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What We Can Learn from Some Of 2016’s Greatest Marketing Campaigns

If there’s one thing television and radio have taught us, it’s that we all hate advertisements. In reality, people just hate bad advertisements.

Whoever it was that said “actions speak louder than words” obviously wasn’t in the content marketing business. When you promote your brand, words speak not only louder, but loudest. In 2016, the country’s industry giants as well as newbie start-ups know this oh so very well, they’d be the wiser to prepare for their 2017 content marketing strategies. Some of this year’s marketing campaigns are so clever, we wouldn’t mind seeing more of them. Here are four of them:

Screenshot via BuzzFeed

  1. BuzzFeed’s TASTY

The French Chef star, Julia Child started it all with her cooking shows and all kinds of cooks loved watching it. But today’s Internet is time-strapped with people’s attention span getting shorter and shorter. It’s no wonder BuzzFeed’s “Tasty” series became an instant hit.

All you need is a great tasting recipe that you could artistically demonstrate in a video in about a minute with cooking instructions that are easy to read, ingredients that are handy and visuals that make viewers easily think they can actually make the dish themselves, no chef diploma required. And the video ends with the emphatic and now familiar “Ohh, yes!”

Lesson here: Keep it short and simple but bring out all your weapons in the least amount of time possible.


How can a simple app cause traffic jams, heated competition and even create an entirely new health craze? This game was released 20 years ago but it is only this year that Pokemons have introduced themselves. So those millennials who were only watching the cartoons or through Nintendo DSs when they were small kids and dreaming of being Ash Ketchum can now become a true Pokemon master trainer.

The formula was simple: Get your fans’ (old and new) emotions involved in the app by making it an enjoyable experience while going outdoors walking in search of Pokemons while interacting with other searchers. And, get social media involved through communities and fan groups. The result – becoming the top grossing iOS app.

Lesson here: Get your loyal fans to do the “viraling” for you and get them to interact with one another.

3. UnderArmour – I WILL WHAT I WANT

Remember the success of the “Just Do It” campaign? Well, this one says “I Will What I Want!”

Under Armour expanded their sports apparel to football shirts, shoes, uniforms and hats. It was bold enough to try and compete with unreachable brands like Adidas and Nike. But instead of luring both genders, it focused on women’s apparel with its “I Will What I Want” campaign. They featured women athletes in feel good videos targeting women. Their very first campaign was a ballerina who sadly recalled her rejection from a famous ballet school because she didn’t have the right body for a ballerina. This video garnered 4 million views that triggered a wave of UA website visits.

Lesson here: There is a lucrative business where women are the target market. Empower women because it makes them feel good about themselves.

Screenshot via Dollar Shave Club

4. Dollar Shave Club

Sometimes, it’s scary to dive into a market pool that’s already filled with giant sharks lording over small prey. But Dollar Shave Club did the unthinkable and decided to swim with the big name brands in men’s grooming like Old Spice and Axe.

What DSC did was to introduce a subscription razor service to all its members starting with a truly entertaining video that showed audiences an alternative to the manly ads of pricey Old Spice and Axe’s seductive branding campaign. With this, DSC built truly genuine relationships though masterful customer service.

Lesson here: It’s okay to think outside the bubble and break away from what we’ve been accustomed to.

2017 content tips

We expect greater innovations and wilder imaginations in 2017 content marketing strategies. But one thing that will surely stay is the use of video. 2016 has proven it as the most important component in a marketing campaign and is the public’s medium of choice. As a 2017 content marketing advice, brands must recognize this clamor for videos to achieve greater marketing successes next year.

Annie Ianko

Content Happiness Advisor

Annie has 18 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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