Brilliant marketing campaigns from 2021 that went viral

PageProof viral marketing campaigns 2021 round-up. "Went viral" on PageProof green background

Viral marketing is the 21st century’s gold standard for word-of-mouth. Companies design multi-channel marketing campaigns that they hope will resonate with consumers. Of course, you need to ensure that your brand is executed consistently across all channels. While many marketing campaigns go in one ear and out the other, some strike a cord and spread like a ‘virus’.

Here are our top 10 marketing campaigns of the year across a range of channels that went viral. We hope they inspire you to create your next buzz-worthy campaign.

1. Ford’s road safety emoji jacket marketing campaign

We think that Ford’s ‘Emoji Jacket’ designed to allow cyclists to communicate with drivers is brilliant 🌟

The jacket designed for Ford Europe’s Share The Road campaign stood out at the recent The Drum Awards too, winning the ‘Automotive and transport’ category for PR 2021. With the campaign generating 648 media stories across the world created an organic social reach of 40.9m, the award comes as no surprise.

Insight showed that the lack of common language leads to near misses and accidents on roads across Europe daily. With the intention to improve communication between cyclists and drivers, the jacket has a light-up back that can display emotions and intentions. There are three different types of emoji, a hazard sign and arrows for indicating left and right. Cyclists can change the emojis using a wireless remote on their handlebars.

What emojis would you use? 🤔

Find out more 👉🏼

Ford’s road safety emoji jacket campaign

2. Prada’s “feels like Prada” marketing campaigns

We love Prada’s experiential campaign supporting their Fall/Winter 2021 collection 💚.

Façades of buildings across Milan were transformed into mesmerizing installations featuring geometric patterns that echoed the company’s bold prints and designs for the coming season. Easily conveying the vibrant, sensory, emotional, and multifaceted soul of their campaign and capturing the essence of the campaign’s title “Feels like Prada”. At the heart of this campaign was the celebration of the end of restricted contact, and sensory pleasure of everyday objects like buildings caused by the pandemic.

The installations were accompanied by similar smaller-scale interventions on product packaging, banners, and walls, among other spaces. This initiative was rolled out in various forms in other cities across Europe, Asia, and North America.

In China, a cross-marketing campaign to test crossover from the luxury brand to produce was launched targeting Gen Z. The campaign, where produce was wrapped in Prada wrapping paper and packed into gift bags, went viral.

Find out more 👉🏼

Prada transforms Façades in Milan for the latest collection

3. Corona: test your Spanish to win a Limonada

Confident Spanish speaker and a Mexican Limonada lover? Then you were in luck if you were in Las Vegas last week. Check out this hilarious marketing stunt here 👇

Corona set up a voice-activated kiosk that dispensed cans of Corona’s Hard Seltzer Limonada. If you could pronounce a question in Spanish asking for the drink accurately – you received a free drink. If your pronunciation was off – you didn’t. But there was a backup prize. In partnership with the language app, Duolingo, you received a free month’s subscription to Duolingo Plus if your Spanish was a little off.

The antics to get the prize and the reactions – priceless. 😂

The campaign was brilliant cross-marketing from the outset, although its reach was cut short with Covid restrictions. Hence, it has made our top marketing campaign list.

See the kiosk here 👉

Correct Spanish pronunciation earns you a Limonada

4. KFC masquerads as IKEA in their latest PR stunt

Love a good PR stunt? Then you will love KFC latest cheeky campaign where they pretended to be Ikea to orientate customers to its new store in Majorca 🇪🇸.

Masquerading as IKEA, they mimicked the instantly recognizable colors as well as shape and typography of the Swedish retailer’s logo on a billboard. The line below the copycat logo simply said “You know where we are”😂 .

The fun didn’t stop there 🤪 .

KFC shared the billboard on Twitter, and Ikea Spain responded in kind, with a tweet highlighting its veggie protein meatballs: “Thank you KFC for telling people where the #ChickenChicken is: on our HUVUDROLL meatballs.” The two continued to banter on Twitter throughout the day, garnering more than one million impressions and 6,000 interactions.

Find out more 👉🏼

KFC pretended to be IKEA to orientate customers in Majorca

5. Emirates flight’s tallest TVC

We love seeing marketing push the limits. And Emirates did just that with their latest TVC 🎥 .

