3 Creative Campaigns We Love (And Why They Worked)

Written by: Marissa Bruette

Creative campaigns are a way to keep audiences engaged and keep marketers on their toes. Check out three of our favorite creative campaigns below and find out why they worked. 

1. Travel Campaign: Airbnb+ 23andme: “Heritage Travel” 

Airbnb teamed up with 23andMe for a creative traveling campaign. Having collected data about travelers, Airbnb noticed a growing trend of heritage travel; traveling to places based on your family roots. Looking to stay ahead of the competition, Airbnb teamed up with the DNA genetic testing platform 23andMe to leverage this trend. After a customer received their 23andMe results, they were also given a curated list of Airbnb homes in the regions their ancestors were traced back to. 

Success: This campaign received national media attention and sparked a wide range of “heritage travel” campaigns. 

Why it worked: Airbnb ran a series of video based ads showing families traveling together to places their ancestors were from. The campaign received placements in Forbes, Vox, and more. The campaign worked because it was driven by consumer data. Airbnb’s user survey showed that people were interested in heritage travel, so they found a way to bring that to life. Along with being data-driven, this campaign shows that success not only lies in trend forecasting but also in strategic partnerships. 

2. PSA Campaign: Budweiser: “Friends are Waiting” 

This online-only ad aired on “Global Be(er) Responsible Day” and included the hashtag #FriendsAreWaiting. The ad shows a man leaving his dog at home while he goes out with friends and a case of beer. The dog lays around the house sad and lonely. The audience is led to believe the owner has died in a DUI related accident until the next day when he comes home. He apologizes to the dog saying that he made plans to sleep out after deciding he shouldn’t drive. The tagline reads “Make a plan to make it home, your friends are counting on you”. 

Success: The 1-minute ad had over 10 million views in 4 days and received national media coverage.  #FriendsAreWaiting was a trending topic the day it was released. It has over 20,000,000 views on Youtube and won Adweek’s “Ad of the Day” award, Advertising Age’s “Ad of the week” and a SHORTY Award

Why it worked: It told an age-old story in a new way. We all have seen the statistics of why not to drink and drive, but this ad used more than that. It also leveraged the fact their millennial audiences love animals and told the story through the dog’s point of view, making it easy for their audience to have an emotional attachment to the story. The hashtag made it simple for people to interact with the story and being online-only made audiences have to seek it out if they wanted to be a part of the conversation. 

3. Experiential campaign: Refinery 29, 29rooms 

Experiential marketing is a marketing strategy that turns marketing into a hands-on experience for its consumers and helps the brand share what they stand for. Refinery29 uses experiential marketing with 29Rooms, an exhibition of 29 themed rooms full of interactive art and workshops. Each room is uniquely designed by both local and regional artists and sponsored by brand partners. Some invite you to create music by punching the walls, some let you become the artist by smearing makeup on the walls. No matter the theme, these rooms are designed to act as Instagram backdrops. 

Success: In 2017, the event sold over 20,000 tickets and doubled Refinery29’s social media impressions to 729 million. The event became increasingly popular online and in-person because of the immense amount of user-generated content. Total social engagement in 2017 reached over 520 million with the numbers increasing every year since. 

Why it Worked: 29rooms works because it turns advertising into an immersive experience. Attendees can’t help but snap a picture and share it online. The carefully curated rooms also allow marketers to interact directly with consumers. When the attendees share their photos, it becomes free social promotion for the brands and the event itself.  29Rooms also brings Refinery29 to life and shows off their core values as a brand to position themselves as thought leaders in culture and community.