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10 campaigns that show winning with a better message

11 Minute Read

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Lori HilContributor

What is behind great messaging in your marketing campaigns? A compelling vision, authentic storytelling, and building community. At Cordial, we believe in that warm and friendly touch. Numbers and data are crucial but their purpose is to better understand people so you can reach them with the right message. Today we are featuring ten brands who won Clio Awards through outstanding messaging. There is so much inspiration we can glean from these great campaigns.

Let’s see how these brands send an authentic message through empathy, language, design, experience, and action.

Show empathy and care in line with your brand values

Clio - Walmart - Bedtime Stories
This 2022 Clio Awards Gold winning entry titled ‘Bedtime Stories’ was entered for Walmart by FCB Chicago, Chicago. View campaign.

1. Help families connect.

Walmart presented their campaign Bedtime Stories for parents who are incarcerated to be able to read to their kids. The message? “If we’re going to be the store of the community, we have to help strengthen the community. And nothing strengthens the community like the connection between a parent and child,” said Keith Wyche, Walmart VP.

For children, being able to hear their parent’s voices inspire them through stories — even far away — is comforting. It helps create a bond despite the separation and challenging circumstances.

Why it worked:

  • Showcased care for an often forgotten part of the population.
  • Displayed their family-oriented style.
  • Created beautiful videos of connection.
  • Made use of technology to problem-solve.
  • Shared the message: We care about what your family is going through.

Clio - Gud - Rescues Dogz - Misspelled Dog Names Adoption Campaign
This 2019 Clio Awards Bronze winning entry titled ‘Rescue Dogz’ was entered for Güd by J.Walter Thompson, São Paulo. View campaign.

2. Show your brand cares about people and animals.

Dog food brand Güd turned to the internet to get more rescue dogs adopted. Realizing that pure-breed dog names are hard to spell, Güd came up with a campaign called Rescue Dogz to take advantage of the problem. They turned misspelled dog breed names on Google into names of rescue dogs — that needed to be adopted — by buying the search words with the most common spelling errors.

This created a great media story. The result? A 742% increase in dog adoption, with every dog on the center’s website getting adopted. Plus 85,000 website visits.

Why it worked:

  • People love dogs and a happy ending.
  • People want to help spread the news about a good cause.
  • Google is a strong force to get a campaign seen.
  • Turned search mistakes into an opportunity.
  • Shared the message: We care about dogs and people.

More on Cordial: Inspirational talks on showing empathy

Speak the language your customers need to hear

Verizon Campaign - 9/12 The Untold Story of Reconnecting New York
This 2022 Clio Awards Gold winning entry titled ‘9/12 The Untold Story of Reconnecting New York’ was entered for Verizon by Verizon, New York. View campaign.

3. Show great things can happen when we pull together.

Verizon presented the untold story of getting the city reconnected after the tragedy of 9/11. On the twentieth anniversary, Verizon used text messaging to tell the untold story of 9/12 reconnecting New York. They sent out new texts every hour with a throwback play-by-play in their one-time immersive event. Team members were able to use language to tell how they felt and what took place on the devastating days following such a life-changing event.

Why it worked:

  • Brought people back emotionally to how they felt and what they saw.
  • Told a story people didn’t know in a way that’s never been done before.
  • Showed company loyalty and brand dedication.
  • Gave people a strong sense of community and togetherness.
  • Shared the message: Communication and community matter.
Clio - Twitter - Hello Literally Everyone
This 2022 Clio Awards Gold winning entry titled ‘hello literally everyone’ was entered for Twitter by Twitter, San Francisco. View campaign.

4. Keep language short and on point.

The unthinkable happened — major social media platform Facebook went dark for six full hours. What would everyone do? Turn to Twitter, of course. On October 4, 2021, during the global Facebook outage, the team at Twitter sent out a simple Tweet:

“Hello literally everyone.”

It was short and humorous, and brought the platform a ton of engagement. Three words, twenty-four characters, and one of the most successful tweets ever with 22 million total engagements and 590,000 new followers. A lesson that sometimes shortening and simplifying your language creates a more engaging message.

Why it worked:

  • It took advantage of a global event.
  • Brought a sense of humor to a somewhat frustrating circumstance.
  • Took a fun jab at a competitor.
  • Gave people an alternative place to ask questions and share.
  • Shared the message: We’re still here for you.

More on Cordial: Inspirational talks on elevating language

Energize design to make life better for customers

Clio - IKEA - Dollar Catalogue - Design
This 2022 Clio Awards Silver winning entry titled ‘Dollar Catalogue’ was entered for IKEA by Ogilvy Taiwan, Taipei. View campaign.

5. Give something boring and outdated a refresh.

IKEA has a lot of items. How could they keep the more budget-friendly options from getting buried? In an innovatively designed catalog, of course. Over 8,500 items from $1-$200. Here’s what is different about it: The page number corresponds to the price. They did more traditional online ads but also put ads on steps in stations and underground parking with prices for items corresponding to the step number. Their outdoor ads had QR codes so customers could scan and get more info right away. Who doesn’t love a great deal! This created a 264% online store conversion rate.

Why it worked:

  • It reinvented something that has become boring and outdated.
  • Got creative advertising in high-traffic public places.
  • Expanded the offerings to have more products at different price points.
  • Gave people a deal they would love to share with friends.
  • Shared the message: We still have innovative designs at great prices.
Clio - Unilever - Degree Inclusive Design Campaign
This 2022 Clio Awards Silver winning entry titled ‘Degree Inclusive’ was entered for Unilever by Wunderman Thompson Argentina, Buenos Aires. View campaign.

