7 standout marketing campaigns of 2014

Uncategorized By Josanne Griffin-Mason, 11th December 2014

This year hasn’t been short of fantastic marketing and PR moments. These are the seven boldly creative campaigns that we won’t forget in a hurry.

ALS #IceBucketChallenge

Nearly 2 million1 Youtube uploads | Raised over $100 million for charity

The Ice Bucket Challenge dared participants to throw freezing water over their heads, film it for charity and donate to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (referred to as Motor Neurone Disease in the UK) Association.

Social media, glossy magazines, even primetime news channels were overwrought with coverage of the craze, and ‘have you made your video yet?’ became the question that dominated friendship groups over the Summer.

Is the #IceBucketChallenge the biggest online charity campaign of all time? The answer is, probably, yes.

The Pilon Trust – [email protected]!K the Poor

Over 4.5 million Youtube hits

The Pilon Trust, a charity that helps to shelter and improve the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable, forced the public to question whether they care as much as they say they do with this hard-hitting social experiment.

Confronted by a man wearing a ‘[email protected]!k the poor’ sign on the streets of London, passerbys loudly condemned the campaigner. But when the same man wears a ‘help the poor’ sign, everyone walks straight past him, without saying a word or donating.

The video footage was picked up by high traffic websites Upworthy and Buzzfeed, and quickly went viral, proving that a low-budget production can be a powerful publicity tool if it has the right message behind it.

Match.com – Bark in the Park

Advertising for dogs

This year, dating website match.com kicked off a series of social events with Bark in the Park: a meet-up for single dog-lovers in London, with proceeds going to the Dog’s Trust charity.

Beef scented posters for the event were placed at dog-level around Battersea Park to attract passing pooches. When dogs stopped to have a sniff, owners would be at eye-level with a separate poster detailing the event.

By marketing to dogs in the park that the event was due to take place in, match.com sniffed out their target audience by geography and lifestyle, using this wonderfully unique tactic.

DHL – DHL is Faster

Over 5 million views on Youtube | DHL were not even responsible for the prank

A cheeky agency pulled a seriously cold prank on DHL’s rivals in February.

The stunt involved wrapping large boxes, which were essentially billboards for DHL, in thermo-active foil and keeping them cool to conceal a hidden message. Delivery services, including UPS and TNT, were then tricked in to picking up the hard-to-manoeuvre packages and delivering them to purposely difficult-to-access addresses.

As the boxes warmed up, the message ‘DHL is faster’ was revealed.

DHL denied responsibility for the stunt, and many have debated whether it was staged or not. Regardless, the video gave DHL exposure of epic proportions.

Coca-Cola – #ShareaCoke The Invisible Vending Machine

998 million impressions2 on Twitter | More than 150 million personalised bottles sold

The Share a Coke campaign was still in full force this year, and by the time Valentine’s Day came around, Coca-Cola had installed an invisible vending machine especially for lovers.

As couples walked past a deceptively ordinary wall, the secret machine kicked in to action, serenading the couple before asking for their names. Two cans of Coca-Cola were then dispensed from the machine, complete with the smitten twosome’s names on them.

The fun PR stunt captured the essence of the Share a Coke campaign perfectly, by creating memories between real people.

Calvin Klein – #MyCalvins

Over 200 million3 fans of the hashtag | More than 10, 0004 pictures added to Calvin Klein’s official website through crowdsourcing

In the fashion world, 2014 was a year for 90s revival, so Calvin Klein sold nostalgia.

The iconic fashion label, famous for those Kate Moss adverts in the 90s, asked their Instagram followers to ‘show yours’ (i.e. their smalls) in a bid to appear on the brand’s official website. Over 100 celebrities were invited to take part at launch, creating an inspired buzz around the campaign that drove crowd sourced content by the millions.

The only thing needed to take part was a pair of Calvin Kleins and a camera. As a result, Calvin Klein underwear sold out across the UK and the brand planted itself firmly at the centre of the rekindled 90s trend.


No. 15 spot in its category on the App Store | 75% of stores processed mobile orders within 24 hours


In a bold move to convince customers to download the Taco Bell app, the food company blacked out all of its social media profiles and its website.

Visitors were met with the simple message ‘The new way to Taco Bell isn’t on [Twitter], it’s #onlyintheapp’. And the disruptive marketing tactic worked, as it only took 24 hours for 75% of stores to process a mobile order, plus the app made it to the No. 1 spot in the food and beverages section of Apple’s App Store.

1 BBC, 2014. How much has the ice bucket challenge achieved?. [Online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29013707.
2 Coca-Cola, 2014. The Share a Coke story. [Online] Available at: http://www.coca-cola.co.uk/share-a-coke/share-a-coke.html.
3 Marketing Matters, 2014. Hashtag Marketing is in Vogue. [Online] Available at: http://mktg-matters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/hashtag-marketing-is-in-vogue.html.
4 Huffington Post, 2014. Instagram Has Made Calvin Klein Cool Again. [Online] Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/victoria-drysdale/calvin-klein-instagram_b_5607863.html.
5 Adweek, 2014. Taco Bell Explains Its Social Media Blackout and How It Lit Up Mobile Orders Within Hours. [Online] Available at: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/taco-bell-explains-its-social-media-blackout-and-how-it-lit-mobile-orders-within-hours-161094.

All information sources accessed on 10th December 2014.