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Marketing Innovation Superlatives: The Best Campaigns of 2018

December 27, 2018 Digital Media Solutions

In 2018, brands gave us marketing campaigns that made us laugh, cry and cringe. As the year draws to a close, like any graduating class, there are stand outs. Following are the superlative winners selected by Digital Media Solutions.

Lacoste save our species campaign marketing fashion limited edition

1. Most Likely to Change the World ― Lacoste

Winning “Most Likely to Change the World” is Lacoste’s “Save Our Species” campaign. The campaign promoted animal rights awareness and raised conservation funds as Lacoste removed their alligator logo from products to replace it with limited-edition endangered species logos styled in Lacoste fashion.

2. Biggest Drama Queen ― Burger King

Burger King takes home the prize for “Biggest Drama Queen” because of their melodramatic attacks on competitors. Going after McDonald’s, the Burger King chain released their “Come as a Clown, Eat like a King” campaign, inviting consumers to arrive dressed like Ronald McDonald to earn free Whoppers.

3. Biggest Prankster ― Payless

By switching their name to Palessi and renting out a luxurious storefront in Santa Monica, Payless won this year’s “Biggest Prankster” superlative. To prove their quality and style, Payless invited social media influencers to the opening of their luxe store and showed America how much fashion-conscious shoe hunters would pay for what they believed were new designer shoes.

4. Boldest ― Nike

Surpassing competitors and winning Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year, Nike’s “Dream Crazy” campaign takes home our superlative for “Boldest.” By leveraging controversial figures, Nike’s campaign drew in $163 million in buzz within the first few days of its release.

5. Most Popular — Starbucks

Starbucks created a cult-like following by driving demand for their infamous, seasonally available Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL). During the fall, PSL fans tweeted about the drink more than 3,000 times per day, earning Starbucks the “Most Popular” superlative.

6. Most Inspirational ― Subaru

Few things tug at our heart strings like a lonely dog, which makes Subaru’s sweet spot about dog adoption a lovely, warm message and gives Subaru, a company well-known for their generosity, the win for “Most Inspirational.” Cause and niche marketing can go hand-in-hand, as Subaru has so effortlessly shown us, hopefully inspiring dog lovers everywhere to buy their cars and then visit local animal shelters.

7. Most Likely to Get a Reaction — IKEA

Ikea is known for bold advertisements and commercials that garner strong reactions and quickly earn icon status. Their pee stick print ad informed women that “peeing on this ad may change your life” and rightfully earned them the DMS superlative “Most Likely to Get a Reaction.” An ad that doubles as a pregnancy test and offers expectant mothers a furniture discount is bound to illicit a reaction and garnered the Swedish furniture company a slew of well-earned media buzz.

8. Most Well-Rounded — KFC

KFC had an innovative year of varied campaigns, including a baby-naming promotion, a “FCK” moment and Colonel Sanders dirty dancing with Mrs. Butterworth, making them the obvious winner for “Most Well-Rounded.” KFC’s marketing has paid off with higher than projected sales growth for 2018.

9. Class Clown — Playtex

By the time comedian D’Arcy Carden auto-ejects her tampon in the hilarious, over-the-top Playtex commercial, the brand is clearly the winner for “Class Clown.” Their very funny spoof of the ridiculous lengths some feminine hygiene companies will go to, when most women just want a simple, effective solution, is the kind of modern, envelope-pushing marketing that keeps a brand like Playtex current.

10. Most Creative — Dollar Shave Club

This long-format commercial highlighting the many different personal care routines of men (and the products offered by the Dollar Shave Club) is a creative, funny and cringe-worthy marketing approach. The no-holds-barred storytelling, unusual set design and inclusive casting give Dollar Shave Club the win for “Most Creative.”

Congratulations to the most inspiring, funny and clever campaigns that stood out and won a 2018 DMS Marketing Innovation Superlative. We’re excited to see more innovative marketing in 2019.

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About the Author

Digital Media Solutions

Digital Media Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: DMS) is a leading provider of technology-enabled digital performance advertising solutions connecting consumers and advertisers within auto, home, health and life insurance plus a long list of top consumer verticals. The DMS first-party data asset, proprietary advertising technology, significant proprietary media distribution and data-driven processes help digital advertising clients de-risk their advertising spend while scaling their customer bases. Learn more at

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