2018 in Review: Marketing Wins and Failures

Two hands writing on a whiteboard with "2018" superimposed over them

2018 is almost over! That means it’s time to take a look back on the great and terrible marketing campaigns we saw this year. During the past few months, the industry gave us the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly when it came to tactics, campaigns, messaging and more.

Take a look at some of our most memorable moments of 2018 marketing below:

Wins

Nike & Colin Kaepernick: Happily Ever After

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. Just Do It.”

Who knew such a simple, yet powerful, phrase would result in more than $6 Billion in profits, and a record-high stock price, for Nike?!

When Colin Kaepernick took his place as the spokesperson for Nike, he did it among quite a bit of political backlash. That’s why it was so awesome when consumers put their money where their mouths were in support of the message.

What we love about this campaign is how hard it pulls at heartstrings. Nike wasn’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in. No, not everyone agreed. But, for those who do, the brand has now established a deeply emotional connection and developed a more loyal consumer base.

Inked Brand Ambassadors

Domino’s launched a campaign in Russia that promised free pizza for life. The catch? Fans had to get the Domino’s logo tattooed somewhere prominent on their body.

The campaign was supposed to run for two months, but after five days, Domino’s had to shut it down because too many people were participating! Waves of photos started coming in of fans who had dedicated a few inches of their skin to that familiar Domino’s logo.

While it seems like the higher ups at Domino’s underestimated their audience’s love of pizza (or love of tattoos, or both), we’re declaring this campaign a win. Domino’s fans spent their own money to get a permanent logo printed on themselves, and the experiment landed Domino’s with massive amounts of social media activity.

Failures

International House of…What?

We’re sure many of you remember the craziness that came from IHOP’s efforts to rebrand by flipping the P upside down.

This simple move from pancakes to burgers set off a chain of social media mockery across the net. Even some competitors hopped on the campaign in an effort to downplay IHOP’s big announcement.

That engagement might seem like it was a huge win, since IHOP received a ton of earned media, but the tactic drug the brand name through the mud. In fact, it was so much of a hassle for them that IHOP switched back to the old name not even a month after IHOb went live. The company claims that the “rebranding” was just an attempt to shed light on the new burgers at IHOP locations, but the damage seems to have been done.

One Beer, Hold the Racism

Earlier this year, Heineken released an advertisement that looked like it came straight out of the early 1900s. The advertisement (yes, made in 2018), featured a multiracial cast and culminated in the tagline “Sometimes, lighter is better.”

This ad was massively hailed as being incredibly racist, and left plenty of consumers and professionals alike wondering why Heineken would ever greenlight such terrible content. In fact, talks around the commercial went so far that even celebrities like Chance the Rapper chimed in about it.

Plus, the 2018 ad came hot off the heels of another politically charged ad that Heineken ran in 2017. Let’s hope that whoever is managing their content gets their act together soon.

 

2018 has had some fantastic wins and some absolutely horrid failures. We can’t wait to see what 2019 brings. Want your 2019 to be filled with good things? Contact us today about how we can help your business get noticed for all the right reasons this coming year.

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