Mustard EOY Awards: Best marketing of 2015

To wrap up the year, the team voted for their favourite marketing campaigns of 2015 in the very first Mustard EOY Awards. Each Mustard used their unique industry expertise to self-nominate the brand they believe most successfully championed creativity, innovation and success in the categories of industry-related PR, advertising, branding, design and PR trends. We put on our thinking caps and individually chose our favourite marketing executions. Scroll down to see who we selected as winners.

Best industry-related PR by Adam Warner

For me one of the best PR and marketing executions in the industry in 2015 came from the team over at Northstar Research.  They had a great year, smashing the MRS league table of fastest-growing research business in the UK last year, and they’ve had a very solid showing on the PR front.

There are certainly industry businesses that could be considered to be doing a better job in PR than Northstar, but those PR campaigns are usually led by well-known senior research luminaries or result from huge and expensive self-funded research projects. However, with Northstar you get a sense for its corporate culture through its PR activities. From my time at ESOMAR, I know that Northstar strongly commits to engaging young researchers and running a great internship programme. They also show considerable investment in their team by providing the time and resources for staff like Samantha Bond and Jack Miles to get out there and get published. At a time when there is considerable industry rhetoric about recruitment and retention, it’s great to see an agency that is not just talking about solving it, but actually going to lengths to engage new researchers and keep current researchers engaged and inspired in the industry. So, Kudos to the guys over at Northstar, top job this year, and I look forward to seeing more in the future.

Best advertising by Julie Aebersold

In honour of my fellow Americans and all of our U.S. clients, I’d like to showcase an advert featured in the 2015 Super Bowl. The TV spot features an adorable Golden Retriever puppy alongside the famous Clydesdale horses in a follow up of last year’s commercial. The spot tells the story of a pup that loses his way, facing danger before his friends (the Clydesdales) rescue him.

Research shows that 325.5 million gallons of beer were consumed by Americans that Sunday. There are only 318.9 million Americans, so statistically that’s more than a gallon of beer per person. Budweiser has done an excellent job creating top-of-mind awareness in consumers on Super Bowl Sunday. The advert reported to have the highest engagement as it was the most shared for the third year in a row, and still managed to grow by 82% from 2014. Budweiser is clearly doing something right.

View the previous advert from 2014 here.

Best branding by Siobhan Nolan

I think the best branding of 2015 has to go to the Royal Albert Hall. Technically it’s a rebrand, but we all know how challenging that can be. The Royal Albert Hall recognised the need to rebrand for two reasons: 1) it needed to broaden its appeal to a wider audience range and 2) it was long overdue as the last rebrand was in 2004.

The new brand was released in February 2015 and designed by BrandPie. I believe this rebrand is the best of 2015 because it is simple, resulting in it being very adaptable. Adaptability is important in the current market as logos have to be used on a variety of platforms.

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The main icon of the logo is the iconic building made up of layered elements. The core colour palette uses reds and golds (this is to reflect the Victorian heritage). The adaptability comes in as other designs have been released using different colours and even just an outline has been used when embossing a champagne bucket. Overall, it holds a lot of potential for a variety of creative work.

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This rebrand shows that is very important to evolve with time and often brands can become dated.

Best infographic by Simon Dunn

(Simon was very keen on using this example from our Mustard Christmas party)

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After going to a pub and playing darts with the team during our Christmas party, I couldn’t help but admire the data visualisation represented in the score board.

It’s a simple, very clear, bit of visual communication that simplifies what is a complex, off-putting process (calculating darts scores) and presents it in a very visually compelling way that allows everyone to understand how they are performing against each other.

To be honest I think it’s genius and should be entered into the Information is Beautiful Awards – some data communication that is actually used!

Best marketing trends by Jocelyn Senior

 I’ve noticed a few trends in digital marketing this year: 1) overturning gender stereotypes, 2) discount supermarkets and 3) visual PR.

My favourite has been the strong promotion of interests of women, overturning stereotypes and generally promoting diversity, featured very successfully.  The campaign that made a huge impact was #ThisGirlCan, from Sport England.  Sport England had commissioned research into why so many women aren’t doing any type of sport.  Having found that 2 million fewer women than men exercise regularly, it launched a campaign, using real women, to overcome the different reservations to taking part.  The original video had over 8 million views and the # has been shared millions of times.  The digital campaign was integrated across other channels such as outdoor advertising. See more here.

The campaign #ILookLikeAnEngineer also stands out in the way that it overturns gender stereotypes.  In a different arena completely, diversity was also the theme of a very successful fashion campaign from H&M, ‘Close the Loop’, which used diverse groups of models.

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I would also cite the success of the 30% Club, the club founded in 2010 with the goal of having women make up 30% of FTSE 100 boards, in getting high profile coverage in the FT, on the BBC and elsewhere this year.  The founders and new head have been able to bring this topic and research findings that show how boards with greater diversity outperform, to the front for business audiences.

2015 was also the year of the rise of the discount supermarkets at the expense of the established players.  PR was part of Aldi and Lidl’s successful marketing campaigns.  Aldi’s online campaign in which it makes fun of the John Lewis Christmas ‘Man on the Moon’ ad, is just one example of its nimble and cheeky approach.

There were many excellent visual PR campaigns throughout the year.  One especially striking one was Airbnb putting a house in the middle of the Thames for a week after the Deregulation Act enabled Londoners to rent their properties for up to 90 days a year.  This stunt was at the centre of a competition to stay in the house for a night, and it made a great picture that received international coverage.

Monday 18th May 2015, London:  Airbnb’s latest London listing is pictured floating down the River Thames this morning. This pic: The house going past the Houses of Parliament The fully functioning Floating House will sail down the Thames to celebrate new rules that mean that Londoners – like the rest of the UK – can earn a 15 per cent pay rise* by sharing their homes through sites like Airbnb. Passing under Tower Bridge before gliding past the Shard on its maiden voyage, the House will meander along the river throughout the week until Saturday 22 May. Copyright: © Mikael Buck / Airbnb +44 (0) 782 820 1042 http://www.mikaelbuck.com

The visual was at the centre of one of the biggest hits this year – #thedress phenomenon.  The original Tumblr post is supposed to have had over 73 million views, and debates over the colours of the dress, raged across the media.  It became so well known, in fact, that the Salvation Army then used the dress and the message about the colours as the basis of a campaign against domestic violence.

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