• Bloom Content Team

Year in Review: 2020 Marketing

Marketing can be like art; holding a mirror to society as a visual representations of the world at a particular point in time. So, what better time than 2020 to dive into the marketing highlights of the past 12 months.

Let's take a look at how marketing performed during the weirdest year in modern history...


The elusive time before the words 'lockdown,' 'vaccine,' and 'global pandemic' became part of our everyday vernacular. What innocent and optimistic days!

This was also a much safer time to venture into the territory of killing off a mascot, which is just what agency VMLY&R did - to New Zealand's leading insurance aggregation site, LifeDirect's character, 'Simon the Sloth.'

The 10-year-old mascot had lost its relevance, and the agency was tasked to reinvigorate the brand and of course drive leads, awareness, and web traffic.

The move was nothing short of bold, as the mascot died live on-air in a single TV ad during prime time across 25 TV channels - leaving New Zealand audiences aghast.

The following day, an obituary was advertised across press and DigiOOH (billboards), as people turned to social media to share their shock and decipher what had happened.

But that wasn't it. To prove the importance of getting your life insurance paperwork in order, Simon the Sloth hadn't named a beneficiary in his will, meaning $10,000 was up for grabs. Audiences were directed to a specific landing page to leave their tributes for a chance to win a slice of the prize.

Clever, creative, witty, multi-channel - this ticks all the boxes for us here at Bloom. Well done VMLY&R! (See the agency's full case study - including an awesome video on the campaign - here).


February brings with it the heavyweight championships for AdLand: the Super Bowl.

Our favourite ads this year triumphed in forging an emotional connection, offering up sentimental value with a common familial theme - one tugging on the heartstrings and the other sheer comedy. Enjoy the videos below:

‘Loretta’, Google

Incredibly simple production with a straightforward animation leaves the emotion to the narration and music, as the voice of an old man gets a little help from Google in remembering the love of his life.

No, we're not crying, you're crying.

‘Tell Your Mama’, T-Mobile

The ad instantly places us in-situ of an everyday situation we can all relate to; a man on the phone with his mum. The conversation immediately identifies a key competitor (Verizon) and focuses on the "tech-savvy son" (Anthony Anderson) having switched network providers for his mum, in a very real, seemingly-unscripted telephone conversation.

Watch the link above, you're in for a treat.


Ah, the month everything changed! The world turned upside down and, so with it, the marketers. We all scrambled, tore up our 2019 planning for the year, and tried to figure out how to market our brands in the most uncertain (sorry, "unprecedented") time in modern history.

Striking a balance between doing our best to achieve results yet remain sensitive to a literal global pandemic was tough. Below are our favourite examples of creativity during this time:

GymShark temporarily rebranded to HomeShark

The fitness fashion brand was one of the first to adapt when the pandemic hit the UK. The hugely successful business, founded by 19-year-old Ben Francis in 2012, changed their name to HomeShark at the start of lockdown to remind everyone to stay home - including for their workouts. (You're welcome, Joe Wicks).

Gymshark's name change is a reminder that content marketing doesn't always have to be a large campaign, hundreds of words of content or a professional video. A small change that shows the company's value - i.e. the health and wellness of its audience - can have a large impact because it displays the same virtues of the inbound methodology.


Cadbury's rebrand

Mere days after Easter this year, Cadbury's released their first rebrand in 50 years. Designed by top packaging design agency, Bulletproof, the new look simultaneously modernises the brand whilst celebrating its heritage - no mean feat. The work includes a redrawn wordmark, new iconography and typography for its long-established chocolate series - rolled out gradually in various territories with new creative to hit our supermarket shelves in 2021.

The revitalisation of the Cadbury wordmark drew inspiration from the hand of founder John Cadbury himself, to create a newly devised signature with a more contemporary feel.

Taking cues from the archives, the Dairy Milk logotype was re-designed and a distinctive Dairy Milk pattern based on the original 1905 pack created, giving greater depth and purpose to the iconic Cadbury purple.

The iconic Glass and a Half logo has also been redesigned so that it links directly with the chocolate chunk, further emphasising the quality of the ingredients and the classic creamy taste of Cadbury Dairy Milk.

We can't wait to do more of our own R&D with the new chocolate packs next year...


L'Oreal at home with Eva Longoria

Necessity is the mother of invention, as "they" say - and it took a pandemic for the world's leading beauty brand to think about things... a little more creatively, shall we say.

Using an at-home tutorial with no professional equipment or huge production team, L'Oreal tasked their A-list brand ambassador, Eva Longoria, to self-direct and film a candid video of herself using the L'Oreal Excellence Creme to cover her grey hairs.

Not only did this video triumph in terms of authenticity and therefore relatability, but demonstrated the ease of dyeing one's hair at home - testament to both the product and the company standing behind at-home solutions during lockdown.


