As we rang in a new year, we never realized we were accepting an invitation to one of the most challenging years yet. We unknowingly accepted an invitation to make big changes. 2020 has been a year that has stretched all of us. Our normal routines were disrupted, our process for building creative changed and yet, marketing never stopped being necessary. 

Here are the lessons we learned from our favorite campaigns throughout the year.

1. Innovation Doesn’t Require Something Brand New

Nike’s 2020 “You Can’t Stop Us” ad is an editing marvel. They found a way to be inclusive and inspiring without the need to shoot any new footage. The pandemic arrived and they didn’t let it stop their creativity and their drive. They repurposed what they had available to them and continued making an impact.

2. Old Successful Content Can Become New Successful Content

Apple produced a commercial last year called “Apple At Work – The Underdogs” which really was a fun, uplifting short film for anyone in the business world. It followed a team who had an idea, but had an opportunity to work hard and bring their concept to reality. Now, COVID-19 has happened and The Underdogs are back, but this time they’re WFH (Working From Home). 

Honestly it’s a pretty similar story to the first one. But, we were already in love with these characters and we needed to know what they were up to now. Apple changed the setting, presented new obstacles and featured new products/features, so it felt like a new adventure. We related to them in a time when nothing normal felt relatable anymore. They gave us something to laugh about while also reminding us that we have the tools we need to get the job done, no matter where we are. 

The lesson here? Don’t be afraid to repurpose, refocus or completely redo old content. Was it successful? Then, see if you can mimic it or expand its impact. Was it not successful? What can you change to make it more impactful?

3. A PSA From Your Brand Can Actually Be Great Marketing

As the pandemic ramped up, we all became quickly numb to the constant messaging of staying home and ‘we’re in this together’. But, Burger King, of all brands was able to turn their ad into a funny PSA for the times. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear that being a Couch Potatriot is our duty to form a better world?! 

They didn’t just talk about how easy it was to get your food delivered. They gave us permission to rest, stay home and be a help to society in a new, different way than most of us have ever experienced before. 

Here’s what we have to understand: Marketing can take a lot of different forms and when we have the opportunity to use it to make the world a better place, it’s our responsibility to take advantage of that opportunity.

4. The Words You Use Matters

This campaign reinforced the power language has on all of us. Amazon leaves every viewer with a small sense of accomplishment while sparking curiosity and action. 

Don’t let anyone tell you the words you use on a single advertisement or campaign aren’t important. Any marketing piece you choose should have a clear message. You aren’t just telling someone about your product. You’re inviting them into a new story. Read more of our Content Strategist Catie’s thoughts on this campaign and others here.

You Just Started A Book

5. TikTok & Ocean Spray Expand A Viral Moment

“One viral moment can have such an impact on people and advertising.” Rianna Klingler, Account Manager

And this is definitely proven with the viral TikTok video that took the platform by storm, plus a couple of other brands along the way. Here’s our key takeaway from this story (which you can read more about from Content Strategist, Blake’s perspective here): Planning is an excellent thing to do in marketing, but the best ideas sometimes come from those who love your product/service. 

If someone loves your brand, empower them to share that love. Listen to them. Embrace their story in your marketing and when moments like these strike, don’t be afraid to jump in and see where it takes you.

6. Marketing Has The Power to Empower

We’ll get through this together…it’s the common commercial phrase of 2020. The problem? It’s not just the monotony, it was that most brands never explained the ‘how’. 

The key with messages like this, is to actually be there for our customers/community when we say we will. AT&T showed up early and showed up strong. They didn’t just tell us they were here for us. They creatively empowered families who were now hosting their own school or university at home. Then, they took it a step further and committed to helping families who were struggling to stay connected to their child’s school online.

Now, we didn’t just sit around and watch other marketing firms have all the fun this year. Even though our team has been scattered physically this year, we’ve continued to take lessons like these and incorporate them into our clients’ marketing plans. Check out some of the work we accomplished this year and the impact it had for our clients.

Catie Overby

Article Written By:

Catie Overby

Content Strategist/Carries Ranch in Her Purse like Hand Sanitizer