• Bloom Content Team

Year in Review: 2021 Marketing

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

After 2020, all we wanted was an uneventful year.

2021 continues to be turbulent and we are all learning to quickly adapt to new ways of working, socialising, and living. The world of marketing has reflected that with some standout marketing moments that have been born in a year that has once again... been anything but normal.

In our yearly marketing review we take a look at the highlights from our industry over the past 12 months. Let's dive in...


In January we said goodbye to President Donald Trump with the world letting out a sigh of relief. Joe Biden then became the 46th President of the United States. But anyone who watched the history-making inauguration will know that the real star of the show was Bernie Sanders. Sitting cross-legged with his mittens on, who would have thought the internet would have paid so much attention?

Ikea capitalised on this meme sensation with a stroke of marketing genius. Their 'Get the look' campaign featured the man himself Bernie Sanders, in his now iconic look. Encouraging customers to get the look by purchasing a folding chair (Gunde) and oven glove (Vardagen). Brilliant!

Ikea has used viral social media campaigns in the past. They created a campaign that caught the attention of Game of Thrones fans. This resulted in Ikea featuring in the ad break within the shows final season. The ad was shown to 18.4 million viewers and led to a 495% social uplift.

The lesson?

Whilst strategic thinking and forward-planning is best practice, its moments like these that prove marketers need to also be reactive, and creative on the spot.


Every February we find ourselves inundated by Valentine's marketing.

But this past year, one brand stood out: Bloom & Wild.

In a bold move, this postbox flower company opted out of selling red roses for the most romantic time of the year.

Developed by Mother's sister agency; Other, the 'Not for sale' campaign encourages Bloom & Wild's audiences to show their love in a more original way than gifting red roses. Yawn.

In contrast to the reactive Bernie Sanders campaign by IKEA, this was not a spur-of-the-moment decision for the flower brand.

Bloom & Wild took to researching market demands and consumer behaviour to inform the campaign. Their findings showed that red roses are actually not that well received, with the majority of the British population (58%) thinking they are unoriginal, and 78% prefering to receive something more thoughtful on the 14th Feb.

Armed with this interesting insight, the campaign demonstrates brilliant, research-backed originality - unlike those cliché red roses.

This is a campaign that this Bloom can certainly get behind!


In March we all emerged from our third lockdown in the United Kingdom, after already spending most of 2020 in isolation. It's safe to say that, at this point, our social skills had somewhat deteriorated.

The chewing gum brand, Wrigley's, took this opportunity to cement their positioning as the go-to solution for great-tasting breath-freshening and launched its post-lockdown 'Get your ding back' campaign - designed to help us get our basic human instincts back.

Featuring an interactive gaming experience and highly-dramatic TVC, this campaign hit all the right spots - on-brand, funny, and memorable.

Whilst the ad above hilariously narrates a re-emergence to which we can all relate, the design of the video game was reminiscent of the nostalgic Pokemon Game Boy era.

When clicking through this virtual world, you are presented with a series of simulations to complete in order to enter the real world. These tasks include things like putting on your jeans and remembering the essentials before leaving the house - things with which we all struggled after lockdown!

Overall the campaign was creative, imaginative and gave us a taste of nostalgia. Something people were craving after another lockdown.


Ah, the fresh air of April. What a perfect time to take a trip to Switzerland, don't you think?

Armed with a hilarious self-awareness, the Switzerland Tourism board launched a campaign that capitalised on them being Europe's most neutral country.

Entitled, 'No Drama,' the new TV ad from My Switzerland saw tennis champion Roger Federer and Hollywood legend Robert De Niro chatting via FaceTime about an advertisement that Roger wanted Robert to star in. The only issue? Mr. De Niro felt it lacked drama. Even with Roger suggesting the pair ski down a mountain and then jump out of a plane, the drama wasn't enough for the actor.

The video finishes with the line: 'When you need a vacation without the drama'.

Just as the world started to open up again, many travellers were rightly worried about the regulations each country had. They craved a relaxing holiday without the fuss that would refresh them - and that's what Switzerland was offering, no drama.

