10 of the most game-changing digital marketing campaigns

Successful digital marketing campaigns don’t just sell a product, they sell a brand identity. In the competitive world of B2B digital marketing, content not only needs to be useful, entertaining and full of personality, it needs to be a little bit different. And being ‘different’ isn’t as simple as finding an outlandish gimmick that will shock or amuse.

As a digital marketing executive, you need to consider the habits and interests of your target audience and find a way to get your product recognised above those of rival competitors. In this article, we look at ten of the most creative game changing digital marketing campaigns ever created and aim to see exactly what makes them so successful.

1.Transport for London – Do the Test (2008)

One of the top campaigns of the year, this digital marketing video from Transport for London made a very serious point (the safety of motorcyclists on the roads of the capital) using an innovative approach. It caught the attention of the viewer by setting up a challenge that required the very qualities it wanted to draw out in drivers – concentration, focus and observation.

2. Subservient Chicken – Burger King (2004)

Knowing that the majority of their tech-savvy target market were under thirty, in order to advertise their new TenderCrisp chicken sandwich Burger King created a shareable web page. In a style reminiscent of adult ‘cam’ sites, BK’s site subservientchicken.com, featured a person in a chicken-suit branded with their slogan “Have it your way” and a cache for visitors to type in commands for the bird to carry out. This tongue-in-cheek move successfully caught the interest of the ‘lost’ online male market who missed conventional TV advertising.

3. Cadbury’s – Gorilla (2007)

After a bad sales year in 2006, Cadbury’s pared back their approach to be less product-centric. Rather than emphasising eating chocolate, the company decided to look at the emotions associated with enjoying a sweet treat – namely joy. Featuring a gorilla bashing out the drum solo from Phil Collin’s ‘Feel It In The Air Tonight’ this digital campaign was designed to capture the imagination of younger consumers. Capitalising on its quirkiness, this advert relied on word of mouth to successfully boost sales.

4. Orange – Balloonacy (2014)

In order to promote the release of their animal-themed pay-as-you-go phone packages designed for younger people, Orange went with something fun and silly – a giant interactive balloon race. This campaign encouraged users to personalise a balloon and ‘float’ it across different web pages (including those of other lifestyle brands) to try to win a grand prize. Interaction with other competitors boosted the speed of users’ balloons and this quirky idea got people talking in their thousands.

5. Threshers – 40% off voucher (2006)

Just before Christmas 2006, Threshers leaked a voucher worth 40% off wine and champagne online. By stating that this voucher was only intended for suppliers (and releasing PR statements expressing concern that this mistake would damage their profit margins), Threshers generated a buzz around its brand. This was a subtle strategy that capitalised on the idea of secrecy, which of course, led to it spreading like wildfire.

6. Sony Playstation – The Last Guy videogame campaign (2014)

Playstation have run some highly controversial digital marketing campaigns in the past, but 2014’s strategy to promote ‘The Last Guy’ videogame is a masterpiece. The campaign worked by turning any webpage the user visited into a makeshift version of the game. This campaign was not only savvy but innovative, perfectly developed for social media sharing but exciting as it broke convention by refusing to be confined to one website.

7. Nokia – Bruce Lee promotes the N96

An extremely clever campaign, perfectly in keeping with the item it was promoting, Nokia created an apparently candid YouTube video of Bruce Lee using his kung Fu skills (and nunchucks) to battle against competitors in Ping-Pong. Designed to promote a special edition Bruce Lee phone with a doll and pre-loaded pictures and aimed exclusively at the Chinese market, this viral campaign achieved worldwide success. Fun, pertinent and simple, this campaign was perfectly pitched.

8. Volvo Trucks – The Epic Split feat. Van Damme (2013)

Combining an element of excitement with straightforward storytelling, this advert captured digital marketing at its finest. Following on from Volvo’s other stunt videos, the brand capitalised on Van Damme’s pre-existing reputation (and THAT song by Enya) to create a visually arresting and cost-effective advert.

9. Coca Cola – The Ahh campaign (2013)

Simple but richly varied, Coca Cola created the site Ahh.com where users could enjoy any number of colourful mini games designed to celebrate the refreshing ‘ahh’ moment consumers experience when they enjoy a coke. With all the games inspired by users, viewers and fans of the brand, Coca Cola ensure their users feel as much a part of the campaign as possible.

10. Amnesty International – Trial by Timeline (2013)

This very astute (albeit unsettling) use of digital marketing by a charity definitely deserves recognition as a game-changer. A team of New Zealand marketers created an app that scans users’ Facebook profiles to find out what ‘crimes’ they would have been found guilty of around the world and what punishments would have been meted out. By directly putting their users in the shoes of the less fortunate, this powerful campaign brought home the realities of human rights injustices and changed the marketing game outright.

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