Marvellous Marketing: Our Review of 2023

As 2023 trundles to a close, we round off the year with a look back at some of the more memorable marketing and PR campaigns from the last twelve months.


Like a classic spaghetti Western, we’re delving into “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. Enjoy!


The Good


Although a reasonably new campaign, McDonald’s “Raise Your Arches” ads have been nothing short of a triumph, seamlessly blending creativity with strategic messaging to resonate with consumers nationwide. The campaign’s clever play on words showcased McDonald’s iconic golden arches logo and encouraged customers to lift their spirits and embrace the joyous moments the brand aims to provide.


The use of humour and relatable scenarios in the ads struck a chord with the target audience, fostering a positive emotional connection. The campaign’s success is evident in its widespread appeal, driving engagement and sparking conversations on social media platforms.


McDonald’s demonstrated a keen understanding of its audience, leveraging a light-hearted tone that perfectly aligned with the brand’s identity while delivering a memorable and compelling message. “Raise Your Arches” elevated McDonald’s visibility and exemplified the power of creative marketing strategies in forging lasting connections with consumers.


Ironically, no McDonald’s food features in the ads themselves!


We also loved the British Airways’ “Out of Office” campaign, which has undeniably marked a milestone in airline advertising, seamlessly marrying innovation with the quintessential British charm. This campaign ingeniously tapped into the collective longing for travel experiences by presenting the “Out of Office” auto-reply symbolising adventure and exploration.


The witty and relatable content resonated with a diverse audience and showcased the airline’s understanding of the contemporary traveller’s mindset. Incorporating picturesque destinations and the smart use of humour created a memorable and shareable campaign. British Airways successfully transformed the mundane notion of being “out of the office” into a tantalising promise of exciting journeys.


This campaign not only bolstered the airline’s brand image but also served as a testament to the effectiveness of strategic storytelling and audience connection in the ever-evolving marketing landscape.


The Bad


Not all campaigns equate to positive PR, even when centred around a royal.


Prince Harry’s book, “Spare,” released in early 2023, unfortunately, turned into a public relations quagmire that left many questioning the wisdom behind the timing and content of the memoir.


The book, touted as a tell-all, faced backlash for its potential impact on the royal family’s image and the sensitive nature of the revelations within its pages. The public’s response was a mix of curiosity and criticism, with concerns about the potential strain on family relations and the broader implications for the monarchy.


Adding to the media storm, Netflix’s “Harry & Meghan” docuseries further fuelled the debate. While the docuseries aimed to provide an intimate look into the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, it faced its share of scrutiny. The UK audience, in particular, showcased a divided sentiment, with some expressing support for the couple’s transparency, while others criticised what they perceived as an intrusion into royal privacy. The intersection of personal narratives, public image, and media representation in these instances highlights the delicate balance that public figures, even those as prominent as Prince Harry, must navigate in contemporary storytelling and content creation.


It’s been a challenging year for the plant-based food industry in the UK too, with a series of hurdles that have tested the resilience of this burgeoning market. One notable setback has been the disruption in the supply chain, with factors such as climate-related challenges impacting the production of key plant-based ingredients.


Moreover, the lingering economic uncertainties stemming from global events have led to shifts in consumer spending habits, with some opting for more familiar and affordable choices over innovative plant-based alternatives.


While the industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years, the past year’s challenges highlight the need for adaptability and strategic navigation within the plant-based sector. As the market continues to evolve, stakeholders must address these obstacles to ensure the continued success of plant-based options in the UK food landscape.


The (Award-Winning) Ugly


Birkenstock’s “Ugly For A Reason” ad campaign was a bold departure from conventional beauty standards, turning heads and challenging norms in fashion advertising. Embracing the brand’s iconic, yet unconventional designs, the campaign proudly showcased the so-called “ugliness” of Birkenstock sandals. What initially seemed like a risky move became an award-winning triumph as Birkenstock fearlessly championed authenticity and comfort over conventional notions of aesthetic appeal.


By celebrating the distinctive and unique design features that have made Birkenstock a global phenomenon, the campaign resonated with consumers looking for a brand that prioritises substance over superficiality. This daring approach garnered attention and earned Birkenstock accolades for its honesty and authenticity, proving that what some may perceive as “ugly” can be a powerful statement of individuality and style.


The campaign’s success underscores the importance of staying true to a brand’s essence and challenging traditional marketing concepts for a genuine connection with the audience.


The key theme that runs through all of the above examples is storytelling. You may not be a global brand with a multi-million-pound budget, but everyone has a story.


Make 2024 the year you stop selling to your target audience and start to engage with them through compelling stories, showcasing your unique brand.

Get in touch and let’s see how we can sprinkle our golddust magic over your 2024.
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