Celebrities don't necessarily equal genius when it comes to marketing. The video still has to grab the attention of viewers. This campaign does just that.

Catch you on the slopes!


As part of European Diversity Month, this bold anti-racism campaign from Spanish post saw a collection of new stamps featuring different skin colours:

Entitled, #EqualityStamps, the campaign amassed international attention and trended on Twitter for the first three weeks.

Of course, the stamps are not all priced equally. In a brave bid to demonstrate racial injustices, the stampls reduce in value with the darkness of skin tone.

Bloom is an anti-racist business. Operating in the media space, we believe in the power our work can have in shaping social perceptions and countering bias. That's why we're proud to work with the likes of Cub Klub and Foundervine, and take measures like paying attention to the models we select in our casting, or the types of images we select for our advertising production, for example, ensuring we balance brand & business results with diversity & inclusion. Read our blog post on how to avoid performative marketing

May deserves another mention as we simply cannot ignore the marketing genius of Guinness' 'Welcome Back' campaign.

Testament to the power of a strong brand with simple, core assets that make it immediately recognisable and forever memorable, the campaign created in anticipation of pubs and bars reopening shows all the ways the simple black and white of a Guiness pint is seen everywhere.

"The inspiration for #LooksLikeGuinness, is that all too common experience of us seeing something we miss everywhere we look..."


Back in June we witnessed the Twitter war of the century between supermarket giants, Aldi and Marks & Spencer.

M&S commenced legal action on Aldi with lawyers citing infringement upon the trademarks on Colin the Caterpillar. Aldi’s own Caterpillar cake, Cuthbert, was the criminal.

Aldi took to Twitter with a series of funny tweets making light of the (pretty serious) situation. Other supermarkets like the Co-Op, Morrison's, and Waitrose also got involved.

Aldi tweeted that it would rather donate all of the proceeds from a limited edition version of Cuthbert to Macmillian instead of wasting it on legal fees. M&S tweeted back saying that while it would also like to raise money, they would like Aldi to find their own character (#KevinTheCarrotCake).

Aldi’s social media team had us glued to Twitter - and it showed - with one tweet receiving 55.3K likes and 5,010 re-tweets. It may not have a meticulously planned campaign but it did catapult Aldi right to the top of Twitter's trending list. It was a clever move by Aldi’s marketing team, and - if you think they have dropped it by now - you would be wrong. Have you seen their humorous Christmas ad? Keep reading to see it for yourself...


The iconic jewellery brand, Tiffany’s, synonymous with Audrey Hepburn glamour, eating a croissant for breakfast in Manhattan, launched their controversial 'Not Your Mother’s Jewellery' campaign in June of this past year.

Whilst the campaign is hurtful, offensive, and ageist... There is something to be admired by the boldness in the new direction for the brand. i.e. If you're going to do it, do it properly. Don't hang around in limbo land trying to straddle different propositions, in a bid to please different audiences. (M&S made a huge mistake with this which resulted in year-on-year losses for the non-food divisions of the business).

Kudos to Tiffany's for picking a direction and running with it. Full investment, full brand coherence... They will just need to stick to their guns for long enough to steer the juggernaut of a brand in a new direction.


One of the most powerful social-led campaigns this year; #WeThe15 by the International Paralympic Committee.

Shining a light on the injustices people with disabilities face around the world, the #WeThe15 campaign is a social movement led by the International Paralympic Committee and International Disability Alliance. It aims to break down the stigma and discrimination surrounding disabled people, who make up 15% of the population.

The social-led campaign was created to coincide with the delayed Tokyo Paralympics which happened in mid-August. The video which is part of a long-term drive under the hashtag #WeThe15 has an empowering message which is to: “build greater knowledge of the barriers and discrimination persons with disability face on a daily basis at all levels of society.”

The video brings together disabled voices from across six different nations. It aired on Channel 4 and NBC during the 2020 Paralympics opening and closing ceremonies plus it is on YouTube (614,937 views) and was posted across social channels.


Oatly have been around since the 1990s only becoming popular and dominating the global markets in the last few years. Sales of oat milk are predicted to be as high as $6.8 billion by 2026 and what Oatly have proved is that by not giving up on a product you believe in and sticking to your founding values, you can succeed.

