This year's top 4 integrated campaigns

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What once might have seemed a novel concept, thoroughly integrated campaigns have become a key part of today's marketing landscape. Today's consumers see brand messages echoed across so many different channels that it's difficult to imagine a time when the majority of marketing campaigns were platform specific.

In an integrated campaign, the ads, direct mail, public relations, and all other aspects of a campaign must be consistent in tone. After all, the goal is to achieve a seamless communication with the audience that extends across a variety of channels. But for an integrated campaign to be great, it takes more than just consistent messaging across the board. Today's best campaigns do more than just repeat themselves. A truly excellent integrated campaign takes the multi-platform approach to the next level by using each channel to feed into an overarching story.

The following list of recent campaigns embodies the idea that each platform in an integrated effort should be part of a greater branding story. The campaigns in this article take integrated marketing beyond the textbook definition and weave an elaborate tapestry that becomes more valuable as each piece of the puzzle comes into play.

Can you think of a great integrated campaign we might have missed? Let us know in the comments section.

Universal Pictures' "Despicable Me" campaign

Agency: Varied/mobile app created by Crispin Porter + Bogusky

About the campaign: Promotion surrounding Universal Pictures' animated film "Despicable Me" combines classic marketing channels (TV, print, radio, outdoor, etc.) with an innovative approach toward online, mobile, and branded partnerships. The film's interactive trailer and mobile application meshes nicely with the campaign's other messaging to create an innovative and unified experience.

Why it's great: Big movie campaigns are famous for marketing across as many channels as possible, but there is a thin line between informing and intoxicating your audience. Like many films, "Despicable Me" made the most of classic media channels, but its online efforts and branded partnerships are what separate this campaign from the rest of the pack.

As online video continues to increase in popularity, so do the capabilities of the platform. "Despicable Me" made the most of online video's potential when it launched an interactive trailer for the film, one of the first of its kind.

The interactive trailer not only provides a preview of the movie, but viewers can also click almost any object within the trailer to unlock character biographies, movie secrets, hidden features, and other surprises. The i-trailer has a link to the film's official page, along with a tab that enables interested viewers to buy tickets for the movie online. The trailer is part of a fully interactive website that features reviews of the film and social media chatter while also serving as a portal where fans of the movie can create their own custom T-shirts.

"Despicable Me" brought its campaign to the next level when it teamed up with Best Buy to release a mobile application. Viewers can use the application to translate what the film's Minion characters are saying during the end credits of the movie. It's a unique way to improve the movie-watching experience, and it fits perfectly with the overarching structure of the campaign.

The levels of depth given to the campaign not only informed but also energized consumers, helping to make "Despicable Me" one of the more memorable films of the 2010 summer movie season.

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