Campaigns of the Year 2023.
TopicCampaigns of the 2023 Year
10 mins read
We’re doing something a little different to kick off 2024. Last year, we handpicked our favourite campaigns of each month and have whittled the list down into a whacky and wonderful round-up. So sit back, relax and enjoy some of the best and most creative campaigns we loved of 2023.
January: Booking.com - ‘The Half-and-Half House’
Hats off to Booking.com and its agency, Big Partnership, for this clever little PR stunt they did ahead of the Manchester derby last year. Tapping into ‘derby day fever’ in the run-up to one of the biggest highlights on the football calendar, the Manchester Half-and-Half House was a half-red and half-blue stay located at the exact midpoint of the two stadiums of the city’s famous football teams. Unlike some PR stunts, the pop-up accommodation could actually be booked via Booking.com, priced at £18.81 per night in honour of the year the first-ever Manchester derby took place. After the stunt was over, Booking.com donated the house to a Manchester-based Scouts camp. Nice.
February Super Bowl Special: Tubi - Rabbit hole
Free streaming service Tubi stole the show last February, with its super weird Super Bowl ad, “Rabbit Hole”. The commercial showed giant bunnies hunting down ordinary citizens, dragging them away and dropping them into literal “rabbit holes” of video discovery, all set to a haunting operatic score. The ad was given a Super Clio award as the best commercial of the Super Bowl. Hard to argue really.
March: Surreal - Dwayne Johnson's Favourite Cereal
Challenger cereal brand Surreal got everyone talking in March with a star-studded OOH campaign – or so it appeared. The brand unveiled a series of posters proclaiming themselves as the favourite cereal of Dwayne Johnson, Serena Williams and Michael Jordan to name just a few. But these weren’t the real celebs, just ordinary people with the same name. Bold, brave and disruptive, I’d expect no less from everyone’s new favourite cereal brand.
April: EA Sports FC Rebrand
Arguably, the biggest campaign of April came with the rebranding of EA Sports’ most successful title, FIFA. Lovingly known as EA Sports FIFA for the last 30 years, gaming giants EA lost the naming rights from FIFA in 2022, which left fans wondering how they would move forward without the prestigious title. David Jackson, Vice President of Brand at EA Sports FC, compared it to rebranding Coca-Cola, adding that the game is “so ingrained in the hearts and minds of fans all over the world and they each have their own very individual experience with the brand and the product.”
The launch campaign was loud and clear across social media, with on-the-ground marketing taking place at many high-profile football stadiums during Premier League matchdays, making it impossible for any football or gaming fan to miss.
Three points go to anyone who can understand the hidden meaning of the new logo mark. And no, it’s not because it looks like a football crest.
May: Flora - Skip the Cow
Okay, I’ll level with you. This campaign from Flora has been around for a little while, but May saw it gain a new lease of life in the form of some cheekily brilliant out-of-home executions. It mixes exquisite copy with simple drawings to get its point across – that you can skip the weird middle cow bit with its plant-based butter. Udderly amazing.
June Cannes Lion Special: British Airways - Reasons to Travel
What is the reason we fly? Business? Leisure? Or is it something else? This was the question posed by Uncommon in its award-winning campaign for British Airways.
The campaign was centred around a common question travellers are frequently asked when they land in a new destination, except the reasons were much more relatable and meaningful rather than the generic tick-box answers we normally see. The campaign included more than 500 unique print, digital and outdoor executions utilising the time of day, weather conditions and location to make the ads even more engaging.
July - Barbie & Oppenheimer marketing madness
We witnessed the true power of social media last year with the well-documented same-day release of summer Hollywood hits Barbie and Oppenheimer. Nolan cinema buffs and Barbie super fans alike came together to enjoy one of the strangest trends since The Dark Knight and Mamma Mia came out on the same day 15 years ago.
The high calibre of actors in both films and the stark contrast of themes opened the door for content creators to produce countless memes, hilarious mashup trailers and so much more, which had a huge impact on the organic marketing efforts for both blockbusters.
