6 Exciting Digital Marketing Campaigns To Remember From 2014

Tidy Cats, Bud­weis­er, Mer­cedes among the brands that made an impact on con­sumers.

Danny Goodwin By Danny Goodwin from Momentology. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Focused on brand aware­ness, the most excit­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns of 2014 had a few things in com­mon: they spanned chan­nels and pro­vid­ed mul­ti­ple lay­ers of enter­tain­ment, and engage­ment for the con­sumer.


The dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns that made an impact in 2014 stayed with view­ers across chan­nels. View­ing and engage­ment went both ways, as tra­di­tion­al TV and PR drove peo­ple to view online video, sub­mit fan con­tri­bu­tions, and opt in for con­tin­ued con­nec­tion with brands – and vice ver­sa.

Tidy Cats Pounces On A Trend With Parody Kitten Week

Let’s face it: your brand has an advan­tage on the Inter­net if your prod­uct is in any way relat­ed to the web’s favorite top­ic: kit­tens. Puri­na Tidy Cats cat lit­ter, with a his­to­ry of pro­duc­ing par­o­dy ads, decid­ed that Dis­cov­ery Channel’s “Shark Week,” a week of pro­gram­ming cen­tered on the world’s most fero­cious crea­ture, could use a com­ple­men­tary com­pan­ion cel­e­bra­tion of the world’s most cud­dly.

From August 10 to 17 (the same time as Shark Week aired on TV), Tidy Cats post­ed a series of “Shark Week”-style videos to YouTube. “Kit­ten Week” shared close encounter sto­ries dubbed “True Tails.” Hash­tag #Kit­ten­Week uni­fied the YouTube series with the brand’s Twit­ter and Face­book activ­i­ty, which includ­ed fan-sub­mit­ted meme-style pho­tos.

Dur­ing the week­long dig­i­tal cam­paign pro­duced by Resource/Ammirati, Tidy Cat grew its YouTube sub­scriber base 115 per­cent with more than 1.5 mil­lion total video views across social. More than 7,400 peo­ple joined the fun on Twit­ter, gain­ing the #Kit­ten­Week hash­tag 44 mil­lion impres­sions. Tidy Cat’s Twit­ter fol­low­ers grew 11 per­cent dur­ing the brief cam­paign, and Face­book reach extend­ed to 8 mil­lion users and 15,000 video shares.

Budweiser Puppy Love Is Super Bowl’s Top Ad, Thanks To A Marriage Of Traditional & Digital

The Super Bowl is the U.S.‘s biggest annu­al ad spec­ta­cle, and adver­tis­ers have learned that TV ads must call users to inter­act with the cam­paign online or leave oppor­tu­ni­ty for engage­ment on the table. Earn­ing the title of a top Super Bowl ad of 2014 was Bud­weis­er for its Pup­py Love ad by agency Anom­aly.

Accord­ing to analy­sis by Vis­i­ble Mea­sures, Pup­py Love was the most shared of all Super Bowl cam­paigns, with 71,240 tweets and 1,343,726 Face­book shares, likes, com­ments and clicks – more than triple the Face­book and Twit­ter inter­ac­tions of the next clos­est cam­paign. Bud­weis­er had part­nered with Google’s Brand­Lab for infor­ma­tion about con­sumer behav­ior and trends around the big game.

The dig­i­tal strat­e­gy exe­cut­ed in light of these insights involved releas­ing the Pup­py Love ad on YouTube six days before its TV debut. At the time of this writ­ing, Pup­py Love has been viewed more than 54 mil­lion times on YouTube.

Kel­ly Wrather, senior man­ag­er of con­tent mar­ket­ing at Ken­shoo, said it isn’t sur­pris­ing Budweiser’s 2014 Super Bowl spot, Pup­py Love, came out on top.

The com­mer­cial works because it con­nects on an emo­tion­al lev­el with con­sumers. It’s not just about a cute pup­py, but the idea of the unbreak­able bonds of friend­ship — no mat­ter how uncon­ven­tion­al the pair­ing may be,” Wrather said.

