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The Story So Far: 4 of the Best Content Marketing Campaigns of 2023

Published on May 17, 2023

The Story So Far: 4 of the Best Content Marketing Campaigns of 2023
Anastasia Dyakovskaya
Anastasia Dyakovskaya studioID

What’s going on with content marketing in 2023? The best way to find out is to take a closer look at the landscape. This year, top brands have been leveraging AI and audience data to create outstanding video and interactive content that not only reaches but truly resonates with their targets. For some great ideas and inspo, read on to discover some of the best content marketing campaigns of 2023 so far. 

Mint Mobile Shows Us What ChatGPT Can Do

AI might be everywhere, but it hasn’t taken over the world quite yet. Although Mint Mobile demonstrates how powerful AI can be, note how specific the prompt is — or rather, how detailed it has to be to get that kind of result: “Write a commercial for Mint Mobile in the voice of Ryan Reynolds. Use a joke, a curse word, and let people know that Mint’s holiday promo is still going, even after the big wireless companies have ended theirs.” 

According to the Content Marketing Institute — and proven in the ad above — the right prompt is your main ticket to creating ChatGPT content worth using for work, creativity, and marketing efforts. And the more specific you can get, the more relevant and human-like the response will be. 

Related Reading: Embracing AI — 5 Reasons Marketers Shouldn’t Fear Artificial Intelligence

Mint Mobile extended the life of its one-minute spot with associated social media posts from the founder and well-known actor: “If this Mint Mobile ad works out, I’m also going to let #ChatGPT raise my children,” along with other engaging comments like “Mildly terrified of the punishment it’d come up with if they don’t do their chores.” 

While AI-produced copy is leveraged, it’s brought to life by a well-loved actor with the right mix of humor and intrigue — all delivered in a no-frills, approachable style. Unlike some of the recent ChatGPT-led campaigns we’ve seen, this one has the right blend of elements to feel authentic — earning it a spot as one of the best content marketing campaigns of 2023 so far. 

Honorable Mention: Storied’s ChatGPT-Created Characters

Storied, a genealogy website that lets you create a collaborative and interactive family tree, recently took to ChatGPT to bring efficiency to their production process. For their new Glory to Your Story campaign, the brand “used the buzzy machine learning tool to produce a set of character backstories for a fictional family that would serve as the foundation for the spots,” according to Adweek. And “by having human copywriters brainstorm an initial script and then extending the narrative with AI, the team claims it was able to pull together the polished campaign at a fraction of what it would have otherwise cost.”

[ChatGPT] just cut down significantly on the amount of time it takes not just to write the script, but to make a lot of creative decisions.

–  Brandon Camp, CMO at Storied

Bumble Wins Hearts with (Fake) First-Party Data image

For April Fool’s Day this year, the women-first dating and social networking app Bumble had just the thing to lighten users’ spirits: the Ex-Box. According to Bumble’s recent survey, “98% of respondents say they wish they had a place to get rid of their ex-partners’ things, and 99% said still having some of their ex’s belongings around keeps them from moving on.

The only rational response? A series of (unfortunately fake) 5,000 square-foot pop-ups across New York, Austin, and L.A. to dump any residuals from former flames — save the actual ex, as the brand also took care to point out.

These pop-ups are a physical embodiment of giving our community the fresh start they need on their dating journey.

– Bumble

All jokes aside, though, real research from the company shows that 70% of their global users report feeling “positive about the romance that lies ahead this year, highlighting their look forward to a fresh start in 2023.” So this tongue-in-cheek content marketing campaign was actually rooted in real information about their customer base, which is precisely why it struck such a chord.

The more you know about and understand your audience, the better you can craft content marketing and experiences that really resonate with them. Even if you don’t have access to the kind of data Spotify has — a brand that’s been leading the way in best-in-class, data-driven content marketing for years — getting a better understanding of your target may be easier than you think. Reports like studioID’s Audience Snapshots 2023 provide industry-specific insights into the issues + trends your target audience is revolving around right now.

