DMS Marketing Madness ― 16 Innovative Campaigns but Only 1 Champion

April 6, 2018 Kathy Bryan

Throughout DMS Marketing Madness, we highlighted 16 innovative campaigns and asked you to vote for your favorites. It’s time to crown our champion [anchor to champion section], but first let’s review the competitors.

Round 1 ― Toyota vs. Tide vs. KFC vs. Absolut

Toyota ― Proving Print Can Still Be Innovative

Toyota placed an interactive, multi-dimensional insert in the March issue of InStyle. Opened with door handle sensor tabs (that are also heart rate monitors), the insert displays a Camry dashboard while featuring the reader’s heartbeat and a new car smell. You can see how it works here.


Tide ― Making You Question Every Ad You See

Throughout the Super Bowl, Tide ran a series of spots that appeared to be classic Super Bowl ads before switching directions to feature the punch line: a bottle of Tide.


KFC ― Owning A Mistake

After running out of chicken across the UK, KFC decided to own their mistake with a full-page apology letter featuring an empty bucket with the letters FCK printed across it.


Absolut ― Showing It All

Absolut became “the vodka with nothing to hide” when their Swedish-based staff bared all to emphasize their clean distillation process and sustainable philosophy. The short film is available for viewing at thedrinksbuisiness.com. (Note: Be prepared for full-frontal views.)


Round 1 Winner: Tide

What made Tide’s campaign innovative?

None of the spots seemed to be for laundry detergent until the star (David Harbour of Stranger Things) pointed out the brilliantly white textiles. Before long, Super Bowl viewers were watching for whites and wondering when Harbour would next appear with a bottle of Tide.


Round 2 ― Farmers vs. Twitter vs. Lacoste vs. Nike

Farmers Insurance ― Poking Fun at Life

Extending their “We Know from Experience” campaign, Farmers Insurance repurposed footage to launch a low-budget award program pitting real-life insurance claims against each other. The Burkies are “a fake-movie-award-show that proves once and for all that truth is stranger than fiction.” You can see all of the nominees here



Twitter ― Amplifying Movements

Twitter leveraged the #HereWeAre hashtag to declare itself the platform of the underserved.

Featuring women of all ages, their 60-second black and white spot was narrated by award-winning poet Denice Frohman reciting her original work #SheInspiresMe


Lacoste ― Branding the Endangered

Lacoste replaced their iconic crocodile logo with embroideries of ten endangered species to boost awareness of the animals’ fights for survival and fundraise for the International Union for Conservation of Nature.



Nike ― Propelling the Earth

Nike’s star-studded #ChooseGo campaign, imagined a “stopocalypse” that could be reversed by athletes running the Earth back into motion.



Round 2 Winner: Lacoste

What made Lacoste’s campaign innovative?

Lacoste stripped their own logo from their product to give power to their conservation message. The limited-edition Lacoste polo shirts sold out within days.


Round 3 ― Oregon vs. Macy’s vs. Ikea vs. Huggies

Travel Oregon ― Animating & Amplifying Their Beauty

The “Only Slightly Exaggerated” campaign from Travel Oregon featured Japanese-style anime to show the state’s magic. Showcasing an original score by the Oregon Symphony, the long-format spot transitions seamlessly from butterflies to bunnies, lakes to mountains and lush fields to cityscapes. Click here to see the full spot and stills from the campaign.


Macy’s ― Hacking the Look

“Find the Remarkable You” from Macy’s encourages two-person, live-stream interactions to create custom looks and #FINDREMARKABLE. Click here to watch.


Ikea ― Sock Skating into Our Hearts & Homes

Ikea skated into our hearts by telling us to “make room for life.” The spot opens with a middle-aged couple rolling up their area rug. Throughout the commercial, we follow the stars as they twirl throughout their home. 



Huggies Pull-Ups ― Dancing to the Potty

With their sponsorship of the live Disney Junior Dance Party, Huggies Pull-Ups is owning the potty-time countdown. Pre-show entertainment includes diaper focused lyrics like “Hold Up – get’cha swag on with your Pull Ups, and put ‘em back on.”





Round 3 Winner: Ikea

What made the Ikea spot innovative?

The ambiance of the skaters’ home is upscale and does not instantly appear to be Ikea. At the end, Ikea furniture is flagged with name and price, but our attention is barely directed away from the performance as they end with a simple, “bring life into your living room.”


Round 4: Honda vs. Hanes vs. Wendy’s vs. Kohl’s

Honda ― Mixing Realities to Compete

Honda’s “R vs. R” augmented reality race pitted IndyCar driver Graham Rahal against pro gamer Peter “theSLAPtrain” Jeakins. Both raced in a 2018 Civic Type R on the Road Atlanta race track. The first installment was virtual, taking place within Forza Motorsport 7. TheSLAPtrain’s performance was then broadcast onto a mixed-reality windshield as Rahal raced in a real Type R and on an actual race track.


Hanes ― Kicking Guys Out of Their Comfort Zone

Hanes featured kangaroos showing the “magic” of the pouch before one placed a kick where it counts. “My guess is that there are guys who have upgraded their phones more often than their underwear,” said Tim Blankenbaker, Director of Marketing for Hanes Brands. Which explains why they were trying to kick their audience into action.

Wendy’s ― Swaggin’ It Fresh

Wendy’s has been ragging on McDonalds about their frozen beef. Starting with the Super Bowl and continuing into March Madness, Wendy’s asked their audience to choose between #TeamFresh and #TeamFrozen. And they distributed prize swag to Team Fresh fans.

Kohl’s ― Droning Out the Competition

Kohl’s filmed a 30-second spot using a drone to capture a firsthand perspective of the in-store experience. “In terms of cinematography,” said Greg Revelle, CMO of Kohl’s, “it’s different than anything we’ve done. We’re trying to be original and different and innovative in how we do everything.


Round 4 Winner: Honda

What made the Honda promotion innovative?

Targeting gamers, racers, techies and general interest drivers, Honda used augmented reality for the first time ever to merge real motorsport with racing simulation.


Drumroll Please…. As We Crown the DMS Marketing Madness Champion

2018 DMS Marketing Madness Champion: Lacoste

By going bold, Lacoste garnered tremendous buzz. As a result, the 1,775 shirts produced for the “Save Our Species” Lacoste campaign raised significant awareness for the endangered animals and funds for the nonprofit it supported.


Congratulations to Lacoste ― Voted Most Innovative Marketer of 2018

Thank you to everyone who participated in DMS Marketing Madness. We hope this competition helped you to reimagine the win. Now it’s time to visualize your victory.

Digital Media Solutions is advancing the world of customer acquisition and retention to help marketers maximize their digital marketing. Our performance marketing, digital agency and marketing technology, help our clients beat their competition and accelerate their growth.

Are you ready to build your championship campaign? Contact DMS today.

About the Author

Kathy Bryan

Kathy Bryan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS). In this role, Kathy is responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications for DMS, the leading global martech company leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers.

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