Our Favourite Creative Marketing Campaigns from 2020

Chloe Shepherd

It’s safe to say that this has been an eventful year, and one many of us will be glad to see the end of! But the challenges brought about by the pandemic and the resultant changes to our day to day lives have presented some intriguing new opportunities, many of which have been put to great use by the country’s top creatives. 

We’ve seen some amazing creative marketing campaigns over the course of 2020, from viral posters designed to raise a smile, to the complete rebranding of some of London’s busiest (well, maybe quietest this year) underground stations in honour of a certain new console release. Here are a few of our favourite campaigns from the year that no one will forget anytime soon. 

PlayStation 5’s London Underground Takeover 

(Images: Sony)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that PlayStation brought out a new console this year. PlayStation 5 has been hitting the headlines all year long; it’s been in such high demand that many gamers are still struggling to get one. 

In honour of its release, the brand transformed five of London’s busiest underground stations, using its iconic branding to grab the attention of the capital’s commuters. The 48-hour takeover saw Sony PlayStation branding take pride of place on London Underground signs, with red circles, green triangles, pink squares and blue crosses all over the capital. 

Some underground stations were even renamed for the 48-hour period, as travellers to new stations Gran Turismo 7 Sisters and Horizon Forbidden West Ham would have noticed. 

IKEA told of the value of a good night’s sleep

Images: IKEA, shot by photographer Amy Currell using large-scale models designed by Andy Knight Ltd

IKEA’s tongue-in-cheek sleep campaign made light of the mass of products that have been invented to help combat the effects of sleep-deprivation. 

From energy-boosting vitamin pills and drinks to miracle anti-aging creams, there’s no shortage to the number of products claiming to help us look like we’ve got a good night’s sleep. But IKEA thinks we can do better, by actually getting that all-important shut-eye in the first place. 

The brand took inspiration from popular beauty and vitamin campaigns, but shifted the focus to the thing we really need: more sleep. Advertising its range of duvets, pillows and bedding, the campaign used good old-fashioned posters to make its point. And it did so incredibly well. 

A new Travis Scott x McDonalds celebrity partnership 

Images: McDonald’s

US rapper Travis Scott collaborated with McDonalds, for Cactus Jack x McDonald’s. The partnership saw Scott’s favourite meal of a Quarter Pounder with cheese, bacon, and lettuce; fries with BBQ sauce; and a Sprite promoted at a vast number of restaurants. The month-long partnership also had a charitable component, supporting several organisations endorsed by the celebrity. 

Celebrating the launch, Travis Scott posted an image of the Cactus Jack face logo made with McDonalds fries on Twitter, and that’s all it took to get the world talking. It’s the first celebrity partnership for McDonalds since 1992, so it’s big news for the fast food giant and its fans. 

Images: McDonald’s

Calm x Harry Styles puts meditation on the map 

Reports of sleep problems rose sharply during the first lockdown, as many struggled with the anxiety and uncertainty of a completely unprecedented situation. But Harry Styles was on hand to help. The superstar drove fans wild when he released a sleep story designed to help us relax into the land of nod. 

Teaming up with meditation app Calm, Styles spread the word about the importance of rest and recovery, two things that he firmly believes are “endlessly beneficial to both (his) physical and mental health.” For Calm, the effect of this partnership was incredible. The app’s teaser clip on Instagram was viewed over 593,000 times – and everyone was talking about #DreamWithHarry. 

We’re firm believers in the power of meditation, and the success of these apps in 2020 has shown that many of us have discovered their benefits during a difficult year. With this in mind, we decided to turn our attention to the incredible rise of meditation apps in 2020, to take a closer look at what made these apps so popular. Here’s what we found

Netflix spoiled our favourite shows

Images: Courtesy of Matithorn Prachuabmoh and Seinne Kongruangkit

A pair of Thai students from the Miami Ad School in Hamburg, Germany became a viral sensation at the start of this year. The duo created a series of posters encouraging members of the public to stay at home – or risk having the twists and turns of their favourite Netflix shows revealed. 

Claiming to be created by Netflix, the posters were emblazoned with huge spoilers for many of the platform’s most popular programmes. Once it was picked up on social media, the campaign snowballed in popularity, becoming a huge talking point. Many mistakenly believed that the advertising campaign was legitimate, but the two talented students behind the story soon came forward to enjoy their moment. 

TheToyZone teamed up with CGI artist Jan Koudela for epic Polly Pockets 

Images: ToyZone and Jan Koudela

Some much needed light relief came from a partnership between TheToyZone and CGI artist Jan Koudela. Taking inspiration from the nostalgic 90s gem that is Polly Pocket, the pair recreated a series of fictional homes, as miniature Polly Pocket masterpieces. 

The campaign included the likes of Monica’s apartment from Friends, the home of The Royal Tenenbaums and the slightly unnerving house from Stranger Things, which came complete with that light up alphabet wall… and a step into the Upside Down. 

There was also an incredibly detailed, cosy looking Lord of the Rings hobbit house and the pastel-coloured Springfield home of The Simpsons (which looks strangely like most Polly Pockets that we can remember!). But our personal favourite has to be the tiny version of The Shining’s truly terrifying hotel. Mostly because it features our friend Johnny, who is of course wielding an axe. 

There has been no shortage of inspiring, highly engaging creative marketing campaigns this year. We’ve loved seeing what the industry had to offer in 2020, as genius new campaigns sought to answer some of the latest challenges that were thrown at us. With everything from cutting edge meditation apps designed to keep us calm, to fun Polly Pocket toys to make us smile, it’s been a great year for creativity. No pressure 2021, but you’ve got big shoes to fill.