While it seemed the internet had done most of the heavy lifting for the marketing campaign of Nolan’s Oppenheimer, Barbie did the opposite and went all out with its efforts. A huge Barbie dreamhouse mansion, countless collaborations with big brands like Burger King, Bumble and Burberry, as well as London tube stations being renamed, it’s fair to say the Barbie marketing team did a pretty good job.
The Oppenheimer team, on the other hand, was happy to ride the wave of Barbie’s marketing success, releasing a trailer or TV spot every so often, with Cillian Murphy looking gradually more concerned.
While the films took two very different approaches to their marketing efforts, they’ve both been absolute hits and have been nominated for multiple Academy Awards. We think it’ll become one of the most successful (if unexpected) collaborations in film history. Name a more iconic duo. We’ll wait…
August: KFC - Our sincerest apologies to utensils everywhere
KFC’s August ad delivered an open apology to utensils and cutlery everywhere as their chicken is just so ‘finger lickin’ good’ – the famous strapline that is synonymous with the fast-food brand.
Maybe this is just me, but when I first saw the ad, I was expecting a message that KFC was banning plastic cutlery from its restaurants. Unfortunately, that never came, and maybe I was hoping for too much. However, it’s still a very strong ad that doubles down on the brand’s famous strapline.
September: Heineken 'The Social Swap'
In anticipation of the Champions League’s return last year, ex-footballers and renowned pundits Gary Neville and Jill Scott teamed up with Heineken for ‘The Social Swap’, revealing the negative impact of gender bias among fans of the game.
In a covert experiment, Neville assumed control of Scott’s social media accounts to give his analysis of games and was besieged by sexist comments. The outcomes of the experiment unveiled the stark contrast in the online football experience for women, shedding light on the fact that the toxicity is not driven by the content itself, but rather by the identity of the individuals delivering it. A very clever campaign that highlights the pressing issue of gender bias in football.
October: Visit Sweden – Welcome to Sweden NOT Switzerland
Sweden had enough of being mistaken for Switzerland last October and they wanted to tell the world about it. In this hilarious ad by Visit Sweden, a government official makes a public and openly honest statement to Switzerland, highlighting the differences between the two European nations.
While the ad made a light-hearted joke about how the countries are entirely dissimilar, a survey conducted by Visit Sweden revealed that 120,000 people per year Google whether the two countries are the same. 50% of respondents from the United States couldn’t distinguish between Swedish and Swiss cultures, with one out of every 10 participants confessing to booking travel arrangements in the incorrect country when visiting Sweden or Switzerland. In addition, 28% of Brits who participated mistakenly associated IKEA and ABBA with Switzerland instead of Sweden – a cardinal sin to any Swede. However, we’re sure this ad will help Sweden return to the tourist map.
November: JD and The North Face - Big Ben CGI stunt
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have seen that CGI out of home activations have been everywhere recently. We even wrote a blog on it. But this one from JD and The North Face tried something a bit different by drafting in actors and directing them to react in amazement at what you’re supposed to believe (at least initially) is a real Northy jacket wrapped around Big Ben. Of course, you soon realise it isn’t, but the rewards had already been reaped. To the tune of nearly 2 million views on JD’s Instagram.
December - Apple - ‘Fuzzy Feelings’
This Christmas ad from Apple just had everything. Not only did it carry all the key elements of a great story, such as a beginning, middle and end, rising action, conflict and character development, but it also put the brand’s product in the spotlight throughout in a completely authentic way. The subtle nods to A Christmas Carol, the focus on themes of kindness and forgiveness in a time when we need it most, the choice of music, George Harrison’s ‘Isn’t It a Pity’. All in all, it was bloody brilliant.
So there you have it folks. These were our fav campaigns of last year, and YES, we know we’ve missed loads, but if we included them all, we’d be here till 2025!
We’ll be back next month with the best creative work for February, and we cannot wait for what it has in store. If you can’t wait until then either, check out our other blogs. Or if you’re looking for an agency to partner with to create award-winning work like what you’ve just seen, get in touch.