Our favourite marketing campaigns of 2013

In the marketing world, it pays to be innovative and to challenge preconceptions. From the very biggest companies to the humblest start-ups and growing businesses, marketing is about being noticed and standing out in a competitive marketplace.

The very best marketing campaigns do just that by creating a buzz around a product, service or company that helps to boost sales and raise brand awareness. The following marketing campaigns were executed on massive budgets and with accommodating timescales, but this kind of bravery and ingenuity can serve you well in your marketing activities this year too…

Stella Artois Cidre

Over the past few years, Stella Artois has undertaken a number of concerted marketing campaigns intended to shake off the brand’s unglamorous, lager-lout image. The attempts have been remarkably successful thanks in no small part to some of the most artfully executed TV and print adverts you’ll see anywhere. Excellent casting, writing, directing and cinematography have helped to associate the brand with a gentile, classy, 1960s riviera-style playboy lifestyle, far removed from the budget boozer overtones that were once the lager’s staple. The release of a new Stella Artois cider (c’est Cidre, not cider) prompted a new print and TV marketing campaign that was to become one of our favourites of 2013 so far.

Coca Cola Sharing Cans

Pumping millions into a TV or print advertising campaign is all well and good, but such marketing outlets will often prove beyond the reach of many growing companies. Ironically, it was one of the world’s biggest companies, Coca Cola, who showed us how marketing success could be achieved without such largesse this year. The Coca Cola sharing cans will have almost certainly cost the company a fortune to develop but the point is that they needn’t have; the concept was a simple one, and could have been achieved on a relatively modest budget. By rebranding their products with the slogan ‘share a Coke with’ and a collection of commonly used names, Coca Cola hit on a winning formula. Customers set out in search of their own names or the names of their friends, and helped to spread the campaign further using social media and the hashtag #shareacokewith to create an innovative and cost-effective marketing campaign.

Game of Thrones Dragon Skull

Game of Thrones is one of HBO’s biggest shows and has an established fanbase of millions, so a lavish marketing campaign wasn’t exactly necessary in order to drum up interest in the new season. On demand streaming service Blinkbox, however, wanted to let UK viewers know that the show was going to be available via their service, and to do so they conjured one of our favourite marketing stunts of the year. Blinkbox commissioned a 40-foot dragon skull to be built and left on a beach on Dorset’s Jurassic coast, attracting TV crews and spectators from miles around. The campaign certainly helped to increase interest in and awareness of the Blinkbox service, and we can’t help but admire such a brave and innovative marketing stunt!

These phenomenal marketing campaigns prove that bravery and originality can go a long way in the marketing world.

Lowes #fixinsix

Lowes is a chain of American hardware stores, in the vein of Wickes or Homebase here in the UK. Not the kind of company you’d associate with an innovative social media marketing strategy, perhaps, but the company’s use of Vine earlier this year was a truly excellent way of marketing products and services to their customers.

Under the hashtag #fixinsix, Lowes posted Vine videos where everyday DIY problems were solved using quick, easy techniques. The videos weren’t overtly product-based, which meant customers didn’t feel as though they were being sold to, but were relevant enough to work as a marketing outlet.

Best of all, the videos were legitimately helpful – capitalising on the ‘lifehack’ trend that has been particularly popular this year.


Another company to make the most of social media marketing this year has been Nike. The footwear giant already has an enormous global following, but sometimes, large companies have the most to lose when attempting to engage with their customers via various social networks.

Nike launched the PHOTOiD campaign this year to help promote the iD service the brand runs with its Air Max trainers, reaching out to customers through the social sharing app instagram. The concept of the campaign was to encourage customers to upload pictures via Instagram, take them to the PHOTOiD app and the company would design a shoe that drew on the colours present in the image.

A beach scene, for example, might result in a trainer comprised primarily of blue and yellow, while a more urban landscape would bring up greys, whites and blacks. We love this innovative use of social media because it is so directly relevant to the product – and could be replicated by businesses on a limited budget to some degree.

Oreo Cookies Versus Creme

Over the past few years, the marketing team at Oreo have shown that they aren’t afraid to push a few boundaries, be brave and see what happens. As a result, they have generated some of the most memorable, engaging campaigns in recent memory.

This year’s ‘Cookies Versus Creme’ campaign has been no exception. The concept was that Oreo fans preferred either the outer cookie or the inner creme of the product, rather than the whole biscuit – but how is one to separate the two halves without compromising either element? Oreo hosted a website full of user-generated videos debating the various merits of cookies and creme, with the grand highlight inarguably the robotic machine capable of separating an Oreo built by physicist David Neevel. This campaign proves that you don’t need a huge budget to be creative and successful in the marketing world!

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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