3 of the most creative digital content campaigns in history

Looking for inspiration for future digital content campaigns? You’ve come to the right place. 

For most brands, long gone are the days of using newspapers, magazines, billboards and the like as their primary medium of marketing. As digital ad spend continues to grow, so does the impetus on brands to produce remarkable digital content that helps them stand out from the crowd.

That’s why we’ve decided to break down three of the most creative digital content campaigns of all time, as ultimately, sometimes the best way to look forward is to first look backwards. 

First up, a certain campaign featuring a musical ape…

1. Cadbury – Gorilla 

What do chocolate, a gorilla, and Phil Collins have in common? Well, until 2007, absolutely nothing, but that all changed when Cadbury launched its Gorilla advertising campaign.

What did the campaign involve?

Famously, the video featured a large gorilla sitting at a drum kit and playing along to the solo of Phil Collins’ classic track In The Air Tonight. The anthropomorphic ape did so in front of a plum-coloured background, helping to solidify the link to Cadbury and its renowned purple packaging.

Bizarre, funny, risky and downright memorable, Gorilla was a creative masterclass that ultimately got results. The campaign changed Cadbury’s fortunes after a series of PR mishaps, massively improving brand sentiment and resulting in a 10% increase in sales over the rest of the year (after an August release). With all this in mind, it’s little wonder that Gorilla won the Film Grand Prix Lion at Cannes Lions 2008 and was named the UK’s favourite ad of the last 60 years in 2015.

Digital done right 

Gorilla was also one of the first truly successful digital content campaigns in the UK. While released as a TV advert with supplementary print materials, it was the campaign’s YouTube presence that really saw it take off. The video received 500,000 views in its first week, a figure that grew twelvefold by November and facilitated the virality that saw its status skyrocket.

Gorilla is a testament to the power of taking creative risks with digital content campaigns in order to capture the public’s imagination.

2. Red Bull – Red Bull Stratos 

Back in 2012, energy drinks behemoth Red Bull breathed new life into its tagline “It gives you wings” with its Red Bull Stratos campaign — and how. 

What did the campaign involve? 

On 14th October, 2012, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner flew roughly 24 miles in a helium balloon into the stratosphere over New Mexico, before free falling and parachuting to Earth. He broke three world records in the process:

  • Baumgartner became the first human to break the sound barrier on descent without engine power.
  • He broke the unofficial record for the highest manned balloon flight of 37,640m.
  • He also broke the record for the highest-altitude jump, set in 1960 by USAF Colonel Joseph Kittinger.

Red Bull Stratos was a one-of-a-kind digital content campaign that truly pushed the boundaries of what’s possible with marketing. However, it’s clear that extreme advertising has immense value, particularly if it ties so well into the brand in question like this campaign did for Red Bull. Many brands have embraced this type of content since, including the likes of Land Rover and Nike

Results, results, results 

Red Bull Stratos delivered massive results for the energy drinks brand, and this was largely down to the comprehensive marketing strategy involved. 

Red Bull made sure to build up huge hype for the stunt, using social media to document Baumgartner and his team’s preparation in the run up. This resulted in the stunt’s livestream receiving eight million views, in turn generating invaluable positive exposure for the brand. According to Sprinklr, in the subsequent two weeks, two million new people subscribed to Red Bull updates across all brand presences. Meanwhile, 82% of the peak consumer activity associated with the brand was unequivocally positive — not bad going, if you ask us.

Red Bull Stratos showed that thinking outside the box and showing immense ambition with your marketing efforts can bring home the bacon, so to speak. 

3. Dove – Show Us

Beauty brand Dove is known for its innovative approach to marketing, releasing poignant ads that help challenge beauty standards. Arguably the brand’s most creative campaign of this ilk in recent years is 2019’s Show Us.

What did the campaign involve?

A collaboration between Dove, Getty Images, and Girlgaze, Show Us set out to depict everyday women through marketing. This was in response to the statistic that 70% of women don’t feel represented in mainstream advertising.

In order to do so, photographs of underrepresented women, female-identifying, and non-binary people were taken to create a stock photo library for all marketers to use. Each of the photographers were exclusively women, female-identifying, and non-binary too, ensuring these individuals were also represented.

In the photos, no digital distortion was used so as to truly accurately portray what everyday women look like. In addition, each of the subjects were able to write their own search descriptions and tags for their pictures, enabling them to define their beauty on their own terms. 

A lasting legacy 

The result is the world’s largest women-created stock photo library, with over 10,000 photos available to use for marketers. What’s more, Getty Images reinvests 10% of the proceeds to continue funding the campaign.

According to the Shorty Awards, in the year after the campaign, more than 900 companies in 40 countries downloaded over 7,500 images from the collection. Research also shows that 62% of women believe Show Us images better represent how women look, while 66% stated they’re more likely to use and purchase from brands using Show Us images. The campaign also garnered 100% positive sentiment for Dove.

Show Us demonstrates just how much power brands have to make positive change in society, an approach that can also pay dividends for the companies themselves. Dove did so in a clever and unique way with this campaign which is sure to inspire other brands going forward.

We hope that these digital content campaigns have helped to get the creative juices flowing for your own brand. But, if you’re still looking for inspiration, or simply want a helping hand from some of the best creatives in the business, Pitch has your back. 

Creative digital content campaigns are what we do best, with big names like EE, Uber Eats and Hyundai relying on us to shape their content marketing efforts — and to great effect. You can learn more about our content production services here and check out more of our work here — feel free to also get in touch with us to find out even more or to make an enquiry.

Further Reading