As marketers, we strive daily to generate creative, original marketing strategies that will produce positive results for our clients. We brainstorm concepts, mold them into tangible ideas, and get to work shaping those ideas into reality.

It might seem surprising, but an important part of that process is studying what other marketers and advertisers have created, and learning from their successes and failures. Did they produce a print ad that really resonated with an audience? Did they misjudge a situation that hurt their social media campaign? Over the course of the year, certain pieces of marketing really caught our attention and stuck with us. With only three weeks remaining in 2016, it’s time to take a look back at a few of the ads and campaigns that excited and inspired us.

Buzzfeed – Tasty
Last year, Buzzfeed created something appetizing that, over the course of 2016, has grown more popular than Beyoncé. The Internet media company’s Tasty Facebook page takes recipes beyond text and pictures and into the visually appealing realm of video. Using native videos (which autoplay without sound when you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed), Buzzfeed shows how to cook dishes like meatball-stuffed garlic bread, s’mores bark, and honey garlic shrimp stir-fry using stop-motion shots and simple onscreen instructions.

Today, Tasty’s five Facebook pages have a combined 100 million plus followers (Beyoncé stands at 64 million plus). A major part of that popularity is in the timing.  Even though they feature the recipe from individual ingredients to finished dish, videos usually last one minute or less. Buzzfeed is now moving Tasty into the publishing world with a new cookbook that allows food devotees to personalize their cooking adventure. They can choose seven themed sections—ranging from ‘Happy Hour’ and ‘Light Meals’ to ‘Breakfast Carbs’ and ‘Hangover’—to include in their book.

Google – “Be together. Not the same.”
Google’s “Be together. Not the same.” campaign that advertises Android phones has been going for nearly three years now. Pushing the message that Android is versatile and that its users are unique but unified (a subtle jab at Apple), the campaign’s commercials have centered on history changing moments, and featured animals of different species as best friends. Google kept the series going in early 2016 with a new commercial that turned the traditional rock, paper, scissors game into animated characters that stand against school bullying and stand up for each other. It’s cute and innovative, and consistently keeps to the campaign’s underlying message—stand up for each other but stand out, too. The ad has over 8 million views on YouTube, and the ongoing campaign has helped make Android a household name.

WWF – “Save ‘Em All.”
This past spring and summer, the Pokémon Go craze was in full swing. The popular app had users all over the world roaming from place to place, holding up their phones and attempting to catch Pokémon. Many brands jumped on the trend, from bars and restaurants putting up signs and social media posts that declared their business a Poké Stop and offering players discounts on food, to auto repair chain Service King placing billboards imploring players not to catch and drive. But the brand that really took advantage was the World Wildlife Fund. Dedicated to saving animal species from extinction, they created a print campaign to help save the real creatures of the world. The ads are simple—endangered animals are shown as animated Pokémon (Bengalix, Pandoudou, and Tortuff) within the app, as though someone is actually playing. The copy—”Pokémon Are Real. Save ‘Em All.”—plays off the “Gotta Catch ‘Em All” Pokémon tagline, while communicating the WWF message. It was a creative, timely, and inspiring campaign.

Here at Harmon Group, we also aim to be innovative, creative, and inspiring in all of our marketing efforts. We are constantly learning from ad campaigns such as these, and staying abreast of industry trends. Our goal is to develop original ideas and strategies, and turn them into success for our clients. If you want to know more about what we can do for your brand or business, contact us.