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Published January 10th 2019

15 Best Marketing Campaigns of 2018, Ranked by Data

We used Iris, our AI-analyst, to analyze over one billion conversations and discover the 15 best marketing campaigns of 2018.

We’ve got new data. Here are the best marketing campaigns of 2019.

You’re at a bar and your friend says something absolutely outrageous.

“IHOP’s name change campaign was the best marketing campaign of the year, possibly the best this decade.”

“No!” you shout, filled with more testosterone than a viral LinkedIn post. “What about T-Mobile’s Super Bowl ad, KFC’s FCK apology or Nike’s LDNR campaign?!”

This barroom quarrel only takes place inside my head, of course, but I’d imagine lots of people are interested in which campaigns actually performed best over 2018.

Well, to answer these debates (both real and hypothetical), we got Iris, our AI-analyst, to collect and analyze over one billion posts over the year.

Iris analyzed the total volume of conversation a campaign generated across the web – that includes everything from tweets, Reddit posts, and public Facebook updates, to fiery comments made under news articles. It then ranked each campaign on the volume of conversation it generated to discover which one was talked about the most.

Here are the results.

15. Burger King explain net neutrality with the Whopper

Total conversations: 206,075

Many brands steer clear of controversial topics. Even fewer try to educate people on them. Yet, Burger King took the issue of net neutrality head-on by creating an entertaining educational video on the topic. The video generated 1.5 million views on Twitter, 4.6 million on YouTube and 15 million on Facebook.

14. Nike LDNR campaign

Total conversations: 235,025

In what’s surely one of the coolest ads of the year, Nike convinced a host of British sporting stars to explain why it’s great to be a Londoner. The ad won a host of awards at Cannes and would probably place higher on this list if it wasn’t for the British focus.

13. Apple’s WWDC conference

Total conversations: 508,500

Unsurprisingly, the world’s first trillion dollar company does make an appearance on our list. This came during its June WWDC conference where it announced iOS 12, macOS Mojave and group FaceTime.

12. Pepsi’s halftime show at the Super Bowl

Total conversations: 555,675

Pepsi will be relieved to see that their $33 million spend at the 2018 Super Bowl didn’t go to waste. The soft drinks producer received 500k conversations following the event, some good, some bad.

11. Greenpeace’s interaction with David Harbour

Total conversations: 580,150 

Stranger Things star David Harbour encouraged his fans to give him 200k retweets so he could join Greenpeace’s expedition. His tweet smashed the target, drawing 376k RTs and he joined the expedition a few months later.

10. SpaceX take a Tesla Roadster into space

Total conversations: 602,775

2018 saw ad campaigns taken to new heights, literally. Elon Musk’s two enterprises, SpaceX and Tesla, worked together to send the first Tesla to space. The stunt drew millions of viewers, thousands of news articles and over half a million conversations.

9. Announcing Smash Bