Marketing campaigns are all about creating experiences for and sparking conversations with consumers through narratives that connect, engage and leave a lasting impression. In 2023, we saw a symphony of innovation, storytelling and brand resonance that captivated audiences worldwide. Let’s take a look at the top 5 marketing campaigns that stood out amongst the widespread digital noise, setting new benchmarks for marketing of the future. Whether you’re a marketer yourself looking for inspiration or are hiring a digital marketing agency in London for your 2024 efforts, these examples are certainly something to aspire to.
It would be rude not to start off here… In 2023, the Barbie movie dominated quite literally everything, everywhere, with a marketing campaign that saw most of the world turn pink! The anticipation leading up to its release reached unprecedented levels thanks to a meticulously coordinated and highly effective promotional effort from their marketing team. Leveraging the iconic Barbie brand assets, particularly the colour pink, the marketing was hailed as ‘genius’ for its simplicity. One promotional poster in particular featured only Barbie’s distinctive pink hue and the release date, overlooking traditional elements in advertising like logos or actor details, yet it still created immense buzz. There were also numerous other world-famous brands contributing to the widespread Barbie fever with collaborations, including Barbie Crocs and a Barbie-themes Burger in Burger King.
Norwich City FC
When considering marketing campaigns of 2023 that made an incredibly powerful impact, this is one that should come to mind. Norwich City FC produced an unexpected but poignant ‘Check In On Those Around You’ promotion, which was released for World Mental Health Day. This emotive 2-minute video showcased two football fans attending a number of match days together, with one of the fans seeming to be a lot happier and engaged than the other. The narrative unfolds as the friend checks in on his quieter friend, challenging the misconception that only overt signs indicate poor mental health. The Norwich City FC partnership with Samaritans fueled this campaign’s reach, having it gain much-deserved praise across social media. This video campaign has now accumulated over 57 million views. The worldwide impact of this video reflects the success of encouraging conversations about mental health and promoting the importance of checking in on those around you, no matter how happy they seem to be.
The BBC’s Eurovision campaign marked a triumphant return to hosting for the UK. Following Sam Ryder’s unexpected but equally amazing second-place finish in 2022, the BBC seamlessly blended glitz and colour in a campaign that captured the essence of what Eurovision is all about. Balancing the celebration of Liverpool with expressions of solidarity and compassion for Ukraine, this campaign incorporated European touches and Ukrainian phrases while featuring the charismatic Scouse drag performer, The Vivienne. The results spoke volumes, making it the most successful Eurovision for the BBC in recent history.
Heinz made marketing history with the launch of its first-ever global brand platform, ‘It has to be Heinz’. This significant move marked a humorous celebration of the brand’s universal appeal. This campaign debuted in the UK, US and Canada, soon followed by 13 others. This truly showcased the lengths Heinz customers would go to for their products. Beyond just TV and social media, they expanded the campaign worldwide, including an eye-catching Heinz ‘village’ in Shanghai and a UK extension showing Brits smuggling Heinz beans abroad. This campaign not only signified a strategic global shift for the brand but also demonstrated its continued expertise in captivating audiences with humour and relatability.
In a bold and defying move this St Patrick’s Day, Guinness celebrated the occasion by going against usual drinking conventions. Showcasing its non-alcoholic range in a campaign titled ‘Make it a St Patricks Day to remember’, Guinness marked their largest responsible drinking initiative to date. Encouraging their customers and the general public to enjoy this occasion with their non-alcoholic alternative. The campaign sparked significant engagement online, with the #Guinness00 hashtag reaching the top 3 most mentioned hashtags on X in Ireland during the celebration. Not only did it make Guinness consumers proud to be drinking alcohol-free options, but it also proved to be a commercial success as it become one of the fastest-growing 0% beer brands globally.
The year 2023 showcased a diverse range of creative, innovative and effective marketing campaigns for brands across all industries. These five campaigns not only stood out for their commercial success but also for their ability to resonate with audiences on a profound level. From Heinz’s worldwide impact to Norwich City FC’s mental health initiatives, each campaign demonstrated the power of marketing to connect people emotionally, starting meaningful conversations.