The 10 Most Memorable Marketing Campaigns of 2015 & Why They Were Special

Momen­tol­ogy takes a look at the most mem­o­rable cam­paigns of 2015, and why they were so impact­ful amongst con­sumers.

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

In today’s media sat­u­rat­ed land­scape, the abil­i­ty to pro­duce cam­paigns that are mem­o­rable is a defin­ing qual­i­ty for brands. Mem­o­rable cam­paigns have endur­ing reach, and pro­mote a sense of val­ues that fuel sus­tained brand loy­al­ty and aware­ness. So, just as brands and mar­keters are ready­ing up their Christ­mas and hol­i­day mar­ket­ing cam­paigns, which are a dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish alto­geth­er, Inked takes a look at the most mem­o­rable cam­paigns of 2015, and why they were so impact­ful amongst con­sumers.

From the out­set, 2015 promised to be a diverse and media-rich mar­ket­ing year. Key mar­ket­ing chan­nels and dis­ci­plines were iden­ti­fied as a base to be man­aged and built upon — influ­encer mar­ket­ing for exam­ple, but also email and big data imple­men­ta­tion were marked out for renewed focus, as well as met­rics such as cus­tomer life­time val­ue.

While the mar­ket­ing year is far from over (the Christ­mas and hol­i­day mar­ket­ing cam­paigns of the next few months will like­ly deserve cov­er­age of their own) so we’ve col­lect­ed some of the years most mem­o­rable cam­paigns – with mem­o­ra­bil­i­ty in this respect loose­ly defined by fac­tors such as longevi­ty, impact, and suc­cess.

The Most Memorable Campaigns of 2015

1. Always #LikeAGirl — Unstoppable

Always’ orig­i­nal #LikeA­Girl cam­paign first rolled out in July 2014, so it isn’t strict­ly a cam­paign from 2015. How­ev­er on the strength of the orig­i­nal con­tents run­away suc­cess, the brand rehashed the #LikeA­Girl cam­paign with “Unstop­pable”, which reju­ve­nat­ed the con­cept in July of this year.

With 30 mil­lion+ views at the time of writ­ing, Unstop­pable shows that the poten­cy of a social advo­ca­cy cam­paign such as #LikeA­Girl can hold endur­ing appeal. There is a tremen­dous matu­ri­ty for a brand to align with key social caus­es of today and to do so with con­tent which can be ampli­fied so well.

Why it was mem­o­rable: With #LikeA­Girl, Always have suc­cinct­ly posi­tioned their brand around a cause and social advo­ca­cy mes­sage that suits them per­fect­ly, ignit­ing audi­ences across plat­forms and social media chan­nels. It shows how a great cam­paign with strong dig­i­tal pen­e­tra­tion can remain rel­e­vant for months and even years.

2. Vanity Fair’s Caitlyn Jenner Cover


LGBT issues were one of the break­through top­ics of 2015, and Jen­ner’s Van­i­ty Fair cov­er encap­su­lat­ed a water­shed moment. As report­ed by Lisa Lacy, “accord­ing to Bob Witeck, pres­i­dent of PR and mar­ket­ing firm Witeck Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, the trans­gen­der pop­u­la­tion has always been a chal­lenge in main­stream media in part because there are so few exam­ples.”

Mar­keters have a respon­si­bil­i­ty pro­vide a fair rep­re­sen­ta­tion of soci­ety as they cre­ate main­stream media, eth­i­cal­ly, but also in order not to alien­ate niche audi­ences. And whilst not strict­ly a cam­paign, Cait­lyn Jen­ner’s cov­er shoot rep­re­sents a move towards open con­ver­sa­tion about LGBT issues from brands and pub­lish­ers alike in the wake of June’s Supreme Court rul­ing.

Why it was mem­o­rable: With brands includ­ing JELL‑O, Jet­Blue, Ben & Jer­ry’s, Chee­rios, Tiffany, and Wells Far­go, pro­duc­ing LGBT themed con­tent, 2015 has been a year in which brands have endeav­ored to have a voice on top­i­cal issues and debate, and to a large extent, have suc­ceed­ed

3. GoPro — Digda the Skateboarding Cat

The incred­i­ble suc­cess of GoPro’s mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy has been cov­ered before (and again here), so we won’t dwell on this too long.

Yes, this is a skate­board­ing cat… but it’s also a gen­uine­ly authen­tic piece of con­tent that orig­i­nat­ed organ­i­cal­ly via the com­mu­ni­ty of GoPro users all over the world – a far cry from any big-bud­get agency brief and ad cam­paign.

How­ev­er, what makes GoPro so deserv­ing of yet anoth­er men­tion here is the fact that their mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy utilis­es user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent so per­fect­ly, and that at any moment, any one of these videos can begin to go viral on a major video shar­ing plat­form.

This one debuted just last week and is already being wide­ly viewed:

In encour­ag­ing and enabling a com­mu­ni­ty of users and advo­cates to share their own incred­i­ble con­tent, GoPro have sim­ply bro­ken the mould. They com­mand a piece of the online video mar­ket that in all like­li­hood can con­tin­ue to win views and impres­sions, indef­i­nite­ly. And with 2015 already a great year for the brand, there’s no rea­son why 2016 can’t be even bet­ter.

