The best marketing campaigns of 2023: Part 2

From M&S to Guinness to Cadbury, the Marketing Week team reveals the second six campaigns that make up our best of 2023.

Cadbury – ‘Garage’

Cadbury has been using its wildly successful ‘Glass and a Half’ brand platform effectively for half a decade now. It is built around a simple message: generosity, with campaigns from ‘Mum’s Birthday’ to ‘Speakerphone’ delighting audiences with an uncomplicated, heart-warming message.

But few could have predicted the success of Cadbury’s first 2023 effort all the way back in January. ‘Garage’, created with VCCP, follows the template but elevates it to new heights. It is a simple advert about a garage cashier being bought a bar of chocolate by her dad.

Simple, but very effective. System1 declared it the “best ad of 2023” just a couple of weeks into the year and it’s not hard to see why. It scored the “Test Your Ad triple”, as it dubbed it, of “exceptional” scores in long-term brand building as well as short-term spike and brand fluency. Similar accolades followed from Kantar, and Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson recently described it as: “The one that went beyond anything I thought even their inestimable agency VCCP could produce. There is something in this ad that makes it lasting.”

It’s a campaign – and a platform – that has helped Cadbury scale to heights it hasn’t seen since its ‘Gorilla’ heyday. Brand Finance calculated that the business has grown its brand value by 47.6% since 2022, from £2.03bn to £2.99bn, enough to see it enter the top 20 most valuable food brands globally. Further proof that the campaign has given Cadbury a new lease of life comes from its annual sales rising by 22% since it launched, more than double the original 9% target.

Little wonder when you consider the success of Garage and the Glass in a Half platform as a whole that Cadbury won the Marketing Week Grand Prix award at this year’s Marketing Week Awards. JS

The best marketing campaigns of 2023: Part 1

Norwich City FC – ‘Check In On Those Around You’

It’s often the unexpected ads that leave a lasting impression. This was certainly the case for Norwich City FC’s ‘Check In On Those Around You’ campaign, which the football club shared on World Mental Health Day in October.

The two-and-a-half-minute video shows two male football fans coming together and sitting in the same stadium during the football season. Throughout the film, one of the men appears quieter than the other, while the other is happy, and checks in on how his friend is doing. The film concludes by showing the empty seat of the perceived happier man, who has died by suicide. It aims to dispel the myth that only people who show obvious signs experience poor mental health.

The campaign, in partnership with Samaritans, was shared widely on social media, with thousands of people applauding Norwich City’s effort. It was posted with the following caption: “At times, it can be obvious when someone is struggling to cope, but sometimes the signs are harder to spot.”

The film was viewed more than 57 million times on X (formerly Twitter), garnering over 153,000 reshares and 311,000 likes. On LinkedIn, it gained more than 1,000 comments and more than 20,000 reposts.

“Norwich City’s video has had a profound impact across the world and is a great reminder that many of us struggle, often without showing any problems outwardly. We know people have sought help as a direct result of watching and hope by making their video available to all, reach even more people,” said Samaritans. MI.

The best marketing campaigns of 2023: Part 1

Guinness – ‘Holding out for a Zero’

There’s perhaps no drink more associated with St Patrick’s Day than Guinness and this year Diageo chose to hero its 0.0 non-alcoholic offering.

Guinness urged consumers to ‘Make it a St Patrick’s Day to Remember’ this year, with the brand launching its biggest-ever responsible drinking campaign, defying convention on a day that has been long-associated with alcoholic drinks.

In the lead-up to 17 March, Guinness 0.0 launched its ‘Singing Pints’ campaign, inspired by a consumer trend of drinkers blowing smiley faces on the head of their pint and then posting the pictures to social media.

Guinness 0.0 took the trend one step further and had the smiley faces come to life to sing a parody of a Bonnie Tyler classic – ‘Holding Out for a Zero’.

The non-alcoholic version of the famous stout generated plenty of conversation in its home market on its national day.

On X (formerly known as Twitter), #Guinness00 was the third most-mentioned hashtag in Ireland on St Patrick’s Day weekend (after #StPatricksDay and #Ireland). The campaign also built pride for Irish consumers ordering a non-alcoholic drink (8% agreeing with the statement ‘Proud to order a non-alcoholic drink’ after the campaign versus before).

Across the UK and Ireland, Guinness was also the most talked about non-alcoholic brand (across any sector) for the year ended 15 June 2023.

The conversation that Diageo has driven about Guinness 0.0 seems to be translating into commercial success for the brand too. The product accounts for 36% of Diageo’s non-alcoholic revenues. It is also the fastest-growing non-alcoholic beer brand globally.

The non-alcoholic beer also serves to recruit drinkers into the brand – it has attracted an additional 500,000 drinkers to trademark Guinness over the last year. NC

The best marketing campaigns of 2023: Part 1

Yorkshire Tea – ‘Pack Yer Bags’

Yorkshire Tea has been on a roll in recent years, with its ‘Where Everything Is Done Proper’ brand platform helping it climb from the UK’s third biggest brand in the black tea market by volume to first since 2017. It now has a 34% share of the market, with its no-nonsense approach resonating with the nation’s tea drinkers and beyond.