That’s fur­ther rein­forced with its clever hash­tag #best­buds,” she said. “From a cre­ative stand­point, Pup­py Love tips it hat to its pre­de­ces­sor, the 2013 Bud­weis­er Super Bowl com­mer­cial about a train­er who just can’t seem to shake his old pal, the Clydes­dale. With these sto­ries, Bud­weis­er proves that Super Bowl ads don’t have to be off-the-wall fun­ny to res­onate and be mem­o­rable.”

Aaron Kahlow, CEO and founder of Online Mar­ket­ing Insti­tute, agrees this was one to remem­ber. “Mas­sive kudos to Bud­weis­er in real­ly map­ping a con­tent mar­ket­ing cal­en­dar to YouTube, to social and to the TV spot itself,” Kahlow said. “It’s just smart. More­over, they had the met­rics on all fronts ready to rock Day One. These guys went in, eyes wide open, and real­ly learned with Google how to cre­ate a great cam­paign, ver­sus just toss­ing out anoth­er idea and hop­ing it works.”

Nutella Gets Sweet On Social Media & Influencer Marketing

Hazel­nut choco­late spread Nutel­la turned 50 last May. The brand proved it isn’t too old to learn new tricks about con­tent mar­ket­ing and influ­encer out­reach, engag­ing in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns span­ning Face­book, Twit­ter, Pin­ter­est, Insta­gram, and Tum­blr.

In the months lead­ing up to the company’s anniver­sary, Nutel­la teamed up with agency Sapi­ent­Ni­tro, which in sev­en months, cre­at­ed more than 500 pieces of con­tent aimed at inspir­ing new ways to enjoy the sweet spread.

Addi­tion­al­ly, an influ­encer pro­gram was acti­vat­ed by col­lect­ing fans’ sto­ries about Nutel­la, pulling in 15,000 sto­ries in two days. Celebri­ties, includ­ing William Shat­ner, were tapped to share their Nutel­la sto­ries, ampli­fy­ing the cam­paign.

In SapientNitro’s sub­mis­sion of the mul­ti-plat­form cam­paign to the 2014 Shorty Awards, the agency reports 15.6 per­cent more online con­ver­sa­tions and total engage­ment that has more than dou­bled. Fans and fol­low­ers have increased by a whop­ping 518 per­cent.

Marriott Invites Guests To Transform The Future of Travel

In 2013, Mar­riott and Grey NY launched a cam­paign that invit­ed trav­el­ers to sub­mit ideas that would improve the trav­el expe­ri­ence. They launched a ded­i­cat­ed web­site, TravelBrilliantly.com, where trav­el­ers sub­mit­ted inno­v­a­tive ideas that they felt would improve their time away from home, and in Sep­tem­ber 2014, Mar­riott brought the first of those ideas to life in a Chica­go loca­tion: the Healthy Vend­ing Machine.

TravelBrilliantly.com saw 2 mil­lion vis­its in its first 8 months. To date, the site has col­lect­ed more than 20,000 idea votes.

Every vot­er who con­nect­ed with Mar­riott social­ly or pro­vid­ed an email address is now part of the brand’s email and social out­reach. The dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns includ­ed an inte­grat­ed media mix of paid, social and owned chan­nels and influ­encer col­lab­o­ra­tion.

Cov­er­age on pub­li­ca­tions includ­ing Wired, Fast Com­pa­ny and Mash­able made for a com­bined 160 mil­lion PR impres­sions, and more than 10,000 online engage­ments were report­ed by Grey NY to the Shorty Awards.

TD Canada Trust ATMs Hand Out Heart-Warming Gifts

Banks don’t have the best rep­u­ta­tion for being empa­thet­ic enti­ties, but TD Cana­da Trust balked at that stereo­type in a major way when they turned their ATMs into “auto­mat­ed thank­ing machines.”

