The best marketing campaigns of 2019: Part II

Robert De Niro goes mad for bagels, Paddy Power calls time on football shirt sponsorships and Colonel Sanders performs a Mother’s Day striptease, here’s part two of Marketing Week’s campaigns of 2019.

ITV – More Than TV

Since Carolyn McCall joined ITV as CEO last year, the broadcaster has been attempting to transform its business and reposition its brand as less “cosy” and more culturally relevant.

That’s increasingly important as competition in the TV market heats up. ITV is not just up against the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky anymore, but Netflix, Apple and Amazon Prime, as well as new streaming services from companies including Disney.

Key to ITV’s transformation is using data to introduce more targeted advertising, particularly on its on-demand platform ITV Hub, and convincing people to pay for content through the launch of streaming site BritBox and Hub+, which offers access to ITV shows without the ads.

Going in this direction has led to a shift in the comms strategy, with the brand launching activity around its ‘More Than TV’ strapline. The broadcaster created a series of short films to showcase the emotional power of TV content, created along with its new agency Uncommon.

Vote for your campaign of 2019: Round 1

It aims to showcase moments when ITV has been at the heart of British culture and raise perceptions of its creativity. Narrated by newsreader and journalist Sir Trevor McDonald, the campaign highlights famous TV moments including Coronation Street featuring the first transgender character on a British soap in 1998, comedian Lost Voice Guy winning Britain’s Got Talent in 2018 and a World In Action documentary showing footage from gay pride in the 1970s.

ITV wants to shift its consideration metrics, particularly among ‘light viewers’ who watch its channels twice a week and of whom there are 15 million in the UK. To measure this, ITV has been working with YouGov and Ipsos to create a new metric: spontaneous brand consideration.

To create the metric, ITV asks consumers numerous questions, with their answers then indexed, weighted and loaded to determine the measure. While it is still early days and ITV does not want to make immediate judgements about what is working and what is not, CMO Rufus Radcliffe says the trajectory is upwards.

While its ad revenues are declining – down 5% in the six months to the end of June – this comes amid a wider decline in the TV ad industry and is better than analysts expected. Amid that, online revenues are up 18% and ITV now has more than 500,000 Hub+ subscribers. SV

READ MORE: ITV ‘reboots’ brand and effectiveness measures as it drives ‘new era for marketing’

KFC – Chickendales Mother’s Day Performance

KFC faces a big branding challenge. It wants to be seen as a fresh and modern brand, yet its dominant code is an old white man from the deep south of the US who has been dead for nearly 40 years.

KFC’s solution to this challenge? Playing with its codes.

Earlier this year, KFC aired an ad created by Wieden&Kennedy that exemplified this strategy. In a film devised for US Mothers’ Day in May, the fast-food chain revealed the Chickendales – a recreation of Colonel Sanders as a Chippendale.

The campaign also let people personalise the video with someone’s name and location, sending them a customised dance they could share on social media.

KFC US CMO, Andrea Zahumensky, said: “Wish mum a happy Mothers’ Day the KFC way by sending her a video of a shirt-ripping, finger-lickin’ performance cooked up by a troupe of hunky KFC Chickendales.”

What might seem like a tactical piece of advertising to promote its new Cinnabon Dessert Biscuits actually builds into the wider KFC brand and image. By using its brand ambassador, but updating him for 2019, KFC manages to balance modernity and heritage.

As our columnist Mark Ritson put it when he spoke at Festival of Marketing in October: “My favourite brand for [achieving both freshness and heritage] is KFC, I am in awe of KFC,” he said. “What KFC have done is played and played and played again. The same but different. Old but new. It is brilliant code play work.” SV

KLM – Fly Responsibly

Whether it is Extinction Rebellion, the Green New Deal or cutting sponsorships, climate change is front and centre in the public and political sphere.

Dutch airline KLM has entered the conversation with a campaign asking people to fly less. The video and open letter from CEO Pieter Elbers asks: “Do you always have to meet face-to-face?” and “Could you take the train instead?”

The airline is seeking to solve a difficult conundrum for the aviation industry – how do you talk about arguably the biggest social issue of a generation when your product contributes to the problem?

