Our Favourite Creative Marketing Campaigns from 2021

Chloe Shepherd

2021 has been another unusual year, but that hasn’t stopped brands, agencies and digital marketers from getting creative.

Aldi tried to ‘Free Cuthbert’

This was a very clever campaign from Aldi, when they turned a negative legal situation into a viral sensation.

It all started when Marks & Spencer launched legal action against Aldi, claiming their ‘Cuthbert the Caterpillar’ cake infringed the trademark for their ‘Colin the Caterpillar’ cake.

Whilst this was a complex legal situation, Aldi and a manchester based marketing agency decided to take to Twitter and start the hashtag #FreeCuthbert, sparking a national debate.

As a result, Aldi was trending on Twitter, it was written about on every major new outlet and it appeared on BBC Breakfast, Good Morning Britain and This Morning for several days.

Cuthbert was the focus of memes, parodies, memorabilia was made and hundreds of people joined the debate on social media. ‘Aldi estimates the organic reach generated by the campaign equated to more than £5m worth of media spend’ which – considering they didn’t spend any money on it – is extremely impressive.

Marmite chilli had an explosive launch 

Marmite launched their limited edition chilli-infused product with the image of a billboard and whilst this was a more ‘old school’ approach, it proved very popular on social media. 

The image was part of the wider launch – with the help of marketing agencies – which was covered on major news outlets including the Independent, inews.co.uk, and the Evening Standard

Autoglass also moved quickly, jumping on the success of the image circulation by releasing the image with one of their repairmen fixing the damage of the Marmite lid, which Marmite then tweeted. 

Interflora highlighted gender inequality

For International Women’s Day, Interflora highlighted the ongoing inequalities between men and women.

They released ‘The Equal Power’ flower bouquet which consisted of white and red roses that visually represented gender inequalities – the floral arrangement was used as a stark visualisation of just how often women are overlooked and outnumbered. 

Guinness welcomed us back to the pub

The Irish stout company has always been known for their clever marketing and this year was no different.

This campaign marked the reopening of hospitality venues in the United Kingdom to encourage people to have a Guinness as their first in-pub pint.

The main aspect of the campaign was an emotional ad that showcased different images which represented how the country came to a halt in 2020, with everyday objects representing the striking black and white contrast of a pint of Guinness. For instance, a black bin with a white cat sat on top of it… all to an emotional cover of the Elvis song ‘Always On My Mind’.

The #LooksLikeGuinness campaign also followed Guinness’ Raising the Bar initiative in which they pledged £30M to support pubs during the difficulties of COVID19.

Squid Game took over 

Ok, we know this is overdone now but we can’t do a 2021 round up without mentioning Squid Game. The South Korean series broke Netflix’s major records when it hit a milestone of more than 111 million viewers.

Naturally, this meant that global brands were quick to leverage off the success of the series by creating quick and simple social media posts. 

We did some research back in October and by looking at Google Trends we saw just how much ‘honeycomb’ keywords skyrocketed thanks to the ‘honeycomb challenge’ – or ‘dalgona challenge’ in Korea – which featured in the show and subsequently dominated TikTok. 

Whilst it may be a bit obvious, creating a simple image for social media featuring the honeycomb was a quick and effective way for the brands to jump on a widely discussed trend.

There has been no shortage of inspiring creative marketing campaigns this year. We’ve loved seeing what the industry had to offer in 2021, alongside some of our own successful campaigns, of course. From Cuthbert’s social media takeover to Guinness’s welcome back to the pub, it’s been a good year for creativity. So, how will 2022 top it?