4 Exceptional Campaigns and Why They Worked
Advertisements just are. Exhaustive, ubiquitous, annoying, they are. We all have a word to describe our feelings toward the billboards that line the streets, the 30-second videos that interrupt a Netflix binge or the commercial that’s blocking you from seeing the results of the latest Bachelorette episode. So, how can professionals cut through the hard, desensitized exterior of the American consumer to reach the passionate interior that generates brand loyalty and media coverage? Spark your advertising creativity.
Overcoming the apathy of the consumer and catching his or her attention for extended periods of time takes talent, a well-thought-out plan and precise execution. At Spark It, we try to replicate this professional, and sometimes lucky, result for local businesses. Here are some examples of large-scale operations and an evaluation of the elements that resulted in total success.
Nike - "Dream Crazy"
“Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy. Ask if they’re crazy enough.” That slogan flooded every media outlet - YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, television and more - as Nike’s latest controversial campaign was unleashed. The “Just Do It” mantra has motivated athletes for 30 years; Nike decided to acknowledge that client diversity with several videos that showcase stakeholders - some more well-known than others - in action.
Serena Williams, LeBron James and Odell Beckham Jr. are all inspirational in their own right; however, the video highlights those who have overcome life-changing challenges, too. Megan Blunk took gold in the Rio 2016 basketball Olympic Games, only the 29-year-old was wheelchair-bound. Isiah Bird became a leader on his wrestling team at 10-years-old, even though he was born without legs. Alicia Woollcott lived her dream of playing linebacker for her highschool team and proudly wore a Prom Queen sash at the end of her senior year.
While staying true to its brand, Nike humanized itself by calling out the strength of its consumers. Nike is unique in that it has built a brand that cherishes willpower, individualism and strength. It knows this and uses these traits to its benefit. Understanding your brand and your brand’s future is essential to developing an effective communication strategy. By owning its brand image, creatively connecting with its audience and evaluating its future as a brand, Nike was able to master a communications strategy that was not only widely popular, but publicly announced its corporate reputation. Nike showed that businesses have to dream big and “Dream Crazy” to accomplish the goals that will set them apart from competitors.
The Bell Hotel
Reimaging a vacation is certainly a great way to capitalize on people’s desire for unique experiences - Taco Bell took this advice to heart. In a one-of-a-kind experience, Taco Bell offered fans a 4-day experience at the cheesiest marketing scheme of 2019: The Bell. Located in Palm Springs, California, The Bell was a hotel that sought to give visitors something to taco ‘bout: a limited-time adventure with friends and family.
Taco Bell is a unique example of exceptional advertising as it attracts an audience that answers to a specific sense of humor. Populated by young Gen Z and Millenials, Taco Bell can tap into the rising Instagram culture of specialized experiences. Residents could participate is several hotel activities: a swimming pool, salon, movie theatre and restaurants serving exclusively Taco Bell.
Oreo - Winter Is Coming
Winter has come, and it tastes like vanilla creme cookie filling. Oreo collaborated with HBO to produce a computer-generated recreation of the world of Westeros in advance of the much anticipated finale to Game of Thrones.
In this add, Oreo had two goals: broadcast Oreo’s unique vegan creme recipe and showcase the relationship between the Oreo cookie and the individual. Oreo hoped to implicitly show the metaphor that the creme holds together the cookie, just as unity would Westeros.
There were reportedly 2,750 Oreos used and 20 million crumbs used to bring Westoros - or more appropriately Oreoros - to life. The real strength of this campaign relies on the public’s interest in this HBO series. Of course, Oreo did its research beforehand and understood the hype leading up to the finale.
Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich
Chick-fil-A’s reign as the czar of the chicken sandwich, the leader of lunch, the head-honcho of hunger is over. Across America, eager customers piled into drive-thru lanes and fought for parking spaces in an attempt to taste the Popeye’s chicken sandwich that so few had at its first release.
Why would thousands of Americans interrupt their Sunday mornings to buy a fried chick sandwich? Novelty. After running out just hours after its first release, customers were hungering for more. Though it took nearly two months for the menu item to reappear, fans were overjoyed to get a taste. We tried it, and can promise it lives up to the hype. Though Popeye’s sold a tasty product, the re-release would’ve failed without a successful communications campaign, and did the Popeye’s team do their research!
First, Popeye’s conducted an intrinsic evaluation and decided there was indeed value in reinstating the item. By scanning social media and public sentiment, Popeye’s realized the overwhelmingly positive attitude toward their product and announced the public influence on corporate policy.
Second, Popeye’s paid attention to coinciding events that could generate news coverage: National Sandwich Day. By releasing it on that Sunday, Popeye’s turned a product launch into a national phenomenon, similar to how stores create extensive sales for targeted holidays.
Lastly, the product’s release and National Sandwich Day just so happened to line up with one of Popeye’s major competitors - Chick-fil-A. Known for its Christian values, Chick-fil-A remains closed on Sundays out of respect for those who wish to attend religious ceremonies. However, this allowed Popeye’s to maximize its audience and drive a divide in a competitor’s clients. Days before its release, Popeye’s started a Twitter feud with several competitors: Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A and Shake Shack. This increase in social media attention, along with national news, allowed the attendance numbers to swell.
Popeye’s methodically planned media releases, all while staying true to its humorous brand. By scanning the communicative environment, listening to customers and capitalizing on competitors' weaknesses, Popeye’s managed an incredibly effective product launch campaign.