Best and worst marketing campaigns we saw in 2021

February 22, 2022

Examples of some of the best and worst marketing campaigns we saw in 2021

Thousands of businesses compete for the attention of customers every day and it’s difficult to cut through the noise of digital media. This is where marketing campaigns come in. Brands need compelling marketing campaigns to reach new customers, whether they’re selling software, ice cream, or comprehensive access control systems.

Brands’ approaches to marketing campaigns have shifted dramatically in recent years. The straightforward pitches about products and services are a thing of the past. Every year, marketing campaigns are getting more creative as brands try to stand out from their competition. Sometimes these unique approaches can be highly effective, and in other cases, they crash and burn.

Whether it is through TikTok videos, humorous tweets, or attractive billboards, 2021 had no shortage of exciting marketing campaigns. Here are the best and worst campaigns of the year.

5 best marketing campaigns of 2021

We’ve put together a list of the five best marketing campaigns we saw last year. Here is to another successful year of marketing creativity!

McDonald’s – We Deliver

McDonald’s saw a new take on their branding in 2021. In a departure from Ronald McDonald’s days, the campaign adopted a more minimalist approach, and in this case, less was more. While keeping the famous yellow arches, the brand flipped expectations with vibrant colours and clear messaging. The only thing McDonald’s wants its customers to remember is that We Deliver, and they succeeded in this clear message.

Nike – Just Do It

Another great marketing campaign of 2021 was Nike’s Just Do It. We have inextricably linked this simple phrase to the brand’s athletic wear and this year this was solidified further, with Nike demonstrating the value of sticking to a successful brand message.

Few marketing efforts have been as effective as Nike’s long-running Just Do It campaign. By focusing on the feeling people get from working out, these commercials have helped the corporation generate billions of dollars.

Airbnb – ‘Made Possible by Hosts’

As a brand that was hit heavily by the pandemic, Airbnb took a leap of faith for a new type of marketing campaign in 2021 – and it paid off. They permanently and significantly cut their marketing budget, and launched its ‘Made Possible by Hosts’ campaign which featured real photos of genuine guests and Airbnb properties around the world.

Always – Like a Girl

Always’ Like a Girl is yet another famous and trending campaign from last year. Always chose to focus on a current social issue to promote female empowerment and address a problem that teenage girls experience. Always came across as genuine in the campaign, supported by their long record of advocating for puberty education, guaranteeing that their message would resonate with their target group.

Aldi – Free Cuthbert

The UK supermarket chain turned a potential problem into a genius marketing campaign when rival chain Marks and Spencer launched legal action against the company, claiming their Cuthbert the Catepillar Swiss roll was a rip off of a similar M&S product. Aldi quickly got the nation onside with a humorous PR campaign to free Cuthbert that saw them trending number one on Twitter.

5 worst marketing campaigns Of 2021

Not every marketing campaign was so successful. Here are five well-known companies whose campaigns sparked controversy in 2021.

Burger King’s, Women Belong in The Kitchen.

Burger King’s statement last year on International Women’s Day, that “women belong in the kitchen”, caused uproar on social media. It was part of a marketing campaign to highlight the new initiative of the chain in the restaurants to facilitate the female executive chefs.

However, this message did not come through and the original tweet confused thousands on social media. As the backlash grew, the company said that not including the complete program in its first tweet was a mistake – a lesson for us all!

Adidas’, Dare to Create

In 2021, Adidas UK collaborated withEnglish football club Arsenal and launched a campaign on Twitter to advertise their partnership. They discovered the hard way that automation is not always beneficial. The campaign attracted highly nasty handles and hundreds of trolls on Twitter.

Pepsi’s, Live for Now

Pepsi’s Live for Now commercial was undoubtedly one of the most divisive of the year. In the commercial, Kendall Jenner joined a protest and presented Pepsi to a police officer. The ad sparked outrage since many saw it trivialising and capitalising on social justice campaigns.

Victoria’s Secret’s, The Perfect Body

The legendary lingerie and clothing shop was criticised for its advertisement featuring photos of Victoria’s Secret Angel in their lingerie range and the phrase The Perfect Body, in the UK. The ad spawned the Twitter hashtag #iamperfect, and was widely criticised for exploiting fears and handed out negative messages about female body image.

H&M’s, Coolest Monkey in The Jungle.

The UK retail giant’s promotion of a new sweater backfired, thanks to racist overtones in their ad. Customers on social media were quick to condemn the ad and the brand lost a number of celebrity endorsers. Shares of the company even dropped by 40%. Despite all this, the campaign reportedly continued outside of the United States.

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