The campaign, created by DDB Unlimited, encouraged travellers and the industry to consider the environmental impact of flying, describing the “shared responsibility” of travelers and airlines to “fly more responsibly”.

While the July campaign marked the airline’s 100th anniversary, in October the brand began putting its money where its mouth is. KLM committed to reduce the number of flights it operates from Amsterdam to Brussels from five to four by March 2020.

In its place, the airline will buy passengers tickets for a train that covers the same route between Schiphol airport and the Belgian capital. This is a ground-breaking move from the airline, particularly as the rest of the industry struggles to find their place in the environmental movement.

KLM is asserting itself as the chosen airline for the environmentally conscious and laying the ground-work to be seen as a leader in the sector. MF

Monzo – You Make Monzo, Monzo

Monzo is one of a number of online brands that turned to more traditional media this year in order to build their brands and drive awareness.

Having previously focused almost entirely on organic word of mouth, the fintech brand recognised it needed to improve awareness beyond its core audience. This started with a small test of outdoor advertising on the London Underground, which Monzo’s head of marketing Tristan Thomas described as “pretty positive”.

That gave the company the confidence to invest in its first major TV campaign, which launched towards the end of May with the aim of articulating its brand voice and promise for the first time.

Working with Engine as creative consultant, Monzo produced four TV spots – one 60-second and three 30-second versions – that promoted the brand while also highlighting features such as money management and tackling the perceived barriers to opening a digital bank account.

The impact on both the brand and sign-ups was immediate. June was “by far” Monzo’s biggest month for sign-ups, attracting more than 250,000 new customers, up from 150,000 a couple of months before.

It also led to increased sign-ups after the ads came off air, with 200,000 joining in July, meaning the campaign brought in more than 150,000 new customers. Prompted brand awareness increased 13 points from 35% to 48%, according to the company.

A brand would expect to see a major marketing investment lead to improved business results. The case of Monzo is interesting because of its previous reluctance to invest in what might be seen as more typical ways to build brands – investing in major above-the-line ad campaigns to reach a broad audience.

Despite the promise of social media and digital word-of-mouth, Monzo shows the power of large-scale marketing campaigns. SV

READ MORE: Monzo sees ‘insane’ growth after running first TV ad campaign

Paddy Power – Save Our Shirt

Paddy Power decided to call time on the football shirt sponsorship market with a campaign lobbying brands to keep their kits commercially clean.

The ‘Save Our Shirt’ campaign launched in July following a week-long hoax marking the bookmaker’s first foray into football sponsorship courtesy of a year-long deal with Championship side Huddersfield Town.

The PR stunt started when the club revealed its 2019/2020 season kit, featuring a Paddy Power-branded sash covering the front of the shirt. The sash shirt was, in fact, part of a deliberately orchestrated strategy months in the planning between club, sponsor and creative agency VCCP. Paddy Power had actually agreed to ‘unsponsor’ the club’s real kit, which features no branded logo.

“Every bookmaker, apart from Paddy Power it seemed, sponsors a football team and they’ll just lazily put their brand on there,” says head of PR, Lee Price. “Our tagline is ‘Enough of the Nonsense’ and we’re calling bullshit on football sponsorship generally, but the rest of the industry too.”

Next Paddy Power took its campaign nationwide, signing up Scottish Premiership side Motherwell, Welsh League Two club Newport County, League One Essex-based side Southend United and League Two club Macclesfield Town.

The campaign generated over a billion impressions during its launch week and an estimated £1.5m in media value to date. Huddersfield Town’s ‘unsponsored’ shirt is one of the bestsellers in the country, while two videos featuring the Motherwell team garnered close to one million views.

Paddy Power has also proudly delivered the first piece of football league silverware this season courtesy of the ‘Unsponsored Derby’, which ended in a 1-1 draw between Newport and Macclesfield. The teams shared the trophy. CR 

READ MORE: Inside Paddy Power’s campaign to ‘call bullsh*t’ on football shirt sponsorship

Tesco – 100 Years of Great Value

Tesco turned 100 this year with a fun and nostalgic campaign featuring iconic moments from across the decades.

