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Our five favourite marketing campaigns of 2020

2020 was an unforgettable year to say the least. As marketers navigated the challenges of the pandemic, having to execute campaigns remotely and, for quite some time, not being able to get out on shoots, all while trying to keep up to speed on rapidly changing consumer buying habits, the industry had to quickly pivot and adapt with the evolving times.

However, that being said, many brands did manage to cut through the noise with some inspiring, inventive and most-importantly creative campaigns. Here’s our top five from the unprecedented year that was 2020:

Tesco’s No Naughty List

First up, Tesco’s No Naughty List Christmas campaign. Every year consumers across the UK look forward to the Christmas ads that are going to take over our screens for the season and, as we all know, it’s essential that brands get the message right. We certainly think Tesco hit the nail on the head with its ‘No Naughty List’ campaign for 2020, given the year everyone had had. The ad reflected the mood of the nation well, contained comedic snippets of confessions from members of the public and most importantly, encouraged us not to be too hard on ourselves. The use of Britney’s well-known noughties hit added a bit of nostalgia and the festive products that were seamlessly integrated into the content left our mouths watering. Our client BBF even got in on the action, with the Finest Chocolate Orange and Maple Bauble Cake it had produced for the retailer, getting a starring role in the campaign!

The UK’s major supermarkets stand together against racism

Speaking of supermarkets, the UK’s major grocery retailers - including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Iceland, Lidl, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose & Partners - set rivalries aside to unite against racism. The organisations teamed up with Channel 4 to take a stance against racism, following the response to Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, which featured a black family reminiscing about their dad’s gravy and his famous gravy song. The response resulted in the retailer even having to disable comments from its social media channels. Following this, the competitors joined together for the first time to take over two Channel 4 ad breaks, featuring bespoke introductions from the broadcaster explaining to viewers that ‘Channel 4 stands up against racism’. The brands also showcased their unity on social media where the ad breaks were published simultaneously with the TV activity. The campaign certainly sparked some great conversation and really inspired the nation to come together in the fight against racism.

Burger King’s #WhopperAndFriends

Burger King’s #WhopperAndFriends campaign first caught people’s attention by promoting rivals like McDonald’s in a bid to support the hospitality industry. Whilst the campaign aimed to portray the act of coming together and supporting each other, it did receive some backlash due to its promotion of big corporations which were more likely to survive the pandemic. Burger King listened to the feedback and adapted its campaign by pivoting to promote smaller independent businesses in the industry. 

The fast-food chain took a break from its regular stream of burger content to make its Instagram channel freely available for the independents to utilise. While Burger King did miss the mark in the first instance, the brand eventually used its global platform for the greater good of the smaller players in the business, and we praise Burger King for quickly switching things up to help those doing everything they can to merely stay afloat. Win-win, as the brand’s Instagram feed looks great too!

Google’s #DearLocal

2020 also saw Google launch its #DearLocal campaign – another great response to a challenging year for small businesses. The tech giant’s adverts and social content aimed to encourage viewers to support local businesses by leaving a Google review. World heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua, also got involved in the action - starring in an advert where he visits his local businesses and explores their stories. The campaign lands a place in our top five as it struck a great balance of advertising Google’s services, whilst also expressing the importance of community, particularly during a year when local businesses needed the support more than ever before.

ITV’s Britain Get Talking

Last but not least, ITV’s Britain Get Talking campaign certainly deserves some recognition. While this campaign technically began in 2019 it’s continuation into 2020 was welcome, through a time it was more important than ever to ease stress, reduce anxiety and stay connected to support our loved ones. The campaign encompassed broadcast adverts, messages interrupting prime time TV shows and also called for the nation to help support its charity partners, Mind, Scottish Association for Mental Health and Young Minds, in their missions for better mental health. The pandemic resulted in a mental health emergency and ITV really did get it right with this creative, compelling and relevant campaign, which really has helped to make a difference.

Do you have a favourite campaign from 2020? Let us know!

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