By Felicia Guthrie
As 2019 winds down, I’m taking a look at my favourite marketing campaigns over the year. Here are my top four picks and why I loved them!
The Bell – A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort
In late spring/early summer, the fast food giant took over a Palm Springs hotel for a pop-up hotel that served as an incredible experiential marketing campaign. From branded gift shop items, to hot sauce pillows and pool floats and more, the hotel was incredibly on brand and decked out in Taco Bell themed items. You could even nibble on special resort only meals such as avocado toast with a Taco Bell twist or get a Taco Bell themed manicure.
While you may not associate Taco Bell and fast food with a hotel, I think the takeover was a great fit, not only because they made everything really on brand, but because the fast food and hotel industries are both part of the hospitality industry. I also think this was a fresh idea that created a really fun experience for those who attended.
Even if you don’t necessarily love Taco Bell food, there’s no doubt that this would have been a memorable experience. It was a standout campaign to me because I love when brands have experiential, interactive campaigns, these types of campaigns are not only memorable, but they also build brand loyalty.
The internet was abuzz with influencer Youtube videos, blog articles, and more. Impressively, The Bell – A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort had more than 4 billion impressions and the rooms were reserved and sold out in minutes.
While a small business isn’t expected to go as big as this, it’s a good lesson that a bold move can be a successful one and that you can bring an element of fun into your marketing campaigns!
Check out the hotel here: https://youtu.be/xjkUxcQquXc
The Shane Dawson x Jeffree Star Docu-Series on Youtube
In October 2019, longtime Youtuber Shane Dawson released the first, and highly anticipated, episode in his 7-part documentary-style series following a collaboration project with cosmetics brand owner and CEO, Jeffree Star. The series, which spanned nearly the entire 2019 year gave viewers an inside, behind-the-scenes look at the process of creating a makeup collection, from choosing the colours to designing components, shooting the campaign and more.
Although it was telling a story and entertaining, the series also acted as one big ad for their collaboration, dubbed the “Conspiracy Collection.” The documentary-style format gave the series a transparent and therefore authentic feel. Youtuber, Shane Dawson, was forthright in his anxieties, especially about the collection and the series possibly failing, which made him more relatable to those watching. Many viewers who tuned in to each episode, began to covet items from the collection, even if they didn’t really wear makeup up. Why? Because watching Shane, Jeffree, and the entire process of creating the makeup collection made viewers feel connected to Shane, Jeffree, and the collection. It created emotional ties through compelling storytelling.
The collection, which launched across several online retailers on November 1st, “broke the internet,” crashing Shopify on the cosmetic brand’s website and the website of another retailer. The release dominated the Twitter trending page, with branded hashtags like “jeffreestarxshanedawson” and “#conspiracycollection” trending for hours as well as related hashtags and phrases like “I GOT IT”. It was revealed that over 2 million consumers were trying to access the Jeffree Star Cosmetics website minutes before the launch.
While they did invest in a billboard, most of the hype and success of the collection was attributed to their series as well as their massive following showing the power behind influencers.
Watch the series here: https://youtu.be/JWukx3HGBKI
PinkCherry Billboard in Toronto
I remember sitting in a meeting with a handful of marketing students who were buzzing about a local billboard and after seeing it myself, it’s not easy to forget. PinkCherry, Canada’s largest online retailer of adult products for sexual health and wellness, invested in a large billboard, which was a collaboration between Wow Tech Group (the creators of the Womanizer) and agency, The Garden. The billboard, which was located off a busy Toronto highway, invites women to “Scream your own name.” While these types of ads are often turned down by major agencies and ad placement companies, this PinkCherry billboard gained a lot of positive attention, Adweek even said it, “Might be the best-written billboard of 2019.”
The PinkCherry ad was successful because not only did it grab attention, but it also focused on women’s sexual pleasure and health (not often focused on), while also being a little cheeky!
This campaign was certainly a demonstration that taking a risk can pay off!
IT Chapter Two – The Derry Canal Days Festival
I’ve been watching and loving horror movies for as long as I can remember, and two of my favourite horror flicks of the last several years were IT Chapter 1 and 2. In 2017 with the release of the first film, Warner Bros. did some eye catching and creepy marketing in downtown Toronto (see below), so, I was excited to see what they would do for the release of the second film. One of the most notable activations was an immersive experience and a recreation of the film’s carnival, “The Derry Canal Days Festival,” in LA.
The pop-up event included common carnival attractions, such as mirror mazes, games and a funhouse, but all with the IT and Pennywise (the clown) twist, of course.
As a huge fan of the movies, I would have LOVED to visit the pop-up.
I love a well-executed pop-up, because when companies can pair an exciting and relevant experience to their products, services, or offerings, it creates a longer lasting impression.
IT 2017 marketing in Toronto
See more of the scary good 2019 pop up here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/crystalro/it-chapter-two-experience
There you have it, a few of my favourite marketing campaigns of 2019! I can’t wait to see what’s to come in 2020. What were your favourite campaigns of 2019?
Of course, don’t forget, if you need some help creating a compelling and memorable campaign, email (firstname.lastname@example.org) us to start a discussion!