While 2021 might not have been the 21st century’s finest year (though a considerable improvement on the low bar that was 2020), it was certainly part of a golden age in digital marketing as the incline of ecommerce showed no signs of slowly. And to capitalise, some of the world’s best-known brands crafted captivating campaigns that set the trend for the digital sphere.
We live in an internet savvy age, and increasingly companies are looking to social media to build relationships with customers and increase audience engagement.
2021 has given us some real digital gems that can teach us all a thing or two about marketing strategies. Here are just five of our favourites from this year.
1. AIRBNB – MADE POSSIBLE BY HOSTS
After previously cutting their marketing budget due to the Coronavirus pandemic, in February, Airbnb launched their ‘Made Possible by Hosts’ campaign.
The campaign utilises photographs taken by hosts and guests in order to promote the unique experience offered when booking a stay with Airbnb, and the wonderful memories than can be created with our loved ones whilst on holiday.
Shown to audiences worldwide, it was the companies first global campaign in five years, and sought to repair the relationship that was damaged with many hosts due to Airbnb’s handling of the refund process the previous year.
2. KICK IT OUT – SOCIAL MEDIA BOYCOTT
In a campaign to #stoponlineabuse, football inclusion and equality organisation Kick It Out took the ‘less is more’ approach to social media by starting a four-day boycott.
The charity encouraged sports teams and media outlets to abstain from posting content for four days in April in order to address concerns over the racial abuse faced by players.
Their efforts were joined by the wider sporting community, including Sky Sports and Guardian Sport, alongside the Premier League, Football Clubs, and individual players. Kick It Out have demonstrated that sometimes the absence of content says just as much – if not more – than content itself.
3. REDDIT – SUPER BOWL ADVERT
Sticking with the less is more approach, this year Reddit proved that sometimes the shortest of adverts can be the most effective.
The advert begins as any car commercial would, only to be interrupted by a ‘glitch’, cutting to a Reddit post informing the audience that the company used their whole marketing budget to purchase a five second ad slot – the Super Bowl is far too expensive for anything longer – and letting us all know that Reddit is the place where people can come together around an idea and accomplish anything, before cutting back to the ‘traditional’ advert.
Of course, the message was on the screen for such a short time that audiences flocked to the internet to find out what just happened. This genius move got Reddit’s message out to 96 million people in the most Reddit way possible.
4. ALDI – #FREECUTHBERT
If you don’t know about #FreeCuthbert then it’s safe to assume that you’ve been living under a rock.
Last year supermarket chain Aldi took on British institution Marks & Spencer in a legal battle that seemed to be the trial of the century.
And Britons everywhere were on the edge of their seats when the latter decided to take legal action over the Aldi’s Cuthbert the Caterpillar, deeming it to hold too close a resemblance to their own Colin the Caterpillar.
Yes, it is exactly as stupid as it sounds.
Aldi fought back hard however, and endeared us all to them with the #FreeCuthbert social media campaign, posting gems such as “Marks & Snitches more like. #FreeCuthbert”, “This is not just any court case, this is… #FreeCuthbert” and “@JudgeRinderTV How’s your diary looking? Asking for a friend. #FreeCuthbert”
We hope whoever was in charge of Aldi’s Twitter account got a pay rise, because the campaign was so successful that it managed to grow the company’s social media following by 30%!
5. WEETABIX AND HEINZ
Back in February, Weetabix teamed up with Heinz to deliver a shocking tweet: “Why should bread have all the fun, when there’s Weetabix? Serving up @HeinzUK Beanz on bix for breakfast with a twist. #ItHasToBeHeinz #HaveYouHadYourWeetabix”
The tweet, and accompanying photograph caused the intended outcry, generating a massive amount of likes and shares. But what really made this campaign pop, was the contribution of household names who rushed to respond.
Some of our favourites include the NHS: “That tweet should come with a health warning”, West Yorkshire Police: “Even though this is criminal, please don’t ring us to report it”, and Alpro: “Funny that, when we pitched soya beans on bix you stopped returning our calls. In Heinz-sight, we should’ve known something was up…”
Weetabix proved that sometimes a humorous tweet is all you need to boost engagement with your brand. Keeping things fun for your audience is mutually beneficial, you brighten their day, and they become more likely to engage with you… though we’re sure that no amount of humour would get someone to try the Weetabix and beans combination!