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The Best Marketing Campaigns of 2016


The Best Marketing Campaigns of 2016

The sky was the limit for marketing campaigns in 2016. According to Forbes, the consumer experience was transformed last year into an omnichannel culture. Marketers focused on live streaming, mobile, and results-driven marketing that was memorable and interactive.

It might seem overwhelming to keep up with the constantly changing nature of marketing. Marketing certainly requires a great deal of creativity, but companies today are finding innovative ways to market themselves. Here are some examples of wildly successful campaigns from 2016 to help get the ideas flowing.


The Art Institute of Chicago teamed up with Airbnb to create a living museum in the form of Vincent Van Gogh’s room, which they made available on the Airbnb website for $10 a night. The room is an exact replica of Van Gogh’s 1888 painting, “Bedroom in Arles.” According to Brand Buffet, within one week the room was covered by press in over 100 countries. The campaign was a $31k investment that drove $6m in earned media.

This campaign focused on interactive art, which is a mission for both organizations. It harvested the essence of authentic living, which is something Airbnb intends to provide through its living-like-a-local-style housing. This campaign embodies both organizations, while also making a splash in the art world and creating something memorable and noteworthy.


Newcastle made fun of themselves by creating ad teasers with celebrity endorsements and futuristic themes. They then announced to the world that they couldn’t afford to make the Super Bowl ad. They released a video that highlighted what the ad would have been if they had made it. They included celebrity endorsements from Keyshawn Johnson and Anna Kendrick, both of whom also made fun of the brand and the ad itself. Both celebrities jokingly tweeted about their experiences with the ad and how angry they were about Newcastle refusing to make the commercial, leaving them out of that job.

The campaign was hugely successful. The “anti-endorsement” celebrity tweets got 10 million views in two weeks. The campaign generated 600 organic media placements and earned 1 billion media impressions. The unmade ad made almost every major media outlets’ Top Ten Super Bowl Ads list. This was the first time that had ever happened for an ad that didn’t even run. It was also the #1 trending topic on Facebook for two days – ahead of the Super Bowl itself.


Spotify used its listener data to launch a campaign poking fun at its users by creating “thank you” ads calling out specific Spotify users on their listening habits. Spotify’s in-house team developed this series of ads, which ran in 13 countries at the end of 2016.

But that’s not all, Spotify then emailed customers with their specific listening data along with digital and social ads based on data-driven insights. Spotify is continually using tailored content to drive commotion and excite potential and current listeners.

According to YouGov brand tracking data, Spotify’s ad awareness increased by five points among all respondents after this campaign. Also, their word of mouth score increased by 16 points.


These campaigns are all good examples of how the nature of marketing is shifting. 2017 is only going to see more change and growth in consumer demands. This year is bound to have its share of unique marketing campaigns as well. Here are some trends to follow you create campaigns for 2017.

  • Ephemeral Content: Content that disappears with time): Snapchat and Instagram are just the start of time-bound posts that automatically delete. A new wave of timely content is sure to impress and intrigue consumers (Forbes)
  • Immersive content: This is augmented or virtual reality content like Pokemon Go. These campaigns take the interactive experience up a notch. This technology will only become more advanced and interactive in the coming year (Adage)
  • Native advertising: Paying for the placement of content on platforms outside the brand’s owned media. This content is not a traditional advertisement that directly promotes the companies’ product. It also doesn’t disrupt the user’s normal behavior on that particular channel. It usually blends in with the third parties’ natural content.

Use these case studies and tips for 2017 to skyrocket your marketing into wildly successful campaigns.

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