Another year has come and gone—and it was a memorable one, to say the least. We endured a long and exhausting election season, faced the threat of the Zika virus, and watched fellow citizens suffer from the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. However, 2016 wasn’t all bad news. We watched the Chicago Cubs break a 108-year dry spell to win the World Series, civil rights leader Harriet Tubman will soon have a place on the $20 note, and—in case you hadn’t heard—the U.S. divorce rate is the lowest it’s been in 40 years. That’s something, right?
The world of marketing also had its share of memorable moments in 2016. Walk into an agency like Martino Flynn and ask a group of professional marketers to talk about a standout TV commercial, marketing campaign, viral social media post, or PR stunt in 2016 and you’ll likely get a slew of opinions.
So, that’s what I did.
We do outstanding work here at Martino Flynn, but we also don’t shy away from recognizing the great work of others. I know many people want to leave 2016 in the dust—but before forgetting about last year, let’s remember a few of its great marketing moments, as told by marketers:
“Pokémon Go” was the top trending Google search in 2016—beating out “Donald Trump” and “iPhone 7” for the number one spot—that’s some stiff competition. Pokémon Go was tweeted about more than Brexit.
The marketing genius behind the year’s most popular mobile app is really… well… a lack of marketing. The hugely popular mobile game from Niantic was launched on July 7 without a massive marketing campaign; the only notable marketing tactic was the “Get Up and Go” trailer released one day before the game’s launch.
However, once the game was released the rest of the world did the marketing for Niantic. Businesses even used the game to market their own products and services. Everything from local car dealerships to chain restaurants began to incorporate Pokémon Go into their own advertising messaging, so the team at Niantic hardly had to lift a finger. Meanwhile, businesses were reaching a whole new audience of Pokémon Go users by using game lingo and inviting them to visit their establishment to find “PokeStops” and “Catch ’Em All.”
This was a bit of an anomaly in the marketing world. And while the average brand shouldn’t rely on this minimalist approach, it certainly worked out well for Niantic and the companies that capitalized on the game’s popularity.
Gilmore Girls “A Year in the Life”
The Gilmore Girls revival made many of us fall in love with—and kind of hate—the witty, intelligent mother-daughter duo that is Lorelai and Rory Gilmore all over again. I admit that I was less than thrilled with the four reunion episodes, but I can’t deny the success of the show’s marketing strategy.
Netflix used experiential marketing, transforming 200 coffee shops around the country into replicas of Luke’s Diner—the well-known coffee spot frequented by the Gilmores—for a day. There was at least one location in each state and the shops even gave out free coffee. All it took was a well thought out social media strategy to get show fans psyched about the Luke’s Diner event; there were lines out the door at nearly every location.
Giving fans the first-hand experience of being in one of the show’s cornerstone settings—Luke’s Diner—certainly paid off. According to Symphony Advanced Media, the first episode of the Gilmore Girls revival season drew 5.99 million viewers in the 18-49 year old age demographic in the U.S. over the first three days it was available. It’s clear that this unique marketing strategy paid off, attracting lifelong fans and newcomers to the show.
Always “Like a Girl” Campaign
Continuing the success of this cause marketing campaign from 2015 into 2016, Always (P&G) took aim at emojis—specifically the lack of female representation in the tiny images that have become their own language in texting and social media. The video calls out the lack of professions depicted by women, “unless you count being a bride as a profession.” It’s powerful and relatable for all women.
Best of all, it seems that someone at Apple was listening because the latest iOS update includes both male and female emojis depicted as firefighters, teachers, artists, mechanics, and even the Queen’s Guard! Okay, that last one was a curveball—but I love the initiative.
These are only three examples from the millions of successful marketing strategies we saw throughout the year. There’s no telling what new video, meme, print ad, or unconventional marketing tactic will be a standout star in the year to come, but if you want your company to make a splash in 2017, we can help. Create a memorable marketing moment for your company: contact Martino Flynn at email@example.com or give us a call at 585.421.0100.