Why it was mem­o­rable: Authen­tic, engag­ing, often down­right impres­sive. Con­sum­ing GoPro’s con­tent is wide­ly shared and report­ed on, and is fast becom­ing a nat­ur­al part of the lives of all con­sumers of dig­i­tal media.

4. Budweiser USA #BestBuds

Bud­weis­er’s #Best­Buds cam­paign, whose flag­ship video pre­miered at Super Bowl 2015 was the stand­out cam­paign from this year’s half-time spon­sors. Rank­ing at #1 with 1,907,288 shares on Face­book, Twit­ter, and blog the first 30 days after the game, the cam­paign proved that a lit­tle melo­dra­ma, and a cute pup­py can go a long, long way.

In fair­ness to Bud­weis­er, the ad did­n’t sole­ly rely on the “aww” fac­tor of a sin­gle ram­bunc­tious labrador pup­py. The oth­er star of the video was a hand­some Clydes­dale horse, a breed with who the Anheuser-Busch Brew­ing Com­pa­ny have a long estab­lished his­to­ry. The video also paint­ed an idyl­lic pic­ture of Amer­i­can coun­try­side which is con­sis­tent for the brand.

Why it was mem­o­rable: The stand­out cam­paign at this year’s Super Bowl, the cam­paign had cov­er­age from every pos­si­ble angle. Is a pup­py all it takes? Are we so eas­i­ly swayed by cute ani­mals? If the cam­paign had more longevi­ty, it would have been even high­er in our list.

5. Netflix — Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Narcos

Net­flix have used 2015 to build fur­ther on their brand, and are becom­ing one of the pre­mier tech­nol­o­gy brands of today. Like GoPro they have an advan­tage in that their core prod­uct revolves around the pro­vi­sion of great con­tent, and this direct­ly fuels their cam­paigns.

This year, the brand built upon exclu­sive and proven prop­er­ties, such as “Orange is the New Black”, and “House of Cards”, as well as new endeav­ors such as “Nar­cos”.

Net­flix’s mar­ket­ing propo­si­tion is essen­tial­ly based around teasers and trail­ers of their exclu­sive con­tent, and the (large­ly) dig­i­tal organ­i­cal­ly dri­ven press cov­er­age. How­ev­er, what real­ly makes their con­tent mem­o­rable is the way in which their com­pa­ny approach­es and bud­gets for pro­duc­tions.

Take Nar­cos as an exam­ple, just as it was announced in 2013 that House of Cards was pret­ty much guar­an­teed to be a suc­cess amongst audi­ence, hav­ing been fueled by big data insights col­lect­ed from Net­flix’s sub­scribers, “Nar­cos” was com­mis­sioned part­ly due to the pop­u­lar­i­ty of 30 for 30 doc­u­men­tary “The Two Esco­bars”. The suc­cess of the doc­u­men­tary on the stream­ing plat­form was a clear indi­ca­tion of a con­sumer desire, and Net­flix deliv­ered on that.

Why it was mem­o­rable: Because that’s what we want­ed (appar­ent­ly). Net­flix are con­tin­u­ing to define what mod­ern sto­ry­telling and home enter­tain­ment are all about. Film­mak­ing used to exist as an indus­try of it’s own, but the lines are blur­ring, and the approach con­tent pro­duc­ers are tak­ing is heav­i­ly inter­linked with dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing prin­ci­ples around user behav­iour and data.

6. Domino’s #EasyOrder Pizza Emojis

Domi­no’s bold announce­ment that con­sumers would be able to order piz­za with a sim­ple emo­ji tweet was a pow­er­ful state­ment about the brand’s com­mit­ment to sim­pli­fi­ca­tion of the order­ing process. With #Easy­Order, the brand posi­tioned them­selves amongst the braver fast food deliv­ery ser­vices with a stake in dig­i­tal inno­va­tion (a com­pet­i­tive space with the likes of Arby’s, Taco Bell, and Quiznos also mak­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing head­lines this year).

Why it was mem­o­rable: The cam­paign was the bold­est exam­ple out of a num­ber of brands who cap­i­tal­ized on the oppor­tu­ni­ty to mar­ket around emo­jis. If these lit­tle sym­bols rep­re­sent the zeit­geist of our times, then Domi­no’s have placed an invalu­able stake on what could one day become valu­able emo­ji real estate, and even if not, they showed they are a brand who are ready to cap­i­tal­ize on dig­i­tal oppor­tu­ni­ties when and if they arrive.

7. Nordstrom Goes ‘Big’ For Anniversary Sale


We high­light­ed Nord­strom at the begin­ning of this year as one of the most inno­v­a­tive brands in terms of the way they uti­lize inte­grat­ed tech­nol­o­gy to unite busi­ness objec­tives, and this is a con­cept that fuels some of their pow­er­ful and inte­grat­ed dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.

