Sunday, January 1, 2017

Top 10 Marketing Highlights of 2016

With 2016 now history, it's time for my annual "Top 10" marketing highlights post – incredible to believe this is my 7th annual post featuring annual marketing highlights. Without further ado, let's get to it! What campaigns were great? Which were duds? What stood out as marketing innovation, and what will go down in history as memorable as Apple's 1984 Super Bowl ad? What do you remember from the 2016 marketing reel?

With a quick nod to David Letterman for the format, here's my list:

Number 10: 

Budweiser changed its name to "America" starting in the summer and lasting until the Presidential election in November. While it was certainly interesting to see the word "America" in that familiar script on cans and billboards, it was a little odd to see a country name on beer.

Number 9: 

Great Britain voted to leave the European Union, and during the campaign, a new term was coined: BREXIT, a combination of BRITAIN and EXIT. This was an interesting example of how quickly a concept or political campaign can lead to a memorable word or term that can become part of everyday conversation. Did you use the word?

Number 8: 

After 108 very long years, the Chicago Cubs won baseball's World Series. As a result, the city of Chicago and all things related to Chicago became big news. For a little while, everyone stopped talking about politics, and instead, talked about Chicago, Cleveland, baseball, and overcoming a 108-year curse.

Number 7: 

Instagram changed its logo, and following in the footsteps of the Gap and the YMCA, there was little excitement.

Number 6: 

For the first time since 1995, Taco Bell refreshed its logo at the same time it opened its 7,000th restaurant - located on the Las Vegas Strip. According to a Taco Bell spokesperson, "The new logo mirrors the new restaurant strategy: One size doesn’t fit all. In this modern take, color makes a splash and allows customization through patterns and textures, giving usage flexibility while maintaining its iconic framework." Again, little excitement.

Number 5: 

The city of Las Vegas was awarded a new National Hockey League (NHL) team, named the Golden Knights, to celebrate the NHL's 100th anniversary. However, as 2016 came to a close, there were trademark concerns over the ability to use the Golden Knights name.

Number 4: 

Prince William, his brother, and his wife launched a PSA (Public Service Announcement) campaign about mental health awareness. According to a Kensington Palace spokesperson, "It will be the biggest single project Their Royal Highnesses have undertaken together. The Heads Together campaign aims to change the national conversation on mental well being and will be a partnership with inspiring charities with decades of experience in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges."

Number 3: 

Time Warner Cable changed its name to Spectrum. However, unlike most re-branding strategies, there was no compelling brand story, no brand promise, and no memorable tagline. One day, the company was Time Warner, and the next day, it was Spectrum. And to add insult to injury, the customer service is worse. This is an epic #brandfail.

Number 2: 

Talk show host Kelly Ripa has evolved from "Live with Regis and Kelly" to "Live with Kelly and Michael" to simply "Live with Kelly." Regis retired, Michael left under a shroud of mystery, and now, it would appear that Kelly prefers a variety of guest co-hosts. There is no question that she prefers the show to be an extension of her personal brand.

And Number 1 on my 2016 Marketing Highlights List:

If you refer back to my Marketing Highlights list from 2015, this is what I wrote: "Donald Trump evolved from business tycoon and TV host to Presidential candidate. While some may question his viability for this position, there is no doubt that he can teach everyone something about building a powerful personal brand."

Since Trump evolved from business tycoon and TV host to Presidential candidate to President-Elect during 2016, and since TIME magazine named Trump as its "Person of the Year," my comments from last year's post will remain as number one on this year's post.

What would you add to this list? Here's to 2017 and another year of marketing highlights. Happy New Year!

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