• D&AD Awards 2018
    Extended Deadline 28 Feb
  • Extended Deadline
  • 28 February
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Simple and Powerful Digital Marketing Examples

To stand out in today's digital marketing climate you've got to be doing something pretty darn clever. And to impress D&AD judges, you've got to making that clever thing look good, and have relevence too. They're a picky bunch.

One such Judge, Nina Taylor, Creative Director / Partner at iris London, previously sat on the D&AD Digital Marketing Jury. The Jury awarded a host of Pencils, but some of them were so stand-out that Nina was compelled to write about them.

Below you'll discover four digital campaign examples that stood out for their ingenuity, ability to change behaviour... and cuteness.

D&AD Awards Digital Marketing Jury 2016
The 2016 D&AD Awards Digital Marketing Jury

Walk into the jury room ay D&AD and you can’t miss the words that help define the judging process.

"Good Is Not Good Enough"

Written six feet high on walls, across corridors and down stairwells, lest we forget - D&AD isn’t about good. It’s about great. And as a jury it’s our job to uphold that.

But what elevates a good campaign to great?

With every agency in the world and a year of work to choose from, the work that hits the awards is pretty damn amazing. So what makes it a winner?

Our Digital Marketing Jury of 11, from varying backgrounds, didn’t always agree. But as we made our way through the work over three days, and spent time with each submission, we started to get a feel for what really stood out.

Campaigns that inspired, whilst delivering a creative punch, became clear winners.


The best example of this for me was Burger King’s ‘McWhopper’. To raise awareness of Peace One Day they approached their biggest competitor, McDonald’s, and invited them to join forces with a mashup of their two best-selling burgers. 

Burger King designed the box, the store, the staff uniforms and, of course, the burger. Then they set the wheels in motion with an open letter to McDonald’s. To be honest this was a win-win for them. If McDonald’s agreed they’d have created something truly incredible. If they said no, Burger King would look like the bigger party.

McWhopper Case Study Video / Y&R New Zealand / Digital Marketing / 2016

And say no McDonald’s did. The beauty was that Burger King anticipated the PR and social response and played it perfectly. The campaign, to quote Forbes, “works on so many levels I can barely stand it.” Genius.

Adoptable Trends

Work for good causes was the easiest to award; it’s relatively easy to agree on something when you can see it makes a difference. But it still has to have an original and inspiring idea at its heart. 

One of my favourites this year – mainly because I’m a sucker for animals – was ‘Adoptable Trends’ for non-profit Dallas Pets Alive.

Faced with the challenge of getting adoptable shelter dogs onto people’s radars, they piggybacked on the things that people were definitely noticing – trending topics. Gifted with new names including #KimKardashiansButt, #MileyCyrusTwerking and #KanyeMeltdown, the pooches became instant social stars. The video to support was beautifully executed and laugh-out-loud funny.

Adoptable Trends Case Study Film / Dieste / Digital Marketing / 2016

I was jealous of this campaign. And I now want a dog called #JustinBieberSucks.

Groceries Not Guns

Although D&AD isn’t about results it’s hard to deny the brilliance of a campaign that has been truly effective. ‘Groceries Not Guns’ was a stand-out campaign that shamed one of America’s leading supermarkets into changing its gun policy. Which is more than Obama has ever managed to do.

Groceries Not Guns / Grey Canada / Digital Marketing / 2016

The campaign homed in on the fact that customers could walk into Kroger stores with fully loaded automatic weapons but not a water pistol, a dog, or even an ice cream, and then set about highlighting it in really creative ways. And like ‘McWhopper’, it created a load of social noise, wound it up and just let it go.

Straight Outta Somewhere

The stand-out campaigns played the PR and social space brilliantly. Understanding that you don’t need to control everything – just put the tools in place and let your audience do the work for you – is the key to creating a really effective digital campaign.

‘Straight Outta Somewhere’ was a great example of just how far (or not) to go. To launch the film Straight Outta Compton, Beats Headphones created a web app that allowed users to customise their own Straight Outta meme. Straight Outta Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Oakland quickly sprung up as users bragged about their roots. This campaign knew its audience, that’s for sure. 

Because as much as people like brag, they sure as hell love to take the piss.

Straight Outta Case Study Video / R/GA's Hustle / Digital Marketing / 2016

Straight Outta Condoms, Straight Outta Underwear and Straight Outta Ideas were among the hundreds of thousands of memes created. Did the campaign plan it that way? I like to think so.

Simplicity and Creativity

Of course there’s no magic formula when it comes to winning. Simplicity and creativity always stand true. But when it came to judging, it was the campaigns that really moved us that secured our votes – whether it was to tears, to laughter or (mostly) to jealousy. 

At this level, all of the work is really, really good. So to win, you have to go further. Good is simply not good enough.

If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.

For more creative inspiration and the opportunity to get up close and personal with the world’s best design and advertising, join us at D&AD Festival.

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