INSIGHTS & IDEAS >> Digital Marketing

Get Inspired: All the Best Marketing Campaigns of 2016

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Say what you will about 2016, but it was another terrific year for marketing. Brands harnessed both traditional media and new platforms for tremendous impact.

I’ve spent the last few weeks looking back at the top examples of marketing, and thinking about what 2017 holds. Now it’s time to get meta: Below I curate the best “best of 2016” lists all in one easy-to-find spot.

This digest includes articles about mass market campaigns, but also intriguing looks at music marketing, high-tech and specific disciplines like content marketing and video marketing. Also, no post about 2016 would be complete without mentioning chatbots.

Here are the top posts about the best of 2016 marketing:  

1. 2016 year in review: the best campaigns

MarketingWatch offers a two-part examination of the mostly U.K. campaigns that blew them away this year. (Part II is here.)

2. the ten best marketing campaigns of 2016

Brandwatch, which builds social analytics software, also selected 10 exceptional campaigns from the likes Virgin, Pret a Manger, AirBnB and Spotify.

3. Adweek: 20 Trends That Drove Some of 2016’s Best Marketing

Dive into the major creative trends of 2016, including transparency, deception and virtual reality, with prime examples of each.

4. The Best of the Best: 2016 Video Marketing Awards

If you’re thinking about upping your game in video marketing in 2017, video marketing platform Vidyard has selected the top examples of the craft in nine categories. Watch and learn!

5. content strategist: The best content marketing of 2016

The Content Strategist, Contently’s publication for content marketers, counts down 10 campaigns that used exceptional content last year to cut through the noise. Standouts include Merriam-Webster, Goldman Sachs and Hamburger Helper. (No, really.)

6. Digiday's definitive guide to the year's best (and worst) in media and marketing

It’s important to learn from others’ failures as well as successes. This snark-tastic looks back at a few of the best moments of last year, but mostly handing out awards for facepalms. Categories include:

  • Worst brand tweet of the year (if not ever)
  • Most disruptive platform algorithm tweak
  • Most overhyped media monetization trend
  • Most racist chatbot
  • Worst new logo

7. Best Content Picks on Facebook 2016

Global social media analytics firm Socialbaker compiled five exceptionally creative uses of Facebook’s new features, including Live and 360 video.

8. 13 Best instagram marketing campaigns of 2016

A good compilation of how brands big and small used the social media platform's longer video, Stories, zoom and Boomerang.

9. The 8 Best Chatbots of 2016

Now there’s a headline you wouldn’t have read a year ago. Facebook Messenger opened its platform to bot developers in April — and since then, more than 34,000 bots have been built. This article selects eight of the best branded and startup bots. Will this trend thrive in 2017?

10. AdAge: The Best Music Marketing of 2016

Which performers (and their labels) delivered the best in promotional concepts and execution? As the article notes, this year was all about live — on Facebook in particular, but across all platforms — and brand collaborations.

11. 2016: the year in innovation

In addition to the world of apps, ads and handset screen sizes, Mobile Marketing also likes to showcase some of the tech world’s most advanced ideas. This article looks back at several of the biggest trends in high-tech, including robotics, bionics and innovative application of 3D printing.

12. The Three Ideas That Defined 2016

Finally, Medium's Context, a publication on innovative brand storytelling, offered its own digest of the most important perspectives on marketing and advertising shared on Medium last year. They identified three themes:

  • Brands can no longer survive on purely transactional relationships with customers, and instead must create deeper, more value-centric and participatory ones
  • Seemingly contradictory forces are shrinking human attention spans at the same time as they are making us hungry for increasingly complex stories
  • If traditional marketing is dying, marketers need new marketing and advertising formats


  Strap In for a Wild 2017

What was your favorite campaign of last year? What has inspired you to push your brand into exciting new territory this year? We would love to talk! Get in touch to see how we can help you make it happen.
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