Brave Brand of the Year, awarded by The Marketing Society’ in association with Campaign and sponsored by IBM iX, celebrates companies that have taken risks in a challenging environment over the past year.
The Marketing Society has announced a shortlist of 20 brands and it is down to Campaign readers to whittle it down to five finalists. Those finalists will then be put to the live vote at The Marketing Society’s annual dinner on Wednesday 14 November.
Here we look at four of the nominees:
The British Army
If a brand as steeped in tradition as the Army is annoying the likes of the Daily Mail, then it's clearly doing something mould-breaking. Asking questions such as "Can I be gay?" and "What if I get emotional?" and featuring a praying Muslim recruit, "This is belonging" is an empowering, inclusive campaign that embraces diversity. For an institution historically associated with machismo, that’s a brave move.
When an established publisher is seeing print sales haemorrhage, it’s a bold move to eschew an 80-year heritage and overturn its business model. Apparently taking inspiration from its own Dennis the Menace character, Beano disrupted its own marketplace, creating a campaign that got into the heads of kids, boosted online penetration by 1500% and won the Brand Revitalisation category at The Marketing Society Excellence Awards 2018.
It takes an unusually brave brand to deliberately provoke internet trolls. But that's just what Bodyform did with its global #Bloodnormal campaign. Smashing the convention of using blue liquid in ads to represent menstrual blood and replacing it with red, Bodyform inspired many and achieved its biggest cut-through ever. It also won a trio of awards at The Marketing Society Excellence Awards 2018, including the Grand Prix.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it – or so the saying goes. So it's incredibly brave for a brand as commercially successful as BrewDog to ditch its "shock tactics" approach to marketing, embodied in stunts such as a parody porn site and a satirical swipe at gender-stereotyping with its Pink IPA. Instead, the brewer will pursue a more community-focused, responsible marketing strategy from now on, with irreverence directed at its beer rather than at social issues.