Filmed on the tallest building in the world, 828-metre-high Burj Khalifa, those wary of heights might want to avert their eyes. Zoomed in at first, as the ad progresses, it shows an Emirates ‘flight attendant’ standing on top of the building. Heartstopping 🤭 But was it real?

The viral campaign pushed the boundaries not only on the production of the TVC. On the Emirates’ YouTube channel, the spot earned over 6 million views and over 1 million on the brand’s Instagram.

Find out the story 👉🏼

Emirates pushes marketing stunt sky-high

6. Oreo’s Doomsday Vault online marketing campaigns

Marketing brilliance in the midst of turmoil. Oreo turned 1️⃣ fan’s tweet into a campaign that gained more than 100+ million impressions. But how?

On the tip that an asteroid was heading towards earth, they decided to construct an OREO Doomsday Vault. The outdoor stunt was converted into a lighthearted online campaign. The impact – powerful. Even though the asteroid missed us 😉.

They caught the attention of Muse Award too. The campaign was named a platinum award winner for outdoor advertisement 🌟.

Find out more 👉🏼

How did a single tweet earn more than 100 million impressions?

7. Hershey’s HerShe campaign

We love how Hersheys played on their iconic brand name to make a statement for International Women’s Day 💚 They created a range of wrappers for “Her” and “She” and invited local artists to create the packaging design💡.

The whole campaign was incredibly successful with the iconic bars selling out in no time. The support on social media also went gangbusters by Hershey’s opening up their gallery for all women to submit their work across a range of arts. Within a week the campaign received more than 1️⃣ billion impressions and earned $300k in media.

The judges D&D Awards loved it too, awarding the most prestigious recognition across a variety of categories. Simply amazing 🌟

See some amazing examples of the campaign here 👉🏼

Hershey’s HerShe was a winner on International Women’s Day

8. IKEA ‘Tomorrow Starts Tonight’ campaign

We think Ikea’s #tomorrowstarttonight campaign is simply brilliant 💚. Highlighting the benefits of sleep by comparing their bedding range to products that promise energy and clear-headedness but hardly ever deliver. This misleading image is actually pillows to snuggle into that provide the authentic benefit of 💤.

The campaign is grounded in relatable messages of lack of sleep and hints of nostalgia based on the famous tale of the tortoise and the hare – and it sure got conversations started on social.

Find out more 👉🏼

IKEA promises sleep the authentic way

9. Better With Pepsi marketing campaigns

There is nothing better than a discreet witty marketing campaign 🌟.

And Pepsi did just that. With the help of an origami artist, out-of-home ads reveal “hidden” Pepsi logos in fast food iconography. With this smart campaign, Pepsi hoped to change the conversation with the 3 biggest burger chains in the US that have snubbed their product for 30 years by asking their customers for feedback.

Pepsi asked consumers to post a photo of themselves having a burger from any restaurant of their choice while drinking Pepsi on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and use the #BetterWithPepsi hashtag. Pepsi then refunded the cost of their ice-cold drink once they had verified that the purchase was made on National Hamburger Day. No wonder it went viral.

We love it when customers can make their voices heard 💚.

See how they did it 👉🏼

#BetterWithPepsi challenges burger chains

10. Princess Connect take publicity sky high

This is just wow! A publicity stunt that takes marketing sky-high 🤯 .

In Shanghai, 1,500 drones were launched to form a scannable QR code in the night sky. When scanned by viewers, the QR code led to a website promoting the first-year anniversary of the Japanese role-playing video game “Princess Connect! Re: Dive”. The light show also showcased the characters in the game.

It is no wonder that this campaign has blown people’s minds 💚.

In fact, a post on Facebook showcasing the spectacle was shared over 108,000 times in less than a day.

Find out more 👉

1,500 drones take publicity sky high

We have loved collating this list of top marketing campaigns that were so good they went viral. Hopefully, they inspire. For those who are interested in discovering the most successful brand collaborations of the year, we invite you to follow this link to explore our round-up of the best brand collaborations of 2021. Our carefully curated selection showcases the most impactful and innovative brand partnerships, which can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your own collaborations.