Best and Worst Marketing Campaigns

There are so many great campaigns out there, it was hard to pick only a few… But here are my favourite ones:



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In February 2018, KFC’s business in the U.K. ran out of chicken. Yep. This ad ran full-page in Metro, the U.K.’s newspaper, followed by an apology by the company. We can all guess what they mean when they use the letters FCK in that particular order… Which shows this company can laugh at itself and bounce back from a pretty bad faux-pas!


This one isn’t actually a marketing campaign but a tweet which I thought was worthy of a mention. Social media done right!

Another company making the best out of a bad situation is Lidl: last year, during Storm Emma, one of their stores was looted, and a large digger was used to break into the building, wreaking its roof.

Lidl’s tweet in response to that event was hilarious:

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The following campaigns will give you all the feels:


Here, Heineken pairs strangers by giving them a task. They start getting along while completing said task. In the end, they find out they are diametrically opposed in their ideas and opinions: for example, a feminist is paired up with a man who believes a woman’s place is in the kitchen. After that, they get a choice: discuss their differences while sipping a beer, or leave.


Airbnb’s “We Accept” campaign was aired during the 2017 Super Bowl to promote acceptance, in response to accusations that some of its hosts were discriminating against guests on the basis of race and gender, by introducing a nondiscrimination policy on their site. It has since been seen more than 5 million times on YouTube.


This ad went viral after the commercial ran in the 2015 Super Bowl. In this campaign, girls and women are asked to do something “like a girl”. What we see is that that has somehow become a bad thing. By the end of the ad, the message is clear and inspiring: doing something “like a girl” is a good thing, and girls are just as fit and capable as boys are.


In this video, Google shows us what users have searched for the most this particular year. It’s a very powerful and uplifting video.


Dove has done many powerful and empowering videos. In this one, women describe themselves to an FBI-trained forensic artist who sketches them. It explores the gap between how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves.

Ad Council

“Before anything else, we’re all human.”

The following ad caused quite the controversy when asking the question “Is this the best a man can get?”


Some men’s feelings were hurt:

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Other were smart enough to get the message:

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Gillette wrote on its website: “From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette. In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more.”

Currently, the ad has gathered 68k likes and 96k dislikes on YouTube.

Whether it was liked or not, it most certainly made people talk about it.



On the other hand, another Airbnb campaign went quite wrong:

Shell, the woman featured in this video, turned out to be listing on Airbnb properties she didn’t own, violating her lease with the owner. Oops.

Dove also had a major marketing fail (with several campaigns, but we’ll just mention one here).

Here was one of the many reactions to the racially insensitive campaign (figuring on the right):

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Another insensitive campaign was from Pepsi, who used major social issues like racism and police brutality, to try to sell their product. The result was a complete outrage, and the ad was ridiculed on social media and parodied.


Being funny or making people feel emotional is always a good idea, as your campaign will be more likely to be remembered.

The common thing about all those great campaigns is that it’s not about the product. In fact, it is barely mentioned, only at the end, as a solution to pain points.


It was quite hard to find campaigns that would be relevant to my app, but after discussing the subject with one of my classmates, we realised that I should focus on campaigns linking people together such as the Heineken one for example.

Here are more great campaigns you should definitely have a look at:

18 lessons we can learn from Airbnb, Nike and IKEA in 2017

The 18 Best Advertisements of All Time

Gillette ad causes uproar with men’s rights activists

18 of the Biggest Recent Marketing Fails You Can Learn From in 2018


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