Ready to get your creative juices flowing? Check out how notable industry leaders execute creative brand campaigns that are truly out of the box.
Category: Ownable conversations
Creativity in action: At a time when everyone seems to be talking about space and the metaverse, Salesforce has decided to swim against the current and create their own conversation. Earlier this year, the company unveiled #TeamEarth: a global campaign that puts our planet first and features new partner and brand advisor Matthew McConaughey.
Debuting during this year’s Super Bowl, the mission-driven TV spot stirs up a sense of urgency about sustainability. The creative brand campaign features a website with education, inspiration, and opportunities to join in on the movement — whether that means building ethical businesses, aiming for net zero emissions, or simply planting a tree.
Inspiration: “When our world is spinning out of control, we find our footing in rock-solid values. Businesses on #TeamEarth live their values and get busy fixing what’s broken. Together, we believe business is the greatest platform for change and are taking action to build a better, more equitable, and sustainable future. For our planet, and everyone on it.”
Visionary insight: “We have enough fluffy razzle-dazzle in the world; we need to get real and focus on saving the planet, helping our society, helping our communities and small business,” said Sarah Franklin, CMO at Salesforce. “The Super Bowl is an incredible stage to invest in because we have so much attention from people from all walks of life.”
studioID takeaway: We can’t all get the likes of Matthew McConaughey on our side. But your company’s creativity needs no bounds.
Savvy brands already recognize that the opportunity in our over-served content market is to establish credibility, authority, and expertise through thought leadership.
— Lieu Pham, VP, Marketing Strategy at studioID
This means participating and leading conversations across specific areas of your expertise/values and what your audience cares about, also known as “ownable conversations.” In Salesforce’s case, that equates to a unique stance on climate change and saving the environment. What might that look like on your end?
Spotify: A Song for Every CMO
Category: Innovative sounds
Creativity in action: In a move that sent serious waves of delight across the industry, Spotify Advertising once again turned what they know best (music and user data) into pure, personalization-driven marketing. To bring A Song for Every CMO to life, the team reached out to a selection of CMOs to confirm their favorite genre before creating a custom-made song for each participant.
The lyrics in each song are tailored to (literally) sing the praises of the individual, in a way only Spotify could. This was a chance to highlight these individuals, and thank them for their partnership over the years.
To top things off and commemorate the drop, they scheduled five minutes with each CMO to play their track and sent over a framed platinum record of their single to enjoy.
Inspiration: “No splashy IRL events, no problem. At Spotify Advertising, we came up with a new way to make connections with our top advertiser partners… A Song for Every CMO is our playful way of celebrating the industry leaders who inspire us — and who we might normally get a chance to network with in person.”
Visionary insight: “This initiative was a chance to have some fun with our partners and showcase the creative potential of audio to inspire rich storytelling,” Global Director of Enterprise Marketing Sarah Kiefer explains. “The beauty of digital audio is that it’s a flexible, nimble format, even remotely…universally beloved and deeply immersive…Advertisers can reach this audience in relevant moments when their audience is listening intently to high-quality content.”
studioID takeaway: Ever the innovator, Spotify was among the first to point out music and audio’s vast branding potential. Their studies show that “Respondents were 24% more likely to buy a product with music that they recall, like and understand, according to Global Creative Director Rich Frankel. And “brands with music that fit their identity are 96% more likely to be recalled than those with non-fit music or no music at all.”
Consequently, start-ups that make custom songs for brands to use on platforms like TikTok are popping up left and right. Where might that fit into your marketing mix?
Santander: We Stand for Newsstand
Category: Experiential marketing
Creativity in action: To combat the physical/print material crisis the publishing industry is currently facing, Santander Bank is forging forward in Brazil with a creative brand campaign to save newsstands and their owners — one branded kiosk at a time.
With livelihoods at risk and São Paulo losing one newsstand per day, the financial institution created a genius way to build brand awareness while uplifting these small businesses. Santander is making business owners bank correspondents and partnering them up with other vendors for increased revenues across the board. And they’re just getting started.
We are creating hundreds of new touchpoints where we not only claim to support, but really step up for businesses.
— Igor Puga, CMO, Santander Brasil
Inspiration: “The way we consume information has changed a lot in the last decades; bad news for newsstands. The way thousands earn their living was at the verge of closing its doors. That’s why we stand for newsstands.”
Visionary insight: “The result of the 6-month program is very encouraging,” according to The One Club for Creativity. “With 300 newsstands in the program, the bank expanded its service network by 10%, reaching even 20 small towns that did not have any bank branches…Finally, and most importantly, each of these newsstand owners has seen their income increase by an average of 30% since they joined in.
studioID takeaway: This kind of brilliant synergy of corporate responsibility and business goals doesn’t happen overnight. But we hope to see much more of it. At your next brainstorming session, see what you can come up with when you start thinking in terms of doing good — for your community as well as your company.
Skittles: Apologize the Rainbow, Taste the Rainbow
Category: Human-to-human marketing
Creativity in action: Talk about making the most of user-generated content! Using opinionated tweets about the absence of the beloved lime flavor, Skittles created an unforgettable digital marketing moment with a live-streamed, actor-performed faux press conference. Offering a not-so-corporate apology by flipping the trope on its head, the brand kicked off a tongue-in-cheek apology tour, directing its atonements at each of the 130,880 people who complained online about the flavor switch. And this creative brand campaign worked wonders.
Beyond serving as a mea culpa, Marketing Dive says the effort could have been a way to drive interest and subscriptions to Skittles’ Twitch page — which definitely worked. “For the livestream itself, we saw more than 136,000 unique viewers on Twitch – which was a new benchmark for Mars,” said DDB Executive Creative Director Colin Selikow.
We’ve got more than 24,000 comments on the content on TikTok alone. And we’ve definitely seen a spike in Lime Skittles conversation and search behavior since launch.
Inspiration: “The lime-lover angst had been brewing for years,” says creative agency DDB Chicago’s Global Strategy Director Josh Drueck. “Since #greenapplegate in 2013, seemingly every social post from the brand has been co-opted by people expressing their displeasure or desire to bring back the lime flavor.”
Visionary insight: “The comments and chat were a huge part of the experience,” Selikow shared. “Seeing them react to it in real-time made the whole apology so much more personal. And given how vitriolic a place the internet can often be, it was amazing to see how positive the conversation actually was.”
studioID takeaway: Humanization is the new personalization and targeted, niche content makes your customer the hero of the story — which is exactly what made Skittles’ PR stunt such a success. Try looking for opportunities to add a sense of humor and a personal touch to build brand loyalty and trust.
Sherwin-Williams: Speaking in Color
Category: New technologies
Creativity in action: Building off of past high-tech creative B2B campaigns like “Color Mixology and Thinking in Color, this creative brand campaign uses AI-powered, voice-control to find your perfect color paint. Dubbed as a voice-activated AI color system, the makers promise (and deliver) that, “for the first time ever, color can be spoken into existence.”
The tool’s custom algorithm allows you to tweak colors in a way that translates statements like ‘make it dimmer,’ ‘add warmth,’ or ‘more like the 1980s’ into mathematical adjustments.
Inspiration: “Architects and like-minded innovators are obsessed with finding the perfect color to match their vision. And while the human eye can detect over 1 million colors, we don’t see, experience, or remember them in the same way – meaning finding THE perfect color is a huge challenge.”
Visionary insight: “With each use, Speaking In Color is creating one of the largest data sets of color attribution in the world,” according to Wunderman Thompson, Sherwin Williams advertising partner. “As a result, we’re gaining insights into the global, cultural, and geographical influences of individual colors. This gives Sherwin-Williams an advantage in color mapping, predicting trends, and understanding the role color plays in all of our lives.”
studioID takeaway: From AI and robotics to virtual and augmented realities, the market is teeming with new kinds of experiences that are designed to engage and convert customers — but also to help, uplift, and create more meaningful connections. Might there be a way for your company to use emerging technologies to inspire and delight your customers?
🔍 Wondering how your brand can push the envelope on creativity? Watch Episode 2 of StudioID’s investigative marketing series, Into the Funnel.