Ear­li­er this year, they cre­at­ed a gigan­tic instal­la­tion on the top of their flag­ship store, which was used to cre­ate a sin­gle Insta­gram post to announce their annu­al anniver­sary sale.

The com­pa­ny also used emerg­ing tech­nol­o­gy plat­forms such as Periscope to broad­cast the cre­ation of the huge piece, ensur­ing the event was well placed to reach audi­ences across dig­i­tal chan­nels.

Why it was mem­o­rable: The per­ceived ease with which Nord­strom is able to con­sis­tent­ly oust their com­pe­ti­tion by cre­at­ing unique dig­i­tal­ly-savvy con­tent is fast posi­tion­ing the brand as one of the most mod­ern, inno­v­a­tive, and pop­u­lar depart­ment stores among young audi­ences and dig­i­tal natives.

8. Disney Characters Surprise Shoppers

With 4.7+ mil­lion views (at time of writ­ing), Dis­ney’s stunt uti­lizes the pow­er of a well-coor­di­nat­ed offline stunt that engages mem­bers of the pub­lic, and ampli­fies that expe­ri­ence across dig­i­tal chan­nels.

Fol­low­ing on from the suc­cess of huge­ly pop­u­lar cam­paigns such as West­Jet’s Christ­mas Mir­a­cle, the video shows how this kind of mar­ket­ing radi­ates qual­i­ties of authen­tic­i­ty and pos­i­tive feel­ings which enhance audi­ence per­cep­tions of a brand.

Why it was mem­o­rable: The video shows how the won­der of a well-coor­di­nat­ed offline stunt can trav­el much fur­ther than the peo­ple you amaze, with the ampli­fi­ca­tion of offline chan­nels.

9. Burberry’s Periscope Runways


In recent years, Burber­ry’s dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion has been well cov­ered. In many respect they are one of the fore­most brands in a indus­try which has whole­heart­ed­ly embraced the poten­tial and oppor­tu­ni­ty of dig­i­tal and tech­nol­o­gy. As report­ed on per­co­late, fash­ion brands have real­ized that “it’s cru­cial to inte­grate tech­nol­o­gy into every cus­tomer touch­point, both online and offline”.

Burber­ry’s Periscope run­ways used the plat­form to cre­ate a vis­cer­al expe­ri­ence for audi­ences, that essen­tial­ly brought their flag­ship con­tent exhi­bi­tion (tra­di­tion­al­ly some­what of an exclu­sive event) to all. The move, which was also com­ple­ment­ed by activ­i­ties on rel­e­vant plat­forms such as snapchat, deliv­ered a record num­ber of impres­sions, top­ping 100 mil­lion and sub­se­quent­ly “the best [results] we’d ever had in terms of dig­i­tal engage­ment” accord­ing to Burber­ry CFO Car­ol Fair­weath­er.

Why it was mem­o­rable: The cam­paign exhib­it­ed the per­fect mar­riage between dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy and an expe­ri­en­tial and exclu­sive brand expe­ri­ence. The result­ing num­ber of impres­sions and lev­el of dig­i­tal engage­ment sim­ple speak for them­selves.


10. Microsoft #CollectiveProject — “Robert Downey Jr. Delivers a Real Bionic Arm”

Last but cer­tain­ly not least, Microsoft­’s #Col­lec­tive­Pro­ject is a fan­tas­tic exam­ple of a brand who are bring­ing social cor­po­rate respon­si­bil­i­ty to life, and this video fea­tur­ing “Iron Man” Robert Downey Jr. shows how this can be trans­lat­ed into a impact­ful mar­ket­ing func­tion.

Microsoft­’s com­mit­ment to the #Col­lec­tive­Pro­ject, a char­i­ta­ble cause revolv­ing around gen­uine tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion, is a fea­ture of the world’s most advanced tech brands, but this cam­paign is an exam­ple of how that can gen­er­ate pos­i­tive sen­ti­ment amongst wide audi­ences by har­ness­ing the pow­er of emo­tion­al sto­ry­telling.

Why is was mem­o­rable: Microsoft­’s #Col­lec­tive­Pro­ject demon­strate a high­ly mature kind of mar­ket­ing which is based around char­i­ty, and an authen­tic com­mit­ment to cor­po­rate social respon­si­bil­i­ty. The pop­u­lar­i­ty of this video shows how that kind of com­mit­ment can be high­ly endear­ing to audi­ences.

Final Thoughts

This is by no means a defin­i­tive list of the year’s best cam­paigns, but it is a selec­tion of some of the most mem­o­rable.

What’s inter­est­ing is how many of the brands are high­ly rec­og­niz­able in that they are the same ones that con­sis­tent­ly per­form well with their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. Nord­strom, GoPro, and Burber­ry, for exam­ple, are well known to be some of the lead­ing dig­i­tal inno­va­tors in their respec­tive indus­tries.

It shows that only brands that are set up to be dig­i­tal­ly-savvy on all fronts, able to exhib­it a sense of authen­tic­i­ty and respon­sive­ness in the cre­ation of their cam­paigns, have a clear advan­tage, and are able to gen­er­ate tru­ly mem­o­rable cam­paigns.

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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