Because while the UK has historically been renowned for its love of tea it is also a dwindling market, with Gen Z a particularly hard demographic to crack.

Cue ‘Pack Yer Bags’. Built on the insight that it’s not unusual for die-hard tea-drinking Brits to pack a box of their favourite brew when going abroad, Yorkshire Tea enlisted the help of ‘Skipton Alfie’ for a tongue-in-cheek video showing the lengths he’s willing to go to ensure he gets a proper brew while on holiday in Ibiza.

Featuring lines such as “10 kilos of the good stuff”, “Let’s get lightly caffeinated” and “Now I’m in the club queue it’s chock-a-block, so I sneak a Yorkshire bag in me sock”, the video struck a chord with viewers, helping it rack up more than 3 million views on YouTube.

It performed particularly well among those aged 25 to 34 (recognition was 17%), a segment the brand is determined to win over as it looks to grow the category.

Of those who recognised it across all age groups, 78% said it was really memorable, 74% said it had a feel-good factor, and 70% liked it. A majority said it made the brand seem more modern, and one that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Plus two-thirds (66%) thought it stood out as being very different from the ads they normally see, and 62% said it was not the kind of ad they’d expect to see from Yorkshire Tea.

It has been described by people on social as “legendary” and “genius”, with one viewer saying “I like that video so much that I will buy [a] few boxes of your tea, just to say thanks for the music.” Job done. LT

The best marketing campaigns of 2023: Part 1

M&S – ‘Anything But Ordinary’

M&S has been undergoing a revolution in its style perceptions. This year that has been highlighted by a number of campaign launches designed to get consumers to reappraise the style credentials of the high street brand – which its head of clothing and home has said is at the heart of the brand’s success.

After having admitted the brand had “lost its way”, it has undertaken a number of endeavours and fresh iterations of its style-led campaign over the course of 2023. In spring, it launched a new version of its ‘Anything but Ordinary’ campaign, with a 360-degree campaign dedicated to being “more relevant, more often” for consumers looking for style and versatility.

It signed Hollywood actress Sienna Miller to be the face of its womenswear range in September, and followed that up with its first dedicated menswear campaign in eight years in October.

Anna Braithwaite, M&S’s head of brand and marketing, told Marketing Week earlier this year that the time was right for it to tackle the style barrier holistically: “Style has got to be across everything… it can’t just be related to our women’s products.”

What is notable about the ongoing campaign is that each iteration builds upon the public’s changing perception of M&S’s style credentials enabled by the previous iteration. Speaking at the time of its Q2 results call, M&S’s chief executive Stuart Machin revealed the campaign was delivering tangible and measurable improvements in brand perception: the style perception in womenswear has risen 5% in 18 months. That figure for menswear has increased by 7% over the same period.

That translated to clothing and home sales being up 5.7% in the six months to 30 September

Despite those tangible returns, it is clear that the campaign is far from over. Machin has described the brand as being “positively dissatisfied” – happy with the progress so far, but dissatisfied because it is not yet at the destination of its transformational journey. CS

The best marketing campaigns of 2023: Part 1

Tesco’s Clubcard growth

During a cost of living crisis, Tesco has been at pains to emphasise to its shoppers that they get more value with Clubcard.

Clubcard Prices was introduced by the retailer in 2020 to give users access to exclusive discounts. It stepped up its offer this year at the same time a number of rival retailers adopted the format for their own loyalty schemes.

Tesco has been adamant that it has first-mover advantage with its Clubcard offer over its rivals member pricing.

“The mechanics may be the same but what you deliver, the value you deliver, and how you do it can be very different,” Tesco’s former chief customer officer Alessandra Bellini said earlier this year.

The supermarket has doubled down on emphasising the value brought about by the Clubcard this year; whether that’s been increasing its prominence in stores through displaying its signage in aisles, or in social media campaigns.

It has also zoned in on the Clubcard in its ads this year, with a further iteration of its ‘The Power to Lower Prices’ platform. The latest version of the campaign, ‘The Power Within’ was released over the summer. It showed a shopper at the till singing lyrics from ‘The Power’, after he scans his Clubcard to reduce the price of this shop. Bellini called this the “thrill at the till” moment.

Tesco and agency BBH also tapped into the well-known “Clubcard accepted” moment at self-service tills, which users hear after they scan their card. Tesco decided to give brand fans the chance to become the voice of the checkout for a week. The team used TikTok’s ‘face/mouth’ AR effect to turn the Tesco checkout into a character, with the duet feature allowing followers to co-create their entry.

The TikTok campaign achieved more than 5 million organic views on TikTok within 24 hours. During the 10 days submissions were open for, the campaign racked up 42 million video views, trending every day on the TikTok app. Just under 3,000 entries were submitted auditioning to become the voice of the checkout. Tesco also saw a 7% rise in Clubcard use following the campaign. NC

The best marketing campaigns of 2023: Part 1