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There were big winners and gigantic losers in the marketing world in the past year, so here are some of our favourite stories.

To brand or not to brand (Paddy Power)

We remember the chuckles, the finger-pointing, the online hysteria, and we remember the Huddersfield fans ‘How can they think that’s ok’ and ‘No one even knows what team it is’ were some of the cries from the hoards in blue and white supporting their local team.

Paddy Power had come along and violently shoved a pin into the already partially deflated balloon of the Huddersfield Town FC faithful. By emblazoning their garish white and green logo across the clubs shirt, full length, in your face, ‘we are Paddy Power’ style. The betting company had seemingly destroyed football shirt sponsorship as we knew it.

However, this was actually a moment of marketing and branding genius and not idiocy as was initially thought. As part of the stunt the team even wore the shirts in a pre-season friendly. However, the company rapidly revealed the whole thing was a hoax as they wanted to champion removing sponsor logos entirely, and giving the shirt back to the fans and the club. Football owes the decision-makers and marketing team at Paddy Power a massive pat on the back for this one! Could your business champion your users to enhance marketing campaigns?

The negative press approach (Carlsberg)

Honestly, we were going to leave this one until last because it was undoubtedly the marketing winner of 2019, but we loved it so much, we want to talk about it now.

So what do we know about Carlsberg? Well, it doesn’t take a beer aficionado to tell the world that despite its marketing, it is most definitely not ‘the best beer in the world’. But for some reason, as a potential customer, we have laughed off the company’s tagline.

In 2019 that all changed with one marketing campaign. Simple but effective the gurus at Carlsberg set to work and added quite adequately the word ‘not’ to their famous slogan. ‘Probably not the best beer in the world’ became the tagline for the year and with it came some brand honesty.

The brilliance of this hold your hands up kind of moment, was the accountability Carlsberg accepted. The company completely stripped the brand back, everything from its branding on cans and bottles to the glassware in which it is served. A self-admittance and apology to their loyal customers, which of course was met with mass positivity. Well done, Carlsberg, and well done those who questioned the marketing of the product, which eventually led to change.

Of course, there are guidelines when it comes to your own business and being tongue-in-cheek is perfectly ok. However, always listen to your customers, and attribute real value to their feelings, as it can be twice as difficult to win them back after losing them.

Positive vibes having negative impacts (Gillette)

We are going to attempt to find a place to start without giving away our stance on Gillette’s ‘the best a man can be’ campaign of 2019. Although the advert was aimed at the American market, it had a substantial effect on how the brand was viewed within the UK.

The premise of what Gillette tried to do is front and centre, and we have always been and always will be fans of companies that attempt to tackle public issues. Take Nikes’ backing of Colin Kaepernick during the uproar from the San Francisco Quarterback making a stand for what was right. These brands are much more influential than individuals will ever be, and therefore their backing is groundbreaking and will genuinely help to drive change.

In ‘the best a man can be’ campaign, Gillette targeted the issue of toxic masculinity, the ‘lad’ culture and in general teaching the younger generation to do the right thing. However, it was in the complete omission of any Gillette product that the advert took an online battering. The short film, as it was later labelled rather than an advert, certainly created conversation both online and offline, with over thirty-three million views on Youtube alone.

For us, this is marketing at its absolute best. In this instance, Gillette give something back; there were no freshly shaven faces in sight, and no woman lusting over the subsequently better-looking man. In fact, it laughed at its previous self, at the years gone by, and the trends of those times. This was about something much bigger, and there isn’t a subject in the world holding more importance than children and in turn, the future.

From the use of the background conversations of bullying, workplace harassment and sexism to the seismic importance of the onlooking child as his dad intervenes. For us, it’s a massive win for mindset and a fantastic advocate for change.

As a marketing business, we would always advise treading lightly when it comes to public issues, address them with caution in your blogs and correspondence. On the other hand, if you have the weight to make a change, please, go on and do it.

If you need any help with your marketing, we would love to hear from you, give us a call.