My favorite campaign of 2013

I was asked recently for my favorite marketing moment of 2013.

The new focus on deep engagement with your customers is beautiful and hits at the heart of good design and marketing. Everyone can ‘reskin’ a campaign and get quick results but building a brand, a true connection takes heart and talent and determination and 2013 was a brilliant year for human connection.

Marketers are starting to understand there are humans on the other side of their ideas, that their brands must stand for something, and to focus on quality.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

The idea is simple—based on market research, only 4% of American women describe themselves as beautiful so Dove partnered with Ogilvy & Mather to convince the other 96% of their beauty.

Dove hires FBI Forensic Artist Gil Zamora to draw women without ever meeting them to produce two different sketches. The first from the personal description of each woman, and the second, from a stranger’s memory after meeting the women briefly. Zamora doesn’t meet any of the subjects until after both drawings are complete to compare the results.

The differences between the two drawings are vast and the reveal between Zamora and the women is powerful.

I love the raw truth of the idea. I love the execution and, after researching the campaign, I love the trust that was required between Dove and their agency. At pitch, Ogilvy & Mather asked Dove to trust their idea and instincts- the idea may just flop, but it didn’t. The entire campaign is built on building a relationship with the consumer, to sell their products, instead of a quick sale. It adds value and reinforces their brand promise, creating loyal fans not users.

Watch the videos, check the campaign site (its sole purpose is to memorialize the campaign and encourage dialogue), and google the campaign. It is definitely my favorite campaign of 2013.

The other two campaigns couldn’t be passed up, but weren’t my favorite. They’re beautiful in their honesty, depth of concept, and quality of execution.

Guinness took a stand and deviated from the usual male-dominated, beer marketing by filming a wheelchair basketball game. The game is intense and the viewer is placed in the middle, alongside the players.

Their approach is laudable. For too long, men have been marginalized in advertising as muscle-bound, chauvinist, beings without nuance. In this campaign, the men are friends, they have feelings, and confidence without bravado. They’re real men and I hope Guinness can continue this approach.

Robinsons takes us through a fun day with two friends as they play and laugh together. They’re inseparable and when they get home they share a Robinson while falling asleep to the television.

The ad is real. We all can relate to the idea and they balance the story while still highlighting their product. There’s a twist at the end of these video that is definitely worth the minute of your time.

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