Forget all the buzzwords; 2014 was the year local became the new mainstream in retail.
It doesn’t matter which buzzword you talk about – content marketing, programmatic, mcommerce, big data, beacons or social commerce. One thing is for certain – retailers and brands no longer have to choose between local action and inspiration. To drive the kinds of bottom-line sales growth that brands need today, co-existence between digital and physical retail is key.
Whether people were standing inside their local Lowe’s store using their smartphones to “showroom” for a snow blower, or sitting at home in front of their laptops “webrooming” for the best deals on winter coats, the best marketing campaigns of 2014 all had one thing in common – they put consumers’ local needs and wants at the center of every message, ad, email, coupon, offer and experience.
As we get ready to welcome a new year in life – and in marketing – we thought it’d be fun to take a walk down memory lane and countdown our list of The 10 Best Local Ads of 2014.
#10 Macy’s “Win Big During Doorbuster Hours”
Macy’s Black Friday ads for mobile were brilliant. They not only pushed their special holiday promotions using the perennially popular and adorable Spongebob Squarepants, but they also encouraged shoppers to go from their screens into their local stores around the country.
What makes this ad execution so smart? It connected shoppers directly to the Macy’s app, which customers could use to scan QR codes for special discounts and information, leading directly to more sales in-store. That’s where the value of local marketing lies – in serving locally relevant, personalized content to shoppers in real-time so that it prompts them to act in-store.
#9 Burger King’s “Pepper Up Your Breakfast”
If there was every any doubt as to how much we rely and depend on mobile to make every single part of our lives easier, simpler and more efficient, the Burger King “Pepper Up Your Breakfast” mobile campaign is a great reminder
Burger King provided geo-targeted discounts through mobile rich media ads. Even something as basic as eating a meal cannot go uninterrupted without diners pulling out their mobile devices to browse, search, play games, listen to music and hopefully find a perfect deal or promotion. While it was a straightforward approach and may not have hit all the fancy bells and whistles, its simplicity and focus on adding to – not disturbing – diners’ existing mobile behaviors is what contributed to its success.
#8 Hillshire Farms “American Craft Link Sausages”
While beacon-enabled marketing can sometimes be tricky to execute, Hillshire Brands got them right with their ads to promote their American Craft Link Sausages. The iconic food brand saw a 36 percent increase in brand awareness – that equated to a 20-fold increase in purchase intent and lift in overall sales. The campaign was so successful that they’re expanding it to promote additional brands.
#7 Lowe’s Home Improvement Targeted Personalized Video
Nominated for “Best In-Stream Video” at the 2015 Digiday Video Awards, this campaign featured dynamic, personalized digital video ads that not only drove traffic to the Lowes.com website, but also boosted transactions at the cash registers of every one of the 1,717 Lowe’s stores in the U.S. By bringing together together data, programmatic audience buying and dynamic, personalized video creative the campaign also met the local needs and wants of Lowe’s shoppers by presenting the only most popular and relevant products for every consumer segment.
#6 Clorox “2014 FIFA World Cup Viggle Partnership”
One particularly great omnichannel campaign was Clorox’s execution of a partnership with mobile app – Viggle – for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Having seen success the previous year with video ads that generated a 54 percent engagement rate, Clorox once again partnered with entertainment app Viggle to increase engagement during the World Cup.
Together, Clorox and Viggle captured the attention of a global audience with a variety of ads across channels and platforms. Not only were Clorox shoppers and Viggle users engaged in relevant, meaningful and interactive ways on social, but they also were shown banner ads across mobile and desktop. To top it off, soccer fans had the opportunity to see and interact with real-time World Cup updates packaged alongside Clorox’s pre-roll video.
#5 Buzzfeed Native Ads
Enterainment and news site BuzzFeed featured some of the most-shared, most-engaged and even most controversial native advertising experiences this year. They have had such great success that they even snagged the Huffington Post’s Director of Native Advertising to find more ways to monetize content.
It will be interesting moving forward to see how brands with brick-and-mortar locations — like BuzzFeed‘s regular advertiser Starbucks — can target their native ads to specific regions and user demographics.
#4 Toys “R” Us “Let’s Play”
As we get closer to the #1 spot on our list of The 10 Best Local Ads of 2014, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the artful video advertising execution from Toys “R” Us. The reason it made our list is simple – the toy retailer didn’t use digital video ads in the same old and boring way many other retailers have done in the past
More specifically, Toys “R” Us served up a variety of digital videos across desktop and mobile as a supplementary means of increasing social engagement and influencing social users to head in-store to make actual purchases. And that’s the kind of local marketing that more retailers need to be thinking about, let alone deploying. When done well, social marketing has the power to not just drive social-focused engagement, but can actually influence a shopper’s decision to buy in-store.
Using commercial clips, behind-the-scenes photos and video, the company partnered with a creative dad who created and posted a YouTube video of his adorable son wielding a CGI Light Saber inside a Toys “R” Us store. The ability to show a local experience of a dad-and-son and tie it to digital video advertising paid off – it drove both online and offline sales for the retailer and sparked many memorable videos from fellow shoppers and parents then and will probably do so well into 2015.
#3 Wal-Mart “In-Store Search”
While many big brands are still struggling to see actionable results from local search, Walmart went above and beyond the call of duty for their customers looking for local offers. The mass merchandise retailer updated their mobile experiences and search campaigns to include store inventory. The decision proved to be wise – 70 percent of their Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday traffic came from mobile devices due in large part to the fact that shoppers wanted to plan ahead before stepping into their local Walmart store.
#2 Coca-Cola “Share A Coke”
Coca Cola’s “Share A Coke” campaign had its greatest successes in 2014 with the introduction of customizable soda cans. While the campaign saw its greatest success come to life on Instagram, Coca-Cola also saw great results with the campaign on Twitter and Facebook. The Wall Street Journal reported Coca-Cola saw “125,000 posts about the campaign across all social channels from June 2 through July 14, with 96% of consumer sentiment toward the campaign being either positive or neutral.”
But more notable than its social success, the “Share A Coke” is credited with boosting the beverage brand’s sales for the first time in 10 years. More specifically, AdWeek revealed that sales volumes were up 0.4 percent for 12 weeks through August 2014, compared to the same period in 2013. When you look at competitors like PepsiCo, Dr. Pepper and Snapple Group who have all been in the negatives, Coca Cola seems to have come out on top.
#1 Honda “The Other Side”
If you’re like most Americans, Honda is probably one of the first cars you ever owned. With the help of creative agency Wieden + Kennedy, Honda set out to create a “double-sided story” on YouTube to promote its well favored model – the Civic – and its sportier sibling, the Civic Type R. With the press of a button, Honda owners, potential Honda buyers and car enthusiasts could all alternate between two different video “worlds” and at the end, they were directed to a landing page where prominent calls to actions asked them to schedule a test drive or find a local dealership.
This highlights what I said at the beginning – brands don’t have to choose between local action and inspiration. The two melded beautifully together to inspire car shoppers, car enthusiasts and existing Honda owners and, best of all, prompted a local outcome.