Marketers share which campaigns they enjoyed most this year

For brands like Postmates and Zillow, the weirdness of 2021 led to some pretty creative work.
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Inspired by Iceland

· 4 min read

This year was a lot. We understand if you can barely remember what you had for breakfast this morning, let alone which campaigns impressed you the most in 2021.

Somehow, a few marketers we spoke to were able to reach back in time and pull forth their favorite campaigns from all of 2021—some debuting so early in the year that Kim and Pete Davidson weren’t even a thing yet. See what they had to say below.

Postmates: “Don’t Cookbook”

In March, Postmates came out with a cookbook that “involves no cooking.” Roni Sebastian, executive creative director at 160over90, said “it would have been easy (and expected) for them to lean directly into the pandemic cooking-burnout angle, but it was so much more creative and engaging to do so by offering an actual (non)cookbook…that ultimately drives home their value prop.” “Break Up with Your Brokerage,” starring Michael Bolton

This spot dropped as Robinhood was gearing up for its IPO, which is partly why Matthew Kobach, director of content marketing at Fast, told us he liked it so much. “Social media is so noisy. It’s hard to get people’s attention. So I enjoy weird ideas that get people’s attention. If only for a day,” Kobach said.

Zillow: “Susans”

Codi Johnson, social media marketing strategist at Mini Media Marketing, told us she picked this one not only because it was generally funny and relatable, but also because it’s easy to follow. “Choosing a home can be a stressful process, in which home buyers experience numerous emotions, and this ad perfectly explained that,” she said, adding that the “Me, me, me” chant at the end was the “cherry on top.”

Inspired by Iceland: “Introducing the Icelandverse”

Prashant Malaviya, professor of marketing and senior associate dean of MBA programs at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, told us the parody of the Meta brand launch by Iceland’s tourism board was among his favorites this year. “The Iceland ad was very clever, timely, poked fun, but in a fun sort of way that was not rude. Its timeliness made it stick in my mind. It kind of reminded me of the Oreo ad from a few years ago when they so cleverly used the power outage during the Super Bowl to promote Oreos,” Malaviya said.

Playboy’s rebrand

“I have loved watching Playboy’s rebrand. From Bretman Rock on the digital cover, to their work in the NFT space to the launch of BIGBUNNY, a luxury lifestyle brand (the name taken from the recently revived Big Bunny private jet),” Rare Beauty CMO Katie Welch wrote to us. “The fact that Playboy launched a luxury lifestyle brand, in my opinion, is totally unexpected.”

John Lewis: “Unexpected Guest”

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Deutsch New York’s EVP and head of planning Julie Kravetz said the retailer’s annual holiday ad remains one of her favorites this year. “Yes, it’s from the UK, and I am indeed a Brit, but this beautiful and emotional film will make anyone feel good—it’s like a big warm hug,” she explained. “The premise is simple: Boy meets girl, an unlikely friendship forms, and together they explore the magic of Christmas. Too often these days we use gimmicks, and provocation and excessive branding to engage and drive recall, so it’s nice to see work that’s just pure unadulterated storytelling.”

Lush Cosmetics’ “anti–social media policy”

“One of my favorite advertising campaigns from this year is actually less of a campaign and more of a pledge—Lush Cosmetics’ Global Anti-Social Media Policy,” freelance content creator Jayde Powell told us. “In November, they shared they would no longer be posting on Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Facebook. That’s a huge risk and hard stance for a large brand like Lush to take, but I believe it’s innovative and possibly the start of a migration for many brands realizing that social media, while beneficial for growth and community building, may not always be the best space to engage people.”


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