Retrospective: Successful Marketing Campaigns and the Lessons Learned

Visionary marketers don’t rely on technology and data analytics to succeed. They excel at putting creative concepts in the right context. At the heart of any successful marketing campaign lies a compelling story. It requires high-quality visuals and unique content. Also, it can convey a message aligned with the campaign goal.

There’s a lot marketers can learn from successful marketing campaigns. Here are 5 to get inspired from: 

IKEA: Tomorrow starts tonight

IKEA’s campaign, “Tomorrow starts tonight”, was launched during the pandemic. During a time when many people were experiencing sleep problems due to COVID-19, IKEA had a unique idea. They decided to compare their sleep products (pillows, sheets, and comforters) to products that only promised to rejuvenate the body (energy drinks, anti-aging creams, and pills). 

Accompanied by striking street posters, shot at large scale, it instantly captured viewer attention. The unique content on each of the posters raised even more awareness of the importance of sleep. 

Lesson learned: IKEA’s campaign went viral on social media thanks to its incredible visuals and customer-oriented content. It addressed a real-life problem, which made it even more appealing to IKEA’s target audience.

Heineken: Not all nights out are out 

Launched in Brazil, Heineken’s campaign, “Not all nights out are out”, broke the status quo that gaming is an antisocial activity. By merging the gaming culture of Brazil (88% of the population is a gaming fan) with the brand’s social spirit, Heineken made online entertainment a social moment. 

Lesson learned: Heineken leveraged the power of experiential marketing to create an immersive marketing campaign. The campaign’s omnichannel approach included a main film and excellent PR activations. It had side stories promoted online on the gaming platform Twitch and TikTok. Its success was due to its innovative approach to challenging the ‘night out’ stereotype. 

Absolut Vodka with a Heinz twist 

The idea originated from model Gigi Hadid, whose Penne alla Vodka recipe went viral on TikTok. Absolut and Heinz took notice of the recipe’s popularity on social media and acted accordingly. They partnered up and launched a limited-edition Tomato Vodka pasta sauce. With #AbsolutelyHeinz as the main hashtag, the collaboration between two very different products made the campaign go viral.    

Lesson learned: Niche marketing was the campaign’s main marketing strategy. It involved giving micro and macro creators the new sauce to share with their online communities. Within two weeks of the launch, a TikTok video from creator Kristinacooksit received more than 6 million views. It proved that influencer marketing is a powerhouse when used right. 

Dove: Reverse Selfie 

The “Reverse Selfie” campaign aimed to change the heartbreaking reality of young girls who use filters to adjust their looks online. The brand has been on a journey to fight unrealistic beauty standards since 2006. 

Delivered throughout social media and on TV, Reserve Selfie used powered hashtags such as  #NoDigitalDistortion to encourage natural beauty. Celebrities and influencers joined the campaign, which later became a powerful movement. Over 1,000 posts used the #NoDigitalDistortion hashtag. 

Lesson learned: By challenging unrealistic beauty standards, Dove increased sales by 11%. Brand affinity increased by 21%. The campaign collected six billion global impressions, marking the highest ever for a Dove purpose-driven campaign.

Domino’s: Mind ordering feat. Stranger Things 

Co-branding is an effective marketing strategy. It can offer a unique experience for fans of collaborating brands while reaching a wider audience. The Domino’s and Stranger Things campaign served as a great example of this approach. 

The campaign featured a three-minute video ad. In the ad, two characters from the popular Netflix series order pizza from Domino’s. Suddenly, the lights go out, and a pizza mysteriously appears as if ordered with telekinetic powers. Alongside the video, Domino’s introduced a new app feature. It used face recognition and eye-tracking technology, enabling customers to ‘order with their mind’.

Lesson learned: The creative approach combined an original ad with an innovative app feature. It succeeded in engaging the vast “Stranger Things” fan base. This approach connected them with Domino’s everyday offerings and promotions. Co-branding played a crucial role in allowing Domino’s to create a more compelling and unified story. In the end, it enhanced their overall brand image and market positioning.