Scents of Normality

As we continued in a state of pandemic-related suspension, the biggest date in our marketing calendar was sadly - but necessarily - postponed. Where we would have normally welcomed the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we had to seek inspiration and our own version of "frosé on the pier" elsewhere.

One of our favourite ad agencies, Uncommon, who normally work with household names such as B&Q and BrewDog, collaborated with indie-candle brand, Earl of East, to create a unique and witty collection reminiscent of all the wonderful smells normally enjoyed outside of a global pandemic.

The collection was aptly named 'Scents of Normality' and included fragrances of "the places we're missing most during lockdown" - The Local Pub, The Festival, and The Cinema (mmm...)

Sales of this collaboration were aptly donated to hospitality workers with charity Hospitality Action.


‘The Great High Street Comeback’

As the UK poised itself for post-lockdown recovery, household brands such as Coca-Cola, American Express, and Lloyds Bank "donated" their ad spot to support local businesses. As part of a move from Channel 4, their airtime and ad production was fully-funded supported small independent brands across all C4 channels and on social with the hashtag #Back4Business.


Instagram Rivals TikTok with Reels

2020 will go down in history for many things. One of them will be the year of TikTok, to which social giant Facebook attempted to keep in its place with the launch of their new feature, Reels.

Launched at the start of August, their timing was impeccable, as the future of the short-form video app was thrown into uncertainty thanks to political tensions between the US and China.

Similar to TikTok, Reels lets people create short-form videos set to music that can be shared with friends and followers and discovered while browsing the app. It’s the newest opportunity for Instagram to bring in users, increase the amount of time people spend in the app every day, and establish itself as a video entertainment platform.


Always firm champions of the '2-speed' brand approach here at Bloom, we celebrate Farfetch's decision under the direction of the new CMO (who joined during lockdown) to invest in some serious brand-building, by running a multi-channel ad campaign including TV - a first for the luxury fashion brand.

Their new campaign puts the Farfetch brand front and centre, aptly entitled 'Open Doors to a World of Fashion' by Anomaly

Read more and watch the video here. (Marketing Week).


TikTok Had a Moment

It wouldn't be 2020 marketing without TikTok and a cool dude spreading some chill vibes.

Back in October, @doggface208 (aka Nathan Apodaca) took to TikTok to share a chill moment on his way to work. Riding on his longboard with the breeze running through his... sweater, this 20-sec video exudes pure, hypnotic, calm vibes - inducing instant happiness to anyone watching.

Vogue described Apodaca’s video as demonstrating “just how badly the world is aching for the simplified state of ‘mega-chill’ right now.”

As he takes in his surroundings to the tune of Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, he smiles, takes a swig of OceanSpray cranberry juice, and mouths along to the lyrics of the famous song we all know and love.

Perfectly summing up modern-day marketing, this viral video shows - once again - that brands and agencies can go to great lengths planning highly produced ads with carefully scripted rollout plans, but the best PR often comes from regular people using their products in attention-grabbing ways on social media.


The Christmas Ads Descend

Whilst Coca-Cola was crowned king of advertising with this year's festive advertorial offering, we're not so impressed at Bloom HQ. Instead, we have to give it to Marks & Spencer, in this year's ad perfectly narrated by Olivia Coleman and reviving the good old Groove Armada symphony that's now synonymous with the famous "This is not just Christmas food; this is M&S Christmas food" - oh yeah!

Watch the 1-minute video below - just make sure to have a napkin at the ready:


As pioneers in product, why expect anything less from their advertising? Dame, the world's first plastic-free, reusable tampon applicator, ran a "racy" OOH ad campaign depicting a woman's crotch area with her tampon string innocuously dangling from her underwear.

Supported by extensive relevant press coverage, the creative and media plan perfectly fit the brand's strategy - a forward-thinking, innovative solution for the progressive eco-conscious.

In a comment from the brand's co-founder, Celia Pool, she says: “Periods are a normal, natural bodily function for girls, women and people who menstruate. They’re not dirty or unhygienic. There’s no need for stigma. It’s just blood. Normal, natural blood. Nothing radical about it.”

As mini marketing activists, we are so here for it. Read more about the campaign in Glamour, here.

Special Mention

We couldn't do a recap of the year's best marketing campaigns without citing our CMO-crush, Fernando Machado and his team at Burger King for the omnipresent, controversial 'Moldy Whopper' ad campaign. Daring to showcase their product in an intensely grotesque way, this weirdly-mesmerising campaign got everyone talking and certainly raised awareness of the preservatives removed from their burger recipes. (Unlike McDonald's, whose Big Mac can remain intact for years!)

Watch the video below, just make sure you're not having burger for dinner tonight:

Thank you for reading Bloom's annual round-up of the marketing world over the past 12 months. We all know 2020 has been anything but normal, we're just happy to see some of that absurdity come through in this year's best and most memorable creative stories!

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