The best feel-good marketing campaigns of 2019
How can you gain new traction, audience, or support? Do good.
Creating inspirational campaigns that appeal to the good of humanity will never go out of style. Sometimes people will question the sincerity of these campaigns but if they are done right, real change can occur. That can come in the form of political change, environmental change, or even mass perspective change. Whatever change you want to see, touch on that in your next campaign strategy – it could stimulate the viral attention that we all work for. These companies and organizations seized the opportunity they saw to speak out on current controversies, support commonly ignored demographics, or just make a person’s day.
Here are the four best feel-good campaigns of 2019
University of Tennessee: Anti-Bullying Campaign
Came to a child’s rescue in reaction to a viral bullying story
In reaction to seeing a social post of a young boy bullied for wearing a homemade U of T t-shirt, The University decided to create an anti-bullying campaign and a new shirt design. Using the boy’s drawing, they created a new official shirt design and for every t-shirt purchased, a portion of the proceeds went to an anti-bullying fund. They also sent U of T gear to the boy and his entire class, thanking him for the new design.
Why it worked:
The quick turnaround in reaction to viral injustice was the perfect way to react to that social post. Having their name attached to this negative content (boy is bullied for wearing U of T gear) gave them the perfect way to jump in and offer help without seeming pushy or sales-y. Including a donation per purchase to a relevant cause also helped preserve the sincerity of the campaign.
It was also a very low-risk campaign – the financial input was only some swag send to the little boy, and the designing of the t-shirt. They could jump on the viral nature of the story and leverage organic engagement over an extensive paid strategy.
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This was a viral story that spread farther than just the local Florida community. This story received media attention, and as a result, the shirt was so popular it sold out and crashed the U of T gear website due to mass demand for shirt requests.
Support equal pay through the search for women’s soccer league sponsors
This is an interesting campaign in which Budweiser used their ad spend and ad space to promote not their brand, but other brands. The kicker is, the brands they promoted weren’t even determined. Confused? Here was the message:
Budweiser is one of a very small group of businesses that sponsor the Women’s National Soccer League. While the Men’s team has large sponsors like Coca-Cola, Target, and Kelloggs, The Women’s team only has 5 official sponsors wherein only 2 could be considered ‘major’. Seeing this blatant inequality, Budweiser took it into their own hands to create the ‘Future Official’ campaign to stimulate NWSL sponsorships from larger corporations such as themselves. The purpose of this campaign is to call out these large companies, list the benefits of sponsorship, and put into perspective the impact it has on equality. These sponsorships would embody major strides towards gender equality in sports and beyond.
Why it worked:
They used the face of the NWSL as the face of the campaign. Megan Rapinoe is the household name and face that even non-soccer fans would recognize. By putting her on the front of every ad and using her as the narrator for the commercial, it connects the widest possible audience to the cause. It also ads realism to the campaign much more so than a model or less-known player, because they chose a player who actively fights against gender inequality.
They kept their brand out of it. By putting the focus on the ‘Future Official’ sponsors instead of themselves, they hold onto the sincerity of the cause instead of riding on the controversy train for personal benefits. The undetermined brands in the ads take up exponentially more space than the Budweiser logo, which is very small and placed in the corner.
While the NWSL website still lists only five sponsors, the “it’s worth supporting” campaign video has over 1.4 million views and counting. While corporate sponsorships may take time, the larger movement of gender equality in sports is growing steadily.
Gillette: The Best A Man Can Be
A viral video touching on the #MeToo movement and toxic masculinity
This campaign could be considered one of the most controversial campaigns of the year with the most polarizing reviews. While some people adored the message, others vowed to never use a Gillette product again. In many ways, this controversy is the reason this ad was so successful. By closing the door on some of their original audience pool, they have opened the door for support from many more.
In this viral extended commercial, Gillette calls out men in a way that feels very urgent and direct. They call for equality, acceptance, and the overall abolishment of toxic masculinity. This ad does quick jumps from toxic practices of all ages from bullying to sexual harassment.
Why it worked:
Gillette decided they had to break a few eggs to make an omelet. It was no surprise that a portion of their followers took this message with an offense, stating publicly and on social media that they did not appreciate the scathing review of men. However, women had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the content. With this clash of opinion came an influx of attention and conversation. In this situation, all publicity was good publicity.
With this ad followed a lot of new support from females. And guess who usually buys toiletries for husbands, fathers, and sons? Women. So, this ad spoke the demographic that has the most purchase power for this product.
On top of that, the video has almost 33 million watches on YouTube. To put that in perspective, that is as many views as there are adults who live in the state of California.
A full campaign that tackles diverse representation in media
This multi-platform campaign push used video, print, and large-scale outdoor ads to promote one strong message – we need to have more representation in our advertising. This ad has several versions of the same idea – a real woman seeing people like herself in print. This campaign touched on age. race, color, gender roles, gender identity, levels of ability, and essentially every aspect that makes humans human.
Why it worked:
This campaign worked hard to not leave anyone out. They spanned the board and touched on many controversial issues that most brands won’t recognize in their content. The usage of many major languages set this ad up for international success, as people all over the world had something or someone to relate to in the videos and print ads.
They also add a CTA to the campaign which calls for action among women and non-binary individuals to send in photos to add to their gallery of definitions of beauty. This project includes spokespeople who want to promote diverse representation and use their platforms to spread the message of this project as well.
The project has had support and action from women and non-binary individuals across 39 countries and over 5000 organic submissions of photos. The main #showus video has been watched almost 200 thousand times. There are also several mini takes of behind the scenes footage, individual interviews, and extras that have thousands of views as well.
These companies hit the nail on the head in 2019 with their positive campaigns. Want to top this list in 2020? Reach out to our team to set up some feel-good campaigns!
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