6. Meet a massive need with a complete redesign.

Do you struggle to put on deodorant? Not something many people think about, but for the community with disabilities, it can be a real challenge. Degree thought about it. They did not just think about it, but did something to help. In their campaign Degree Inclusive, the deodorant brand showed how they have completely redesigned the deodorant container to make putting on deodorant easier for everyone — even those with disabilities. It took over 200 prototypes to get it right. Was it worth it?

The campaign was picked up by major news outlets across the country. Users with disabilities begin to share across social media how much easier the product is to use — 2+ billion media impressions. Plus, the campaign built a lot of goodwill and customer loyalty.

Why it worked:

  • Changed a widely used product with innovated design to be more inclusive.
  • Researched what was really needed and tested with real users.
  • Thought beyond what had always been available.
  • Gave the world an idea to think about the importance of change.
  • Shared the message: We care about those who have found our products difficult to use, too.

More on Cordial: Inspirational talks on energizing design

Innovate new experiences for your community

Clio - Cox - Drawn Closer - Innovative Campaign
This 2022 Clio Awards Gold winning entry titled ‘Drawn Closer’ was entered for Cox Communications by Cox Communications & Nexus Studios, Atlanta & London. View campaign.

7. Change with the times to renew connection.

Some of the most impacted victims of COVID isolation were children. They missed out on so many activities during the lockdown and often felt far too alone. That’s when Cox Communications took to technology for an innovative experience with their campaign Drawn Closer. Thurman White Middle School drama students changed what would have been their in-person theatrical performance into an animated film.

Why it worked:

  • Engaged the community through a completely new experience.
  • Made people think outside of the box about what is possible with technology.
  • It took what would have been a local event and turned it into a national one.
  • Gave kids that were feeling isolated a sense of accomplishment.
  • Shared the message: We are in this together and can still connect.
Clio - Krylon - Pinterest Yard Sale Campaign
This 2016 Clio Awards Bronze winning entry titled ‘The First Ever Pinterest Yard Sale’ was entered for Krylon. View campaign.

8. Think of a way to use an existing marketing outlet differently.

A yard sale on Pinterest? It had not been done before, but that didn’t stop Krylon from creating the world’s first Pinterest yard sale to show what a great coat of paint can do. They showed customers that with a coat of paint the things they already own are worth more. They bought yard sale items through multiple states and made them over using Krylon paint and then sold them on Pinterest in real time.

They did this with Pinterest to help them launch their new pin-buying function. The money went to charity. They also used Twitter to spread the campaign with videos, GIFs, and before-and-after photos showing customers how to do their own spray paint makeovers.

A $200,000 investment gained $2.7 million of earned media and increased their Pinterest visits by 400%.

Why it worked:

  • A first using a new Pinterest feature.
  • Went to the internet where their customers were.
  • Created great before-and-after content.
  • Showed customers a real use for the product.
  • Shared the message: Our product is practical and can make you more money.

More on Cordial: Inspirational talks on innovating experience

Inspire action to support people and the planet

Clio - Chipotle - Cultivate a Better World - Campaign
This 2022 Clio Awards Gold winning entry titled ‘A Future Begins’ was entered for Chipotle by Nexus Studios, London. View campaign.

9. Present a behind-the-scenes look.

Chipotle showed its support for farmers and their families in a creative video with its campaign A Future Begins: “Supporting our farmers and the future of real food.” This campaign shared two important messages — we care about the framers who work hard for us and our products are made with real food from the earth. A win-win. In the film we see a farmer working hard but failing through some harsh circumstances and almost giving up. But he and his family then turn things around with the help of Chipotle buying food for its restaurants. The piece ends with their bigger message, too: “Cultivate a better world.”

Why it worked:

  • Showed where the ingredients came from and why it mattered.
  • Used the power of music and animation together.
  • Connected to the human need to succeed.
  • Showed customers they care about taking care of suppliers.
  • Shared the message: We know where real food comes from.
Clio - Spinneys - The Bread Exam
This 2022 Clio Awards Gold winning entry titled ‘The Bread Exam’ was entered for Spinneys and the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation by McCann Paris, Neuilly-sur-Seine. View campaign.

10. Show your customers that they can take action, too.

Spinneys and the Lebanese Breast Cancer Foundation got together to solve a problem. Lebanese women were being diagnosed with breast cancer too late partly due to a lack of self-breast exams. Being a taboo topic, women did not feel like it was something they could talk about. So they created a campaign that used tradition to bring awareness. They used baking bread as a way to demonstrate how to do a proper breast exam to catch cancer early. Social media took over and the true meaning of the message was revealed:

“Have you baked bread this month?”

Why it worked:

  • Turned a traditional setback into an opportunity.
  • Made women who are often silenced feel empowered.
  • Connected to the human need to succeed.
  • Used the language of something well-known to talk about something more challenging.
  • Shared the message: You can take control of your health.

Five mantras to follow when striving for better messaging

Whenever possible, try to send a better message — not just another message. So put yourself in the mindset and space of your customer. Here are five important mantras to consider whenever you’re crafting messaging for your brand. Follow the links to listen to curated inspirational talks for each:

All these brands used creativity and innovation to create a better message. At Cordial, we know your content marketing and customer engagement needs to stay authentic and fresh for your message to be received and shared. Let us help you send a better message today.