Although 2014 has come and gone, there were some inspiring campaigns that deserve just a little more attention. As part of an ongoing series, iMedia reached out to a select group of entrepreneurs to find out their picks.
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" Chip Contest
"It doesn't matter where you fall on the spectrum of potato chip fans, it's hard to deny how effective Lay's "Do Us a Flavor" contest was. Customers could put in their votes online on a variety of unorthodox potato chip flavors, and whoever the winner was got distribution. Sometimes it felt like the grossest ones got votes just to see it turned into a reality -- I loved that."
"Nike's "Together" with Lebron resonated with me as a great example of targeted groups in marketing known as 'tribes.' The ad showed how the city appreciated Lebron's return, but also showed how much their athlete impacts a declining city's morale. This ad made me want to root for Cleveland, despite being a Pelicans fan. The showing of unity in tribes is contagious -- you want to root for them."
Thai Life Insurance
"The video called "Unsung Hero" for Thai Life Insurance has been viral on Facebook and other social media for some time. I think this ad is powerful because it manages to convey emotion and the values of helping others in a way that's engaging without being preachy. You don't even know the company name until the end. By then, the viewer has a positive feeling about whoever created the campaign."
Adam Stillman, SparkReel
"I really enjoyed Starbucks #HowWeMet campaign. It was a very smart extension of their 'we don't sell coffee, we sell an experience' philosophy. Starbucks asked fans to share stories of #HowWeMet on Instagram as a part of their connections-focused 'Meet Me at Starbucks' campaign. It created a direct sentimental connection between customers' personal relationships and Starbucks. Great fit."
Adobe Marketing Cloud
"In addition to being funny, the Adobe Marketing Cloud ad 'Click, baby, click!' -- depicting an Encyclopedia company going crazy over a huge spike in online purchases (only to find out that it's one baby clicking profusely on his mother's tablet) -- is perfect! Companies need to pay attention to the analytics and know their customers."
Red Bull Sound Select
"Red Bull Sound Select was one of the most impressive campaigns because the company created its own tour, engaging multiple cities. The campaign was incredibly engaging because it spoke to different musical audiences."
"The Fault in Our Stars" #DemandOurStars
"The 20th Century Fox film 'The Fault in Our Stars' asked fans to choose the stops on its U.S. press tour, bringing the movie's stars (and book author John Green) to their area. Fans voted by sharing and liking animated GIFs of their home state on the "TFIOS" Tumblr site. Millions of votes were tallied and thousands of fans lined up at each site to see the stars of their beloved book and movie."
AT&T Network Experts
"I am constantly amazed by how UNfunny commercials are, but the AT&T 'Network Experts' commercials with the two-man team that strengthens the wireless data signals are fantastic. They relay the company message, have enjoyable actors and are very humorous creating a positive image of the company they're representing. Great work.
Ikea's BookBook Ad
"I think Ikea's BookBook ad was great. It went viral because it was hilarious and many people could relate to it. Ads that are interesting, funny, and relatable like Ikea's BookBook are going to be discussed at the dinner table and included in conversations."
Samuel Adams HeliYUM
"The Samuel Adams HeliYUM campaign was a great example of funny content that appeals to a larger audience than its product base. Everyone knows and loves the helium voice trick, and it's a great play on microbrew enthusiasts too. Oddly enough, it almost leaves you wanting to try helium beer, which makes it perfect for social media. Samuel Adams leveraged April Fools pranks perfectly."
"While Sephora's Beauty Insider program is the leading rewards program campaign for its ability to integrate online and in-store seamlessly, the single most impressive ad has to be Apple's 'Strength.' My kids saw it a few times during the World Cup and are still singing about tortoises and chicken fat."
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
"The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was much more than people dumping water on each other because of a dare -- it was about charity and awareness, and supporting those who needed it in a fun and exciting way. Participants were mandated to donate only if they chose not to do the ice bucket challenge, leading to a counterintuitive way to spread the message and mission."
"Farmed and Dangerous"
"Chipotle's four-part web series 'Farmed and Dangerous' showed us all how effective branded content can be. This satire explained how our food gets from farm to table while highlighting the dangers of genetically-modified foods. Its approach clearly demonstrated the values of environmental protection and sustainability that the company has long touted in an engaging way, making Chipotle's agenda irresistible to viewers."
RadioShack's "The Phone Call"
"RadioShack released a great commercial, "The Phone Call," during the Super Bowl where celebrities from the '80s including Hulk Hogan, Kid 'n Play, and Chucky came to reclaim their old stuff. It was a memorable ad and showed that RadioShack has a sense of humor about its brand."
GE's "Ideas are Scary"
"The GE ad was by far the most impressive campaign in 2014. It is so powerful, emotional, and raw. The ad resonates with any entrepreneur who has lost their way and finds their true calling. All of us can relate to the character in the video. It is also impressive because it tells a powerful story without being 'salesy' for the brand."
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