18 lessons we can learn from Airbnb, Nike and IKEA in 2017

2017 is almost over and it’s time to review some of the best marketing campaigns of the year. What made them special and what can we learn from them?

Date published
January 02, 2018 Categories

As the competition increases among brands, there is a greater need to come up with fresh new ideas. That push for innovation led to many creative campaigns this year and we’ve decided to look back at some of the best ones. Hopefully, these will inspire you to update your marketing strategy in 2018 by adding new channels, new technologies, and new tactics.

1. Airbnb – “We Accept”

Airbnb wanted to capitalize the political talk back in February by promoting their support acceptance of people of all backgrounds. The ad aired during the Super Bowl and made a clear statement with the caption, “Acceptance starts with all of us.”

Good timing and a visually-appealing video made Airbnb’s campaign a quick success. Shared by many celebrities and influencers, the ad garnered nearly 5 million views on YouTube and 113,000 on Instagram.

What marketers can learn:

2. Ted Baker – “Keeping Up with the Bakers”

Thinking outside the box, Ted Baker created “Keeping Up with the Bakers,” a video series posted as daily Instagram StoriesThe idea was to involve storytelling and ecommerce in a new, yet trending, channel. In addition, the brand created a 360-degree movie that included shoppable content for Snapchat.

What made the campaign even more successful was the fact that they also involved the audience, using the storytelling as the hook to keep them coming back for more. They encouraged people to come up with their own endings for a chance to win prizes.

The success of the campaign derives from their creativity and the innovation, blending new channels with immersive experiences that can increase awareness, engagement and sales. It’s no surprise that the trailer for the movie was watched 1.9million times and gained more than 19,000 likes.

What marketers can learn:

3. Heineken – “Worlds Apart” 

Heineken’s “Worlds Apart” challenged everyone to break down their barriers. Real people were asked to meet in a room in pairs to assemble furniture. Each pair had opposing opinions—an environmental activist and a climate change denier, for example. Once their views were revealed, they had the option to sit down and have a beer to discuss their differences or leave the room.

The social experiment was successful because of its authenticity and relevance. It stood out with its focus on real people without trying too hard to appeal to the emotion or highlighting “right” and “wrong” views.

#OpenYourWorld went viral back in April, racking up more than 3 million views on Facebook in the first week. The video now has more than 14 million views on Youtube and 56,700 shares on Facebook.

What marketers can learn:

4. MailChimp – “Did You Mean MailChimp?”

The MailChimp brand is all about standing out with its unique campaigns and creative social presence. “WhaleSynth,” “MaleCrimp” and “KaleLimp” were a few examples, with each having a unique landing page and video, and design and creative direction.

Despite the very subtle marketing, MailChimp managed to create one of the most playful and appealing campaigns of the year. It had strong brand awareness and the positive sentiment, earning many social shares and winning a Grand Prix at this year’s Cannes Lions festival.

5. IKEA – “The Place”

In September, IKEA created an augmented reality app to help customers test new furniture. The app is a great example of how new technology can lead to engaging new experiences.

That’s exactly what matters for a brand when trying to introduce a new technology. It’s the opportunity to find how it can be useful for its customers in applying it to everyday use. Once they find the solution to this challenge, the results are impressive, both for brand awareness and sales.

What marketers can learn:

6. Nike – “Breaking2”

Promoting the VaporFly Elite shoes, Nike invited three champion marathon runners to try to defeat all odds and break the two-hour marathon record.

Eliud Kipchoge, Lelisa Desisa, and Zersenay Tadese seemed destined to fail with such high expectations. As with Nike’s general branding, this was an attempt to push the limits and live stream the challenge on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The athletes missed the goal by just 26 seconds, but the audience was captivated, following their run in real time on Nike’s social channels. The hashtag #Breaking2 earned 2 trillion impressions with the use of influencer marketing contributing to the impressive results. Nike also collaborated with National Geographic to create a documentary of the record attempt, taking a campaign’s storytelling to the next level.

What made this campaign successful was the willingness to test the limits and try the impossible. The idea to use live streaming during the marathon helped in engaging a larger audience, keeping the brand’s association of pushing yourself to the extreme.

What marketers can learn:


What the six campaigns had in common was the desire to think outside the box and explore new methods of standing out in a busy marketing world. In a multi-channel marketing landscape, a campaign can make a difference by exploring new paths that speak to their target audience.

A successful campaign blends emotion, brand association and new creative elements. No matter your budget, these campaigns can inspire you to try new ideas that can maximize your chances of success.

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