Industry or sector aside, every brand needs a voice. In an age where consumers want to forge a deeper personal connection with brands, the likes of banner ads and static ad slogans alone hold little value.
Studies show that 78% of consumers believe companies focused on producing customised content are more trustworthy than brands that churn out generic articles, blog content or marketing promotions.
To resonate with your target audience and thrust yourself into the public's consciousness, delivering an engaging, balanced, and share-worthy brand marketing campaign is essential. And what better way to do this than incorporate pop culture trends?
These campaigns are an instant hit because of their popular appeal amongst masses. That's why major brands use these trends in various ways like product placements, celebrity collaborations and more.
Here are three inspirational campaigns that nailed pop culture trends:
Coca-Cola and Stranger Things Collaboration
Coca-Cola needs little introduction. Boasting a perfect storm of striking aesthetics, well-placed promotional initiatives, and brand innovation, Coca-Cola has remained one of the world’s most iconic soft drinks for more than a century. And its recent brand marketing campaign in conjunction with hit Netflix sci-fi epic, Stranger Things, is a testament to Coca-Cola’s enduring success.
Tapping directly into Stranger Things’ brand marketing ecosystem, Coca-Cola revisited its legendary 1985 marketing blunder—the failed launch of ‘New Coke.’
As the show’s third season is set in 1985, Coca-Cola was able to weave mentions as well as seamless product placements of New Coke into various episodes, creating targeted content around the campaign to gain extra traction through its various social media channels. It also released a limited batch of New Coke to the public.
This innovative campaign earned the brand around $1.5 million in ad placement value in addition to a significant boost in brand awareness.
Lesson: While you may not have the same marketing budget as Coca-Cola, by keeping your branding consistent across channels and forging value-driven partnerships with relevant brands, you will expand your commercial reach in a big way.
Kanye West’s Historic Adidas Collaboration - YEEZY
“Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy, they line up for days. Nike out here bad, they can't give shit away”
Do you remember this famous diss track “Facts” by Kanye? The rap was an instant sensation because of its explicit lyrics and had fans burst all over the internet with mixed emotions.
The track was released in 2015 post which Adidas launched its YEEZY collection in collaboration with Kanye. The YEEZY sneakers’ hype led to a blockbuster success all over the world. Resulting in the collection being sold out as fast as 10-minutes.
To add to the drama, West’s unsuccessful collaboration with Nike in the past had made him all bitter and boy was he determined to strike hard. Hence, the diss rap.
So, to make YEEZY a success, Kanye built great buzz for the sneakers among his fans. He did this by truly leveraging the power of his social media following to its fullest.
Through a series of tweets, he took the social media with a storm. And what worked was the tone of his content that spoke directly with his target audience. Constant faith and passion was clearly visible from the tweets. He had already predicted the success of YEEZY before its launch.
Many criticized, many applauded. But, what matters is West’s promises were delivered. But he didn’t stop with just the sold-out phenomenon.
In his badass self-promotion pursuits, Kanye released the “facts” track to build the hype even more. The lyrics were enough to popularize the controversial rap. But West also offered a free downloadable song once a week in his G.O.O.D. Friday campaign.
Safe to say that Adidas dug a gold mine through Kanye’s marketing prowess.
Lesson: Aligning with the audience’s likes, timing and building a bigger stage is hitting the bull’s eye. Do not shy away from taking risks. Also, Eminem might be the God of Rap but Kanye is of marketing.
Absolut's Forever Pride and Born Colourless Campaign
In the digital age, people crave marketing with meaning. A longstanding supporter of the LGBT+ community since 1981, the Absolut Vodka has produced an eclectic mix of targeted brand marketing campaigns over the years—including the launch of the world’s first ever rainbow-coloured spirits bottle.
As the lynchpin of Absolut Vodka’s brand image, the Pride logo has played a pivotal role in the brand’s LGBT+ marketing efforts over the years and by adding substance to their messaging, the vodka giant is stronger than ever.
Last year, Absolut pushed its innovation to the limit by encasing two London buses in branded rainbow-coloured print, allowing passengers to donate to the Stonewall charity by tapping their smartphones on the seat in front of them.
Not only did the campaign raise awareness, as well as funds for a vital cause, but it also distilled Absolut’s reputation as the UK’s premier vodka brand.
The brand has in fact, always been vocal about social issues through their ads. Another campaign - Born Colourless is a remarkable example of this.
The campaign brings folks of different nationalities and ethnicities together in a beautifully conceptualised video. Its powerful theme of global unity is packed with bang-on messaging that compels the audience to connect with the ad emotionally.
Lesson: Your brand image forms the very foundation of your success and by teaming up with notable causes in your niche, you will cement yourself as a business that is authentic, trustworthy, and relevant in an ever-changing world.
“You have to stay true to your heritage; that's what your brand is about.” – Alice Temperley, Fashion Designer & Brand Innovator
These strikingly different but equally powerful examples of brand marketing crush with their pop culture game. We hope they’ve provided fuel for your creative fire—and for more invaluable insights, read How One Start-Up Created a Lead Generation Machine That Got 75,000 Low-Cost Leads in 1 & 1/2 Years And Scaled to IPO.