The Most Awesome Marketing Efforts of 2015

Last year on our podcast, Speaking Human, we launched the inaugural Awesome Awards to honor the marketing efforts that grabbed our attention and stuck in our memories throughout the year. Now we’re back again to present our second annual Awesome Awards.

How do we pick our Awesome Award winners?

We use a highly personal and unscientific process to determine our winners. Basically our choices for award winners have to align with three principles:

  1. They have to be memorable
  2. They have to feel genuine and authentic
  3. They have to have something awesome about them (even if we are the only ones who see it)

Now onto the winners…

2015 Awesome Award Winners

These were the marketing efforts that tickled our MONSTER heads, hearts and fur this year…

The Creative Way to Bring New Marketing Technology to the Masses AwardThe What’s a List Without Someone Saying the Name “Google” Award

Winner (both): Google Cardboard

A unique and playful effort that put the power of play into the hands of the marketing children of the world, Google Cardboard gave brands an easy way to integrate virtual reality (VR) into their marketing efforts. A great example of simple, creative ingenuity.

Google Cardboard

The We Should Go Back and Do Something About Your Kids and Also Get the Grays Sports Almanac Award

Winner: Back to the Future Day

Rather than a single marketing effort, Back to the Future Day was a movement. The movie franchise got a huge resurgence in 2015 because the movie referenced the date October 21, 2015 as “the future”. An awesome accomplishment 30 years in the making—and brands went wild with it. Here’s one of the best examples:

Back to the Future Day 2015

The Fleeting Social Site That Somehow Stuck Around and Surged Award

Winner: Snapchat

Many people saw Snapchat as a flash in the pan (and probably still do), but the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it social app saw both big growth and brand adoption in 2015. Here are some stats:

  • Snapchat currently has 200 million active users, including 100 million daily active users
  • 36% of Americans ages 18-29 have a Snapchat account—up 8% from a year ago
  • People watch 6 billion videos every day on Snapchat (not far off from Facebook’s 8 billion)
  • Presidential candidates, Coca-Cola, World Wildlife Federation and CNN all took to Snapchat in 2015


The Baby Cuteness Got Me Award

Winner: Johnson’s Baby “So Much More” Commercial

Johnson’s really nailed the simplicity with this one. It’s basically a slow-mo, tight close-up of an amazingly cute baby in some soapy suds. The beautiful and compelling visuals coupled with the soft voiceover narration made this a striking and memorable ad that hit parents in the soft spot. It’s the simple things in life.

The Simplicity Breeds Controversy…But We Like It Award

Winners (2): 

1. The New Google Logo

Google went to a flatter, sans-serif typeface designed to look good on any screen. We thought it was a strong brand evolution. But it was not beloved by everyone. A piece in The New Yorker said of the new logo: “The new logo retains the rainbow of colors but sheds the grownup curlicues: it now evokes children’s refrigerator magnets, McDonald’s French fries, Comic Sans. Google took something we trusted and filed off its dignity.”

2. The Redesigned Starbucks Holiday Cup

This year, Starbucks went minimalist with its iconic holiday cups. What was missing? Things like snowflakes, ornaments, and lights that peppered previous versions. Some people freaked saying Starbucks removed symbols of Christmas. But we like the simple version better. It’s more striking and brand recognizable.

Starbucks 2015 Holiday Cups

The Award for a Spot that Made Us Not Think of People as Dummies

Winner: Acura’s “The Test” Video

In this twist on the classic crash-test ad, Acura puts real people into a car and then cuts to them as crash test dummies with the tagline, “when you don’t think of them as dummies, something amazing happens.” In a year where car companies faced a lot of safety concerns, the message of this one really resonated.

The Viral Effort That Ate Up the Internet Like a Velociraptor Award

Winner: The Jurassic World Website

To promote the new Jurassic World movie (which did huge business), the website—made to be a site for the actual park rather than the movie—was meticulously detailed. It was great deep-dive marketing that entertained, got the Internet buzzing, and made you excited to see the movie in the process.

Jurassic World Website Marketing

The Ingenious App/Marketing That’s Changing the World Award

Winner: Vodafone Red Light App

Designed for use in Turkey where domestic violence is a widespread problem, this app enables women to covertly shake their phones to secretly alert three contacts they need assistance and provides their location.

Just as clever as the app itself is the marketing behind it. To spread the word, ads were placed in labels in women’s underwear, on wax strips, and tutorials were included in the middle of make-up how-to videos. 24% of all women in Turkey have downloaded the app. This effort really shows how technology and marketing can be used to make a positive difference in the world.

The Galaxy Close, Close to Home Award

Winner: Disney

Disney’s Death Star of a marketing campaign for Star Wars: The Force Awakensdid everything right. It connected, pleased and excited fans with ridiculously high expectations, while also touching several key demographics to expand the franchise’s reach (women, younger audiences without much love for the series).

This is the pinnacle of what you want to happen with a marketing campaign. It hit all the right notes guaranteeing audiences would flock to the product. The only thing left to chance was whether people would like the film. As it turned out, they did. Now the film is on track to be the biggest box-office success of all time.

Star Wars The Force Awakens

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