand Adidas took a fresh and innovative approach to digital marketing this April when they utilized the 30,000 runners of the Boston Marathon to create personalized videos of its participants to promote its latest running apparel.
A seamless mix of professionally produced user-generated content and emerging technologies (in the form of race bibs equipped with high-tech tracker chips), this campaign returned a host of rich visual content that offered a real-life glimpse into the buzz of the event, the reward of the challenge and unique running metrics that showcase each participant's progress during their run.
Speaking to Marketing Dive on the campaign, McGarry Bowen (the agency behind the campaign) explained, "We are going to start seeing more of these kinds of ideas that promote the brands while creating real, tangible value for consumers. LG and Adidas are both excellent examples of doing meaningful things for large crowds of people or what I like to call 'thank you-worthy' experiences."
Result: This personal, emotive and immersive digital marketing campaign proved as innovative as it did head-turning, resulting in a collective 100,000 video views in the first two days following the race.
3) Awareness - Children With Cancer
Cancer, particularly in childhood, is an incredibly tough and heartbreaking subject, regardless of your beliefs, background of social standing.
To raise critical awareness and funding to facilitate the vital work it conducts on a daily basis, UK-based charity, Children With Cancer, recently launched a campaign focused on the message ‘Keeping Families Together’.
By providing invaluable insights via the campaign’s primary landing page, spreading awareness on social media and launching an incredibly powerful YouTube video plus TV ad, the organization has not only used the striking visual of ringing the end of treatment bell to capture the attention of its audience, but its positive message showcases the enormous value of its ongoing efforts.
Result: According to the Head of Communications at Children with Cancer UK, Mark Hooley: “This (campaign) is the start of a new beginning for the charity. and WPNC has worked with us closely to understand how to bring this new chapter to life, and also to appeal to hearts, minds, and hands to donate to our life-saving work.”
4) Offbeat - IHOP
As much as digital marketing campaigns revolve around data and strategy, sometimes a solid dose of offbeat creativity can translate to maximum publicity and success - and American pancake chain, IHOP are a prime example.
Recently, The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) announced an 'official name change' on Twitter, stating it would be rebranding itself as IHOb. Based on this sudden announcement and its mystery, the announcement picked up momentum almost instantly with swarms of people speculating as to what the ‘b’ was meant to stand for.
It turned out that that the ‘b’ stood for burgers and was also a clever way to focus on aesthetic of ‘flipping a pancake’ by flipping a letter upside down. IHOP kept its original name in a stunt that was launched to promote its new range of burgers - and while the campaign received mixed reactions - it’s clear to see that by thinking outside the box and injecting a little mystery into your promotional efforts, you can create a real buzz.
Result: As a result of this mass social media attention, IHOP saw a 6,477% in social media mentions in just one day, boosting brand awareness significantly. Moreover, the hashtags #IHOP and #IHOB more than 297 million impressions in the weeklong lead-up to its big reveal.
5) Immersive - Nike
To promote the launch of its cutting-edge new running shoes, Epic React, Nike developed a dazzling digital marketing campaign rich in content across a host of channels and touchpoints, including website, mobile, social media and video.
But perhaps the most striking element of the campaign is its immersive Reactland initiative that transports users into the heart of a virtual video game (complete with an Avatar of themselves) that allows them to experience the brand’s latest sole cushioning technology.
By using a seamless mix of social media engagement, a cutting-edge landing page that showcases the development of the technology, as well as its benefits, and immersive experiential marketing, Nike’s innovative approach to digital marketing offers a glimpse of what we can expect from brands the rest of this year, and beyond.
Result: The brand not long ago announced a share value increase of 7%, putting it back in direct competition with Adidas in the sneaker market, and its innovations like its Reactland campaign that help to drive this success.
6) Controversy - Lunya
Unlike the other campaigns in this lineup, this promotional effort was impactful for all of the wrong reasons - and as much as it’s important to celebrate the most triumphant of innovations, it’s also vital to learn from well-documented mistakes.
In a bid to build brand awareness, underwear company Lunya attempted to piggyback on the colossal popularity of the hit Hulu drama, The Handmaid’s Tale by naming the latest red garment in its range, Offred - a play on words inspired by the show’s main protagonist.
Due to the show’s serious themes, based largely on the oppression and slavery of women, despite the brand using social media taglines such as ‘join the resistance’ referring to the patriarchal society present in The Handmaid’s Tale, the product itself was completely wrong for the campaign - and for obvious reasons.
While being controversial and touching on difficult themes can serve to empower a digital marketing campaign and the people that engage with it, unless your product, service or message is in-line with the theme in question, as well as your brand values, you should avoid this approach at all costs.
Result: In this particular case, certain metrics are irrelevant. The direct result of this misplaced campaign came in the form of a strong social media backlash and droves of negative press - two elements of any digital marketing campaign that you should avoid of all costs.
While these campaigns are all very different, the common thread between them is the use of digital channels and strategies to raise brand awareness and stand out from the competition in their industry.
By being authentic, focusing on creativity, understanding the core audience and harnessing emerging technologies these campaigns show how brands can engage, attract and inspire consumers in a way that drives tangible long-term success.