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Our Favourite Marketing Campaigns of 2020

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Forget The Christmas Campaign Battle…

As 2020 continues to fade into the distance of last year, at ZapHub we decided to take a look back at our favourite Social Media Campaigns from 2020. 

2020 will forever be remembered as the year that we were locked down. 

We were told not to go outside, not to go to work, and we had to say goodbye to some of our favourite brands for a short period of time. It was the first mass ‘hibernation’ of the UK since the end of World War 2.

The time after the first lockdown in March was crucial for brands to stay relevant, and the challenge of connecting with their consumer’s experiences birthed a fierce competition for social marketing campaigns. Forget the yearly battle for the best Christmas advert, 2020 was all about the best Coronavirus comeback advert. Here are some of our favourite marketing campaigns from 2020:

1. Netflix “Stay at Home”

During March when the first lockdown measures were introduced across much of Europe and the world, Netflix launched a campaign to encourage people to comply with the lockdown rules and stay home to reduce the spread of the virus. 

In a humoured attempt to discourage people from unnecessary travel on public transport, Netflix launched its “Stay at Home” campaign. Overnight, billboards, bus stops and tube stations were decorated with Netflix propaganda, giving spoilers to some of Netflix’s most popular box sets and movies. Key spoilers from Stranger Things, Narcos and Love is Blind were plastered across London. 

As Netflix said, if the guidance in place wasn’t enough to encourage people to stay home, spoilers from the Netflix box sets they were watching definitely was! While we’ll never fully know how effective this campaign was in keeping people at home, it definitely stuck out to us as a pretty ingenious way to promote some key plotlines whilst doing a bit of public good…

2. Budweiser “Whassup (Quarantine)”

The Budweiser ‘whassup’ catchphrase has been a fundamental part of the beer giant’s marketing since 1999. When the catchphrase made a reappearance during the March lockdown, fans were ecstatic to see the original film being used, the only difference being the new overlaid dialogue. 

We’re not sure people needed much of an excuse to drink during lockdown but the Budweiser took the opportunity to go beyond their usual product-focused marketing approach.

The ad was incredibly relevant to the dialogue of mental health that arose during the lockdown and joked on the typical ‘laddish’ exchange of words in male friendships.

The campaign highlighted the importance to check up on friends and family during the pandemic. Budweiser certainly tackled the challenges that beverage brands faced of keeping their brand relevant whilst pubs were closed and sports were cancelled with this entertaining entry to our list.

3. Burger King “The Mouldy Whopper”

It wasn’t just the pandemic in the public eye in 2020. Year on year pressure is mounting on food and beverage brands to become healthier. In 2020, Burger King took a pledge to reduce the use of preservatives in their food, which was publicised on their social media as “The Mouldy Whopper”. 

With the ever contentious phrase of ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’ ringing in their ears, Burger King launched this audacious campaign. We saw Burger King’s bravery rewarded last year with an unforgettable video campaign. 

Underlining BK’s shift away from using artificial preservatives, the video showcased the classic Whopper burger’s (pretty disgusting) decline. In a time-lapse of 30 days, it documented the burger deteriorating into a pile of mould. On the first day alone that the video was released, over 50,000 people took to social media to express their disgust at the video. On this day, over a ‘whopping’ 60% of all Burger King mentions across social media were negative (Brandwatch). You can bet there were some tense times in the BK marketing office while they waited for the dust to settle.

However, upon reflection, boasting almost 2 million views on YouTube and over 21 million impressions on social media… is there such a thing as bad publicity? Whatever you think of the unappetising images, they won’t be forgotten for a while! Can’t say we fancy a Whopper anytime soon though…

4. The AA “Love That Feeling”

During the tough time that was lockdown, many of our well-known brands showed their support to us through sentimental marketing campaigns. As consumers became flooded with ads of this type, it was the comedic ads which really stole the limelight. In such a tough time it was crucial to remain optimistic and laugh instead of being force-fed corporate faux sympathy.

In the early summer months, The AA revealed its adorable new mascot, Tukker. Like all of us, Tukker had spent his lockdown dreaming of the freedom he would regain after the pandemic was under control. The ad sees Tukker recreating the joys of driving, as he sits in his yellow living room in a pair of sunglasses, listening to his favourite driving song and sitting in front of a fan. 

The “Love That Feeling” campaign still reigns champion for the highest engagement across any other AA campaign, thanks to The AA for bringing us laughter and warm nostalgia amongst the stress and loneliness that was the first lockdown. 

Sure, this campaign isn’t the most innovative or controversial on the list, but it resonated the strongest with our team. We never thought we’d have missed the morning drive to the office or battling for a Sunday morning parking spot, but The AA left us hopeful and excited for summer days & the freedom of driving again.

So there it is; a quick roundup of our favourite campaigns for 2020. Honourable mention must go to Samsung for consistently smashing their marketing in 2020. What do you think? Did we miss any? Get in touch to have your say!

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