Most Innovative Brands in Marketing of 2015
Most Innovative Brands in Marketing of 2015

Brands went all out in 2015 with some of their marketing.

Photo courtesy of Taco Bell 
Marketing is an ever evolving beast. What worked like gangbusters one year, may not translate or be as successful in the future. For instance, Don Draper’s carousel pitch may not translate well today. In order to make a company stand out, brands need to be brash. And one of the ways they are doing this is through the use of social media.

Social media has become the main tool for companies to market themselves. Twitter is almost 10 years old and there was a major motion picture about the creation of Facebook, so it’s time for the old guard to stop saying social media is a fad. A report from Statista found that 58 percent of marketers that were polled believe social media contributed to better search rankings for their business. Ninety-percent believe social media campaigns increased their brand's exposure and traffic for their sites. Social media has become essential for most companies to not only promote their brands, but a way to connect with consumers.

Social media was a key cog in some of this year's biggest marketing campaigns, but there were plenty that achieved praise thanks to some good old fashioned methods as well. Here are a few of the innovative marketing campaigns that occurred over the past year.

Taco Bell “Taco Emoji Engine”
The emoji has become a big deal over the past few months. It gave us excitement during the NBA offseason and it was named word of the year by the Oxford Dictionary. But people still seem to be upset about one thing: where is the taco emoji? Consumers have been clamoring for this emoji since their phones were able to send pictures.

Taco Bell decided to solve the issue by introducing the Taco Emoji Engine marketing campaign. Partnering with advertising agency Deutsch L.A., the brand introduced over 600 different incarnations of the taco emoji. Users are able to mash together another emoji of their choosing and a taco. The company’s Twitter then sent the users a gif of the combination. Rob Poetsch, director of public affairs and engagement at Taco Bell, told Tech Crunch this social media marketing campaign helped promote the brand and let people have fun in the process.

“This is the first truly global marketing campaign for Taco Bell,” Poetsch said. “Emojis transcend language and so do these unique pieces of content. We were very excited to launch this project so that taco lovers everywhere can participate.”

Wendy’s “Crack the Masters”
Some of the most creative marketing campaigns are ones that are interactive with consumers. That was the notion Wendy’s had when they launched their Crack the Masters campaign. To help promote their limited pulled pork menu items, the brand created a “choose your own adventure” ad where users picked between three BBQ masters and then asked them questions in order to crack their recipes. There were 13 different avenues users could go and it looked to be delighting them. As of September 2015, the interactive video had more than 319,000 views on YouTube and 3,500 likes on Facebook, according to Marketing Land.

7-Eleven “Bring Your Own Cup All Day”
The saying goes that less is more. That is an idiom that can be used in everyday life, but not by the marketing team at 7-Eleven. In April, the brand launched its “Bring Your Own Cup All Day” promotion. The promotion occurred at the brands estimated 7,800 locations in the U.S. Customers were allowed to bring in a container of their choice and allowed to fill it with the Slurpee or Slurpees of their choosing for $1.49. There were some minor caveats to the promotion, as the container must fit through a 10-inch hole and had to be food safe. So that meant customers could not use their electrical kitchen appliances.

“Slurpee is all about having fun and what better way to celebrate warmer weather than by filling your favorite cup with your favorite beverage?” Gordon said in a release. “From sand buckets to trophies, customers can unleash their creativity by bringing in their choice of a unique, fun Slurpee cup.”

Burger King’s “Black Bun Whopper”
October is a spooky time of year and nothing encompassed that feeling more than Burger King’s black-bunned Whopper promotion. This unique burger is already a hit in Japan and the brand decided to bring it to the U.S. as a special Halloween treat. What made the burger special was, you guessed it, the black bun which was made thanks to A1 Sauce being baked into it.

The announcement for the novelty menu item was on Twitter with the “Something wicked is coming” tagline. Whether the burger was delicious depends on someone’s perspective, but the brand definitely had people talking.