On July 25, the bank took cus­tomer appre­ci­a­tion to the extreme, start­ing a col­lege fund for a customer’s two chil­dren, plus send­ing the fam­i­ly to Dis­ney­land, and giv­ing plane tick­ets to woman so she can vis­it her daugh­ter with can­cer in Trinidad.

These gen­er­ous acts were com­pound­ed when the bank gave $20 to every cus­tomer in a branch, on the phone or online bank­ing at 2 p.m. – a total of 30,000 cus­tomers who would excit­ed­ly spread the word about their bank.

The orig­i­nal video has more than 18 mil­lion views. TD Cana­da hasn’t shared how many times its hash­tag #TDThanksY­ou was used, or its mea­sured lift in brand sen­ti­ment, but pub­li­ciz­ing num­bers like this would prob­a­bly go against the whole spir­it of a cam­paign whose point was to make peo­ple feel good.

Mercedes Creates Brand Awareness With Multichannel Ad Assault

When lux­u­ry car mak­er Mer­cedes launched a new auto­mo­bile into its line this past Sep­tem­ber, it exe­cut­ed a mul­ti-chan­nel mar­ket­ing cam­paign, with all the assets you’d expect of a major glob­al brand, from TV com­mer­cials to bill­boards.

Online, the heart of the dig­i­tal cam­paign was “The For­got­ten Road Trip,” a sto­ry­telling web­site that requires vis­i­tors to scroll, view ani­ma­tions, watch videos, and inter­act with the site to piece togeth­er a mys­tery.

A study in Novem­ber mea­sured brand aware­ness of four lux­u­ry automak­ers, and found that con­sumers that saw Mer­cedes ads were more like­ly to remem­ber and inter­act with the car mak­er in the future when com­pared to Lexus, BMW and Audi.

High­lights from the research include: 30 per­cent of those who watched a Mer­cedes ad report­ed a lift in brand impres­sions, com­pared to the 26 per­cent indus­try aver­age. And 43 per­cent of con­sumers who recalled Mer­cedes took an addi­tion­al action, while the same was only true for 38 per­cent of con­sumers who saw an ad from anoth­er lux­u­ry auto brand in the study.

Mike Gre­han, CMO and man­ag­ing direc­tor at Acronym Media, says the Mer­cedes cam­paign got his atten­tion.

For a com­pa­ny not­ed for cre­at­ing the world’s first auto­mo­bile back in 1886, it’s fair to say they’ve had enough time to learn how to mar­ket one. As an instant­ly rec­og­niz­able, world-class brand, you’d think that they would have estab­lished them­selves enough glob­al­ly to not have to try so hard any­more,” Gre­han said. “But the fact is, much as the brand retains its lux­u­ry sta­tus and estab­lished pres­ence in the auto­mo­bile indus­try, the way that con­sumers research and buy cars, as well as the way they con­sume media, has changed dra­mat­i­cal­ly.”

Gre­han not­ed that the chal­lenge that Mer­cedes has is not to posi­tion or repo­si­tion itself, rather to be in the right place at the right time, “no mat­ter how cliché that sounds these days.”

And, no mat­ter “how cool you think you are in a dig­i­tal age,” Gre­han said, this cam­paign shows that “the mes­sage and the medi­um still mat­ter.” He added that “it’s good news for Mer­cedes to know that they won’t be drop­ping the 30-sec­ond spot any time soon. Although they have test­ed and exper­i­ment­ed in all chan­nels, with some good suc­cess in social media, it’s still the lux­u­ry, lifestyle broad­cast ad that has the most emo­tion­al appeal.”

He con­cludes that this cam­paign proves “you still can’t beat big, glossy cre­ativ­i­ty when it comes to a lux­u­ry brand.”


What oth­er dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns will you remem­ber from 2014? Tell us in the com­ments.

Danny Goodwin

Written by Danny Goodwin

Managing Editor, Momentology

Danny Goodwin is the former Managing Editor of Momentology. Previously, he was the editor of Search Engine Watch, where he was in charge of editing, content strategy, and writing about search industry news.

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