What Will the Successful Campaigns of the Future Look Like?


Something like this?

The question that plagues most businesses today is the same: how do we truly reach and create a relationship with the customer? How do we ensure that the sentiments surrounding our brand are positive?

We all know that the combined powers of traditional advertising and earned media aren’t quite enough–and even brands with incredibly successful interactive, multimedia campaigns like Dove’s “Real Beauty” encounter blowback on social media and beyond.

So what do the brands of the future need to do to stand out? What will the most successful campaigns look like?

Ryan Aynes, digital trends expert and co-founder of EDGE Collective, gave us his thoughts on the subject.

Why are so many more brands facing backlash against their campaigns?

It’s less a full-blown backlash than an excess of opinions.

There are so many different ways people can instantly give input on a campaign these days that the negative sentiments may seem overwhelming. Take, for example, the brand Dove’s newest video “Patches”:

This particular ad differs from the previous ads in the “Real Beauty” campaign because it was distributed to 65 countries immediately and had paid-media support from inception.

So it quickly went viral, yet several digital publications chastised the brand for straying from its original female empowerment message. Despite this fact, social media monitoring service Infegy found that the broader sentiment toward “Patches” was 91% favorable and only 9% negative among 2,181 Twitter and Facebook posts during its first two days.

Unfavorable comments and power of social media conversations seemed to outweigh the positive, but the overall sentiment wasn’t actually negative. And it definitely got people talking.

What are some other examples of campaigns that attracted negative attention? What do brands need to do to prevent this from happening?

Billboards for Diet Coke’s “You’re On” campaign took a strange turn by insinuating that the beloved brand was making a blatant drug reference.


Coca Cola responded to the chatter with the remark that “This advertising …celebrates ambitious young achievers from all walks of life and reminds them that Diet Coke is there to support them in the moments when they are at their best”, adding that they in no way endorse the use of drugs. But again, social media and digital sentiment built quickly and swayed public opinion.

If the campaign had focused on visualizing those “young achievers”, then the slogan would have spoken for itself and the company wouldn’t have had to spend so much time responding to all the jokes.

We’re all focused on social media, but is the in-person “offline” event still just as important?

Offline events feed the conversation on social media, but they can add much more to the actual experience for a consumer.

At an event, you can interact with and learn directly about a product, service, movie, etc. in a more personal and direct way. Really great events can, in turn, feed organic social content (created by the people who show up) that will increase their value and expand the brand’s reach online.

Which brands have developed great offline campaigns?

One that sticks out in my head is seamless.com‘s subway ads. Their catchy copy really targets the behaviors and thoughts of typical New Yorkers in one of their largest markets.


We all hear about how traditional ads are less effective than ever before, but can brands really run successful campaigns without them?

Theoretically, brands can run a successful campaign without print or TV ads. However, many consumers do still tune into live television, and they do still watch commercials.

In the end, brands have to understand their target demographics and reach them where they spend the most time. Consumers will still use all different verticals, be they TV, PC, tablet, or smartphone, but it is up to brands and marketers to target their demographic accordingly and excite a specific approach for each channel in order to maximize the brand’s reach and awareness.

What’s your vision for the future in terms of engaging campaigns?

Brand engagement will be in the moment. I want to be walking down an aisle in my favorite store, see the item I was searching for online, and receive a 10% discount on it immediately, then a tweet that thanks me for shopping with them. That’s the road to brand loyalty.
What do we think? Do we agree with Aynes?

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.