First, we had an ad featuring Mr Blobby, Wolf from Gladiators, 60s mods on mopeds and 70s roller girls. Then Tesco brought back Morph, his mate Chas, 90s fitness guru Mr Motivator and a jumpsuit-clad Anneka Rice.

The campaign, created by its agency BBH, was spearheaded by Tesco’s chief customer officer Alessandra Bellini, who believes there is only one thing to do when a brand is in trouble (which Tesco had been for some years): go back to the beginning and what made them famous in the first place.

In Tesco’s case, this was 100 years of great value. And the proof is in the fish fingers and beans. Sales of items featured in the campaign went boom, with Tesco selling 19.8 million grammes of Cathedral City Cheese online, more than 63,000 Peperamis and five-and-a-half times the number of Pizza Express large pizzas than in an average week.

It also sold 147,000 cans of beans in 24 hours, double the numbers sold in a normal day, and 35% more fish fingers in a day than in a normal week.

Perceptions of the brand have been improving this year too, according to YouGov BrandIndex data, with Tesco’s score for quality up 1.9 points year on year and value up 1.3 points.

And, importantly, the pounds are on the up, with profit increasing by 12.6% in the first half of the year and profit before tax by 6.7%. EH

READ MORE: Tesco enlists the help of 60s mods, 70s roller girls and Mr Blobby to celebrate 100 years of ‘great value’

Visa – One Moment Can Change the Game

In a standout year for women’s football, Visa took the initiative with a campaign aimed at levelling the playing field for female players.

Having already signed a landmark seven-year partnership with UEFA women’s football at the end of 2018, making Visa the biggest global sponsor of women’s football, the payments giant pledged to spend as much on marketing the FIFA Women’s Football World Cup in June as it did on the men’s FIFA World Cup in Russia last year.

The ‘One Moment’ campaign, unveiled in May, was designed to be a catalyst for change and concentrated specifically on female empowerment and acceptance. Created in collaboration with Saatchi & Saatchi, the global campaign featured one 60-second TV spot, alongside a series of short personal documentaries, inspired by the true stories of football stars, and Visa ambassadors, Lucy Bronze, Kim Little and Nadia Nadim.

Rather than the partnership with the women’s game being seen as simply an add-on, Visa sought to provide female athletes with a platform to tell their stories in a bid to grow engagement and offer fans a more personal link to the sport.

Running across 33 markets, the campaign was never seen as an immediate ROI driver for Visa, but rather represents a sector the brand “passionately” believes in. The payments company saw the campaign as an opportunity to end the “vicious circle” in women’s sport, namely that because sportswomen appear on TV less frequently, they are deemed less attractive to sponsors. CR

READ MORE: Visa looks to end ‘vicious circle’ in women’s football as it launches World Cup campaign

Warburtons – Good Bagel

The Godfather? Taxi Driver? Goodfellas? Robert De Niro’s acting credits span decades of award-winning films and thanks to Warburtons he now has another iconic role to add to the list.

The Lancashire breadmaker is known for putting famous faces in its campaigns, but De Niro’s ad – showing him threaten CEO John Warburton – immediately became a fan favourite.

The ad was to promote the brand’s latest bagel products as it branches out into different areas of the bakery market. The innovation was a smart move as bagels are the second largest sector in the ‘sandwich alternatives’ market. But rather than launch the bagel range quietly, Warburtons shot the iconic New Yorker defending his hometown’s favourite snack.

In the ad, De Niro flies from the Big Apple to Warbutons’s HQ in Bolton to protect New York’s bagel reputation after hearing the news about the breadmaker’s new release. He threatens head of the family business, Jonathan Warburton, promising “it will not end well”.

The campaign gained the brand significant media attention, with the actor even being asked about the ad in October’s GQ cover story. Once again Warburtons had created a “water-cooler” moment and gained a huge amount of free media coverage.

Speaking to Marketing Week at the time, head of marketing Chris Hook explained the brand’s strategy. “It’s that conversation piece, ‘Have you seen…?’, and that’s really important in this current landscape where people are sharing all the time on social media and that’s why really good creative is important.” MF 

READ MORE: Warburtons on its new bagels ad: ‘Without De Niro we wouldn’t have run that creative’