Last September saw Oatly monopolise on the power of billboards. Their social media is known for its lengthy but witty captions, and their billboards are no different.

Across Europe and here in the UK they made a bold, short statement on their billboards writing ‘It’s like milk but made for humans.' The billboards grabbed the attention of passers-by with many taking to Instagram and posting pictures of the billboards.

We love that Oatly’s branding stays consistent across all of their marketing channels. They have a strong brand voice which is mirrored in all corners of their marketing, they are consistent and they make the values they stand for clear.


One of our favourite campaigns of the entire year: Don’t Be That Guy, by Police Scotland tackles gender violence with a sequence of powerful pieces to camera by diverse men:

Opening with seemingly harmless questions like, "Ever called a girl 'doll'? Or whistled at her walking down the street?" The laddish comments get progressively more sexual as we see just how easy things can escalate when we let slide the early signs of gender abuse.

The simplicity of the head-on, voice-only shots with dark backgrounds really add to the power of this important issue.

Our favourite part of the campaign, though, was the casting of men addressing other men, talking about what goes on behind closed doors - where the action really needs to take place.

The campaign brilliantly tackles the root of the cause, instead of sticking a band-aid on the surface level, ending succinctly with the line: "Sexual violence starts long before you think it does."


The annual tech conference run by students in Helsinki, Slush, are no strangers to bold advertising.

In one of their conference banners, a simply genius copywriting job purposely featuring the standard Latin placeholder text used by designers around the world:

'Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet.'

Then explained by the subheader:

'Kept the placeholder. What matters is inside. <3 Welcome!'

Of course, at Bloom, we are suckers for anything tongue-in-cheek like this. It breaks the mould in a refreshing way that speaks to our soul, but this is also a wonderful example of how powerful copy can be in advertising and how well-executed the bravest of ads can be so long as there's a brand strategy and coherence underpinning it all..

Here's the brief: we have copywriting alone to raise brand awareness and drive downloads of our fintech app. What can you do? Here's what we can do.


December means one thing...Christmas ads! Every year we have high hopes but did they deliver?

Sainsbury’s ‘A Christmas to Savour’

After the disappointment of last year, marketing departments around the country have been busy creating Christmas campaigns that focus on us being reunited with family. Sainsbury's 2021 Christmas ad encourages us to savour every moment together.

The ad is a freeze-frame of a typical Christmas dinner. With food flying, fizz spilling and piano playing. No words are spoken until the very end when Stephen Fry says: “iI’s been a long time coming so lets make it a Christmas to savour.”

It wasn't an easy task to make a Christmas ad this year. It needed to bring us back together, focus on the magic of Christmas while hinting at the hard times we have all been through. Sainbury’s achieved that with a well thought out Christmas ad with the message ‘A Christmas to Savour’ also being used in their stores across the country.

Aldi ‘Ebanana Scrooge’

In marketing, the devil is often in the details. In Aldi’s Christmas advert we see Ebanana Scrooge search for his Christmas Spirit. It features a cameo appearance from Marcus ‘Radishford’ and Colin the Caterpillar being arrested. The advert is full of clever puns but the message that hits home the most is in the final frame “for you to be happy, you need to be kind”.

Air New Zealand ‘A Magical Delivery’

Here in the UK the weather outside is frightful. In New Zealand though, it’s a lot more delightful.

It’s summertime in the Southern Hemisphere which can sometimes make it difficult to feel Christmassy. Thankfully Air New Zealand has come to the rescue with a kiwi Christmas ad.

Sadly Santa can’t get into Aotearoa (Māori for New Zealand) this year. But that doesn't stop Air New Zealand delivering some Christmas joy around the country .

Air New Zealand’s marketing often focuses on their USP which is their unique kiwi hospitality, meaning they go above and beyond for their customers.

Meri Kirihimete (Merry Christmas)!


So, that's our marketing year in review for 2021. What do you think of our favourites? Which ones made you laugh, which ones made you cry? Did you remember any from the year, or were some of these totally new to you? Let us know if we missed off any, and here's to an even better 2022 ahead!

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