If the year 2020 had to be summed up in one word, it is unprecedented. The word was uttered by journalists all over the world as humankind wrestled with the challenges this year threw at us. The most successful marketing campaigns were able to thrive by being quick to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances of 2020.

Related: Your Ultimate Guide To Nonprofit Marketing

What makes a successful marketing campaign?

People want to consume content that enriches their lives. Successful brands are the ones that find that sweet spot between their audience’s interests and the values of the business.

Here are some of the best marketing campaigns of 2020, and what lessons we learned from them!

1. World Health Organization’s COVID-19 PSA’s

In order to maximize health and safety across the globe, the World Health Organization (WHO) created viral PSA’s aimed to inform people about the COVID-19 virus, and to stop the spread of misinformation.

Advertising platforms such as Facebook even offered the WHO free advertising.

What can we learn from the WHO’s COVID-19 ad campaign?

Last year, nearly every brand out there released some form of COVID-19 related content. Promoting messages that aim to protect our society shows your consumers that you care about their well-being. And the WHO’s COVID-19 campaign consistently came through with informative content.

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2. Gillette’s #TheBestAManCanBe campaign and #MeToo activism.

Gillette made the bold choice to update their 30-year-old slogan “the best a man can get” to “the best men can be” in their advertising campaign in January 2020. The ad addresses the #MeToo movement and the societal issue of toxic masculinity. It was emotionally impactful, but also did a brilliant job at reassuring Gillette’s commitment to the cause.

The marketing campaign was accompanied by a donation of $1 million every year for the next three years to non-profit organizations designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal best.

What can we learn from Gillette’s #TheBestAManCanBe marketing campaign?

Gillette’s campaign is a great example of how brands can voice their support for sensitive social issues. This brings much-needed awareness to the cause they are supporting, as well as renewed interest around the brand itself! Win-win!

Related: 8 Tips To Writing Great Facebook Ads Descriptions + Examples and Free Tool

3. Burger King’s moldy Whopper campaign.

In February 2020, Burger King announced that they had removed all artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors from their Whoppers. To showcase their new burger, they released the Moldy Whopper marketing campaign, which intended to show that their new burger would eventually get moldy due to the use of fresh ingredients.

The reactions among marketing experts were mixed, but one thing everyone agreed on was that this definitely generated buzz!

What can we learn from Burger King’s moldy Whopper ad campaign?

This marketing campaign teaches us not be afraid to take risks, as long as the underlying message frames your brand in a positive light.

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4. Volkswagen’s snowy scavenger hunt and goodbye to the Beetle.

2020 became the year Volkswagen bid adieu to their iconic Beetles in a campaign that simultaneously promoted their new Passat Alltrack vehicle. They teamed up with the Swedish national ski team to host a unique scavenger hunt where the first person to find the hidden Passat Alltrack got to keep it!

The series of commercials called ‘The No Show Room’, featured breathtaking shots of the vehicle in Sweden’s snowy terrain, while also dropping hints about its location.

What can we learn from Volkswagen’s The No Show Room ad campaign?

Volkswagen strategically demonstrated the Passat Alltrack’s features in this campaign by showing it drive through harsh weather conditions, while the scavenger hunt was a brilliant example of interactive content, which encourages the audience to directly engage with the ad!

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5. Facebook’s first Super Bowl commercial!

Facebook aired a 60-second commercial for Facebook Groups during the fourth quarter of the 2020 Super Bowl. The ad, called “Ready to Rock?” featured celebrity appearances from actor Sylvester Stallone and comedian Chris Rock, and highlighted several rock-themed Facebook Groups such as Table Rock Lake and Rocky Balboa Going the Distance.

The commercial was quirky and drew a lot of praise for its fun wordplay!

What can we learn from Facebook’s Super Bowl campaign?

Facebook has seen a steady decline in users from the mid-2010s until now, while other social media outlets have increased exponentially.

This is a great example of how to target your audience. What better way to reach Americans than through an ad during the most-watched event of the year?

Looking for ways to implements the lessons learned here? Check out the amazing features Simplified has to offer for brand marketing!

Also, here’s a quick video guide for you to ease your process:

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