For us, data is this incredible insight to know what’s happening deeply inside someone…You have to be listening.

– Seth Farbman, CMO at Spotify

Nike Stands Out with Short-Form, Vertical Video

With the latest YouTube Shorts figures coming in at 1.5 billion monthly active users and more than 50 billion daily views, the platform presents a huge opportunity for advertisers and marketers who are willing to invest in storytelling. And Nike is getting in on the action in a major way. 

Whether it’s on the subject of high fashion, skateboarding, behind-the-scenes peeks into fan-favorite products and fabrication materials, or fitness inspo and interviews,  Nike’s not afraid to get experimental when it comes to their YouTube Shorts

And they’re not alone. Due to soaring demand, HubSpot reported this year that 90% of marketers will increase or maintain their investment in short-form videos. In turn, “many creators are innovating with shorter form, ‘snackable’ content to meet the needs of these viewers,” says Dyana Najdi, Managing Director of Video and Display for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Google. And, like Nike, “they’re seeing immense success.”

With only 10 to 60 seconds of available ad time, there’s no need to set up a premise or establish a storyline with lots of extra context…Videos should jump straight into the action.

Related Reading: 5 Short-Form Video Trends for Share-Worthy Content in 2023

That’s just what the sportswear giant does, jumping from topic to topic as they strive to entertain, inspire, and educate fans around the globe in 15 seconds flat. But it’s not just huge brands like Nike that can win in this arena. International fitness brand Les Mills has seen similar success on YouTube Shorts in a recent effort to drive more sign-ups. 

To do so, the team decided to bet on short-form, vertical video — cleverly produced with content they repurposed from existing social media efforts. As a result, “the campaign exceeded expectations by generating a 52% increase in click-through rate, while reducing cost,”  according to Think With Google, thanks to “a 10% decrease in cost per acquisition and a 16% decrease in cost per impression.”

Incorporating vertical video has enabled us to reach incremental audiences during their different watch states and, ultimately, drive more people to work out with us.

– Michael Fitzpatrick, Marketing Manager at Les Mills

HBO’s “The Last of Us” Lures Us In with Interactive Content

If it seemed like this year’s smash-hit series came out of nowhere, you’re obviously not a gamer. To hype up the pilot episode, the show’s marketers pulled out all the stops. In the weeks leading up to its release, HBO hosted a slew of sold-out events, pre-screenings, and other immersive experiences designed to bring the franchise to life and introduce it to new audiences. But the effort’s very first content teasers were actually released as far back as two years ago.

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HBO’s VP of Marketing Emily Giannusa reveals that, “to start the campaign, we had to establish authenticity with the fan base.” To do so, they partnered with the video game’s developer to drop a first look to insiders in 2021, followed by more teaser content, like clips and stills from the first season that gamers would be sure to recognize. “We called it breadcrumb content,” Giannusa shared, which entailed giving “the fans little pieces of breadcrumbs to show that we’re going to stay faithful to the source material, but with the premium quality of HBO.”

You have to always be listening to the data and the audiences and the insights.

With the results HBO’s seen, the team must have been doing something right when it comes to paying attention to its consumer base. With over 57 million organic views in its first 72 hours, the show’s first trailer became the most-watched promo in HBO history. Giunnusa credits the data. “We were really fortunate to start a year out and be able to map content and experiences to specific audiences, and make sure it spoke to them,” they said. 

The lesson? By driving fans to related online resources and virtual events while recreating the game’s most iconic scenes and mushroom-zombies for photo and social sharing opps — in-person and with augmented reality via Snapchat and TikTok — the team was able to build an enormous amount of awareness and genuine curiosity.

Create marketing your target audience will love. Access exclusive engagement data from 14+ million decision-makers across 28 industries with studioID’s Audience Snapshots 2023.