Twitter picks 2019's most creative brand campaigns

Adidas, KFC and McDonald's were among brands that found creative ways to use platform to great success.

Clockwise from top left: KFC, Lionesses, Simple and UNHCR
Clockwise from top left: KFC, Lionesses, Simple and UNHCR

Many brands look to Twitter to catapult their campaigns into popular culture. Twitter’s users have the ability to propel cultural movements and they can shift creative ideas into unexpected places and spaces.

Twitter partners advertisers to develop campaigns that spark these types of widespread conversations. From Twitter-powered knitting machines to brands taking a stand against online bullying, 2019 was another year for strong campaigns on the platform. Once again, we are here to celebrate those that stood out from the crowd.

Best launch moment

Criteria: The brand that creatively used Twitter to launch a product or campaign 

Winner: @adidasUK,  #NITEJOGGER

If a brand launches and no-one talks about it, did it really launch at all? The way you enter a market has always mattered, but it takes so much more now to engage people who have short attention spans or are bombarded with messages left, right and centre.

Adidas used Twitter to launch the #nitejogger trainers, which reflect and light up in the dark for all the night-time runners out there. 

The brand unveiled the world’s first "invisible" emoji that only appears in the Twitter timeline when users switch to "dark mode" on the app. This enabled Adidas to own 40% of the total global trainers conversations during the campaign period and the campaign contributed to a 5,000%-plus month-on-month increase in Adidas conversations. 

Best connection to a cultural moment 

Criteria: The brand that was able to connect with What’s Happening in a culturally relevant and unique way 

Winner: @Lionesses, Women’s World Cup

The 2019 Women’s World Cup was an inflection point for women’s football, surpassing expectations and smashing records. The conversation was also huge on Twitter, with 1.3 million UK tweets celebrating, debating and joining the buzz. The Lioness squad was exclusively announced on Twitter, with the Duke of Cambridge kicking it all off, while we also saw brands producing quality content

As an official sponsor of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, Lucozade could have opted for a traditional sponsorship, but it saw a new opportunity with Twitter. The brand neatly aligned itself to the England team by sponsoring a daily live show broadcast by The Football Association from the Lioness camp. The "Lionesses Daily" show was streamed directly into people’s newsfeeds and through the #LionessesDaily hashtag, and passionate footy fans were able to comment and ask questions to the Lioness who was featured on the day. The live stream gave fans access to the team and the latest news to provide real insight into the game all through summer. 

Best brand purpose

Criteria: The brand that took a stand, tapping into what’s happening in culture in a genuine and authentic way

Winner: @simpleskin, #ChooseKindness

Skincare brand Simple teamed up with Little Mix to support anti-bullying charity @DitchTheLabel, with a mission to wipe away unkind words and help beat online bullying with one kind word at a time. They want us all to help and #ChooseKindness. 

The campaign obtained cut-through and got the attention it deserved, while the commitment from the brand is evidenced in its continual support for initiatives such as World Kindness Day and Anti-Bullying Week

Best brand voice

Criteria: The brand that has consistently and strategically been able to define and leverage its own Twitter voice

Winner: @KFC_UKI

For KFC, Twitter was the place where the brand established its tone of voice in the early days. Since its embryonic state, KFC has always had a cheeky and irreverent tone that has now spread through its advertising. The brand has a great history of jumping into conversations when it feels it is right to do so, often placing itself into broader cultural conversations and managing to put a smile (or a smirk) on the nation’s faces at the same time. 

Best digital to physical activation 

Criteria: The brand that brought the magic of Twitter into real life by converging digital and physical

Winner: @refugees, #KnitForRefugees

Twitter teamed up with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and fashion-tech start-up Kniterate to build an awareness campaign for the plight of refugees in winter – a notably hard time for the 70.8 million people who are forced to flee their homes.

Alongside a call for donations, the campaign collected Twitter usernames that were then physically knitted live on to a scarf by an automated knitting machine to show support. 

Here in the UK, author and UNHCR global goodwill ambassador Neil Gaiman encouraged his fans and followers to tweet their reflections about "warmth and winter". Inspired by these tweets, he wrote an original short story to be knitted into the scarf that he released as a Thread on Twitter. 

In December, the solidarity scarves and Gaiman’s story all came together in Geneva at the first-ever global #RefugeeForum at the UN with world leaders and thousands of decision-makers – showing just how powerful tweets can be through a public celebration of support.

Best use of live video

Criteria: The brand that took the live experience to a new level, bringing consumers into the fold in innovative ways

Winner: @xboxuk

With 50% of its Twitter users being passionate gamers, Microsoft knew it had to give them a glimpse of its biggest event outside E3 live on the platform. 

Microsoft made the most of Twitter’s product offering for brands that look to run live activations, such as the ability to "heart" a tweet to be reminded when the live show was about to kick off. 

This led to a seamless live stream featuring all the tweet conversations taking place as it happened, repackaging the best bits of the stream so users could easily toggle between videos and digest all the news in one place without needing to leave Twitter. The brand also created a custom emoji to badge the event that was automatically triggered when the hashtag #X019 was used. The livestream was such a success that the event trended nationally on Twitter and racked up nearly five million views.

Best use of creators

Criteria: The brand that leveraged influencers to amplify a launch campaign in new and engaging ways

Winner: @electricity (@Porsche)

Porsche worked with Twitter ArtHouse to build buzz around the impending launch of its first-ever electric car, the Taycan.

The brand took over the London Eye using Morse code, creating a bespoke Twitter handle called @electricity and worked with multiple Twitter ArtHouse influencers to tease the launch with mysterious video tweets and messaging throughout the event. The campaign helped drive hype, curiosity and conversation, leading to the big launch, which reinforced key brand messaging and official creative assets generated during the event.

Best use of short-form video

Criteria: The brand that showed a story can be told in even the shortest formats

Winner: @RealJaffaCakes

McVitie’s raised awareness for its new Jaffa Cake Nibbles range with a non-skippable six-second video for an in-stream video campaign, which allows brands to run their content as pre-roll before a premium publisher’s content.  

By cleverly playing around with the white border on the creative, McVitie’s distinctively captured users’ attention with the "irresistible nibbles" falling on to timelines. 

Best way to fuel fans

Criteria: The brand that was able to consistently reward its most devoted fans with exclusive news and content to drive conversation and excitement 

Winner: @McDonaldsUK, #StillABigMac and #NotABigMac

When McDonald’s decided to put bacon in its iconic Big Mac, it launched the news on Twitter with the most avid of Big Mac fans. This was a multi-staged campaign. On launch day, McDonald’s pulled out all the stops and worked with Twitter to create a Conversational Card in tandem with a First View (the first brand video seen by everyone that day) to gain mass awareness. The tweet introduced the Big Mac Bacon with a short video and got the nation debating if the Big Mac Bacon was #StillABigMac or #NotaBigMac. With that, the debate truly kicked off. We even saw Harry and Jamie Redknapp chewing over the idea. The debate continues…

Sophie Trinder is head of Twitter Next UK

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