Entering into a brand new decade offers up the rare chance to reflect on the state of our industry, what’s going well, what’s changing and what’s to come in marketing. We should also take the opportunity to look back and consider some of the lessons provided in just the previous year. In that spirit (and just because it’s fun!) here’s a look back at some of the best marketing campaigns of 2019 and what made them stand out. There’s sure to be helpful tips here for every marketer and content creator looking for inspiration in 2020.

With so many companies constantly trying to stand out in a heavily saturated market, there are always a few that seem to snatch the spotlight effortlessly with a truly innovative campaign. Let’s count down what the team at SharpSpring has decided were the 11 best marketing campaigns of last year.

  1. McDonald’s McDelivery Day

    Taking advantage of late-night fast food cravings, McDonald’s crafted a glowing marketing campaign that was a huge success in Singapore.Featuring a print advertisement that looked more like a movie poster, the fast-food giant capitalized on the desire to get tasty meals delivered after midnight. The company also produced a short film showcasing the hardworking folks who make their living at night. By shining a spotlight on the most remote corners of the country, this McDonald’s marketing campaign was a major hit.

    The Takeaway: A good marketing campaign not only shows how the company is solving a problem, but it also influences emotions and makes the target audience feel good.

  2. Givenchy

    The luxury French fashion house, Givenchy, unveiled the new face of the brand in an iconic yet simple way last year. Using Twitter, the company posted a silhouette image of Ariana Grande, and the fans went wild. This black and white artistic combo has long been considered mysterious and intriguing. However, with Ariana’s legendary high ponytail, it was clear who was the new brand representative. Sticking with Givenchy’s sleek, elegant aesthetic, this marketing campaign was shared countless times on many social media outlets.

    The Takeaway: Not everything has to be overdone to grab attention. Simplicity can go a long way in generating buzz as long as the marketing campaign remains true to the brand’s identity.

  3. Coca-Cola

    A recent World Happiness Report showed that Romania ranked in the top 10 most unhappy nations. With inspiration and positivity being at the heart of the Coca-Cola brand, the popular beverage company sought to change things. Launching the “Half Full” marketing campaign, Coca-Cola sent 200 bottles to Romanian influencers and encouraged the public to share their own optimistic stories. The brand even created a special coke bottle that was filled from the halfway point and up. This campaign got people excited — many Romanians began sharing their stories on social media and even creating short videos using the hashtag #halffull.

    The Takeaway: Generating positive emotions like excitement and optimism is hugely effective for boosting brand awareness.

  4. Apple’s WWDC

    Apple generated a lot of buzz for the World Wide Development Conference (WWDC) by releasing a short video about the latest ‘Dark Mode’ feature on the iOS 13 operating system. The 57-second video starts with the camera submerged underwater. While descending into the depths of the ocean, bioluminescent jellyfish are seen glowing in hues of blue and purple. The lines inside the jellyfish morph into GPS navigation lines, and the viewers are left with a view of the new ‘Dark Mode’ feature displayed on five different iPhone screens. This short video got iPhone users excited and ready to see what else was in store for them with the newest update.

    The Takeaway: Focusing on a single element and keeping things simple can work to your advantage in marketing.

  5. Nintendo Switch Lite

    When Nintendo unveiled its compact Switch Lite console, fanboys and -girls went crazy.The company produced a short film featuring the General Producer of Nintendo Switch, Yoshiaki Koizumi. Even though the film lasted for 6+ minutes, fans were captivated. The video focused on showing that users could take the console anywhere, even to skateparks or on camping trips. The company sold 36.87 million systems, so it seems that this marketing campaign was successful.

    The Takeaway: Quick and simple doesn’t always cut it in the world of marketing — sometimes you have to take a few extra minutes to showcase all the key points of your product.

  6. Taco Bell

    If there’s any fast food company that has a cult following, it’s Taco Bell. Loved for its delicious options and low prices, the brand sought out a famous Kpop group, BTS, to further boost their following.Sponsoring the Biggest Fan Army award, Taco Bell brought in countless BTS fans who were fighting for the band to win the award. With millions of fans sharing the sponsored image across several social media platforms, Taco Bell got plenty of free publicity.

    The Takeaway: People love to share things that are close to their hearts. Becoming organically involved in a community can help boost brand awareness.

  7. Popeye’s Chicken

    2019 saw fried chicken trending on Twitter when fast-food chains started battling it out in tweet threads. Popeye’s managed to master the game of sass by taking frequent jabs at competitors like Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s.The reason this worked as a marketing campaign is simple — it was funny. Humor can go a long way in generating brand awareness. It’s becoming harder to get attention online, so Popeye’s decided to do something unexpected and throw a few snarky comments at other chain restaurants. This funny commentary generated followers and engagement for the brand.

    The Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to use humor to your advantage.

  8. Wendy’s

    While Popeye’s Chicken was busy throwing shade, Wendy’s was busy coming up with their simplest, most effective marketing campaign yet.The fast-food chain decided to give the people what they’d been asking for, but only under one condition. By tweeting the following message, “The people in charge say if you guys can get our tweet to 2 Million likes, they will bring SPICY CHICKEN NUGGETS BACK,” Wendy’s became the unofficial Queen of Social Media. This message gave customers a chance to feel like they were being heard while humanizing the brand at the same time. The bigger a company gets, the harder it is for the target audience to see it as anything more than a massive corporation. Wendy’s busted that barrier down and connected with people in a fun and surprising way.

    The Takeaway: Forming human connections with your target audience can go a long way towards nurturing brand loyalty.

  9. Corona

    With so many beer brands on the market, it’s understandably difficult to stand out. That’s why Corona teamed up with Parley for the Oceans to place recycling machines throughout various locations in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Italy and Spain.By placing plastic bottles inside the recycling machine, the person would get a free beer. This “pay-by-plastic” global campaign was meant to do more than just sell products. To take things a step further, Corona released a limited-edition pack and committed to cleaning one square meter of beach for every purchase made. This campaign works for many reasons: it gives people free beer, boosts brand awareness and helps to save the oceans.

    The Takeaway: Supporting a cause can generate a lot of buzz for your company and produce an army of loyal customers who also support that cause.

  10. Lego

    Lego recently released Braille Bricks for visually-impaired children to learn and have fun. These new toys are 100% compatible with existing Lego pieces and are molded with studs to match letters and numbers consistent with Braille. What’s even better is that children and adults who are sighted can also interact together with these toys.Currently available in English, Danish, Norwegian and Portuguese alphabets, Lego will be releasing French, Spanish and German versions this year. Offering this type of inclusivity is a great marketing strategy on its own. The product speaks for itself.

    The Takeaway: In today’s market, making your products more inclusive is a great way to gain likability and bring in new customers.

  11. Domino’s

    Launching the “Points for Pies” loyalty program, Domino’s has increased its sales through digital channels by 60%. Offering a user-friendly app and a great rewards system was a great start, but the company didn’t stop there.Throughout 2019, the pizza chain offered points for every pizza scanned, even if that pizza was from another restaurant. Domino’s kept this deal activated for 12 weeks, which coincided with the Super Bowl. This generous offer and its timing helped people build up their points faster to get that free pizza.

    The Takeaway: Loyalty programs with generous rewards will have your customers coming back, and generosity can be a good look for major brands.

With all the great campaigns launched last year, marketers have our work cut out when it comes to making our mark and standing out from the crowd. No matter what business you’re in, a marketing automation platform can help you reach your target audience more efficiently and effectively. The SharpSpring platform continually offers up new tools and integrations to help make your campaigns more personal, organic and impactful. To learn more about how our team can help you improve your marketing strategy and grow your digital footprint, ask for a free demo. We’d love to hear from you.

Kim Anchors