It can be easy to focus on U.S. campaigns while living in the States, but some of the biggest and best marketing campaigns from 2014 came from other countries.
Warc.com—an online service offering insight into advertising best practices—has pulled together the top 100 campaigns of any country. The Warc 100 was populated with campaigns from across the globe—with a campaign from India grabbing the number one spot.
Here are some highlights of the best marketing campaigns from all corners of the world:
1. Kan Khajura Tesan—Hindustan Unilever—India
In India, there is a new phenomenon involving missed calls on mobile phones. Indian mobile users— wanting to avoid the charges of a text message or phone call—will call and hang up after the first ring. The recipient then knows to respond to the missed call with a return call or text. Companies have caught on to the practice and have developed apps and systems to reply to missed calls from mobile users.
Hindustan Unilever took the Warc 100 top spot this past year by developing a campaign that incorporated the missed call phenomenon. In many areas of India, people are without electricity for hours each day, but they still have access to the outside world through their mobile phones. Unilever wanted to expand into these areas but needed a way to reach the population, so it instituted a missed call campaign to deliver content and advertising. Consumers could call a certain number, hang up, and then be called back with entertainment content—jokes, music, etc. Each message also includes advertisements.
The program collected 12 million calls in just 10 months since its launch. Unilever’s ability to deliver digital ads to a population that doesn’t always have electricity is considered quite a feat.
2. Travel Yourself Interesting—Expedia—United Kingdom
Travel discount site Expedia turned a simple idea into a powerful campaign with its “Travel Yourself Interesting” spots. The commercial series turned the usual focus of travel companies—the savings—to the real value of travel—the experience. In the series of spots, several people express jealousy of a different person who has returned from some distant land with interesting and entertaining stories. The lives of typically impressive people—magicians, horse trainers, and stuntmen, for example—all fall flat when compared with the travel stories of returning adventures.
The focus on value only increases the appeal of a site that already offers discounted travel. The idea of adding value to its product worked for Expedia UK—the campaign offered a return of £11 on every £1 spent.
3. Bentley Burial—Brazilian Organization of Organ Transplants—Brazil
In a stunt that flashed across headlines in Brazil, a billionaire known for bizarre behavior claimed he was going to bury his Bentley. Count Chiquinho Scarpa announced on his Facebook page that he planned to bury the car—worth half a million dollars—in his backyard. The public backlash was fierce, with opponents claiming he could utilize the car’s value in much better ways, such as donating it to charity.
Eventually, it was revealed that the Count’s announcement was all a stunt. The Brazilian Organization of Organ Transplants had recruited him to raise awareness about organ donation. The campaign sought to show that burying a human body with useful organs was as wasteful as burying a functional Bentley. The attention inspired donations to increase by 31.5% in just one month.
4. The Hornbach Hammer—Hornbach—Germany
German DIY and hardware retailer Hornbach made hammer history—creating perhaps history’s biggest frenzy over a tool. Hornbach purchased a Russian tank and started tearing it apart to build something new. The brand launched a multi-part campaign that slowly revealed what the tank parts were going to create. The result was the Hornbach hammer.
The ensuing buzz elevated the Hornbach hammer to the level of a pop icon. The initial sale of the limited-edition hammer sold out in under five minutes, and the official products in stores cleared out in just two hours.
5. Guilt Trips—V/Line—Australia
The train service V/Line wanted to encourage younger people from the Victoria, Australia, area to take the train. Like many other areas, Australia has seen the social phenomenon of younger residents moving into the city. To inspire travel back out into the countryside, V/Line launched a campaign that leveraged one of the most powerful forces in the world—parental guilt.
The campaign offered Guilt Trips products: prepaid train tickets accompanied by a guilt-inducing message from a loved one. In the video spots, parents send sentimental photos and passive aggressive messages to their children in cities to encourage a trip home. The guilt trip worked—off-peak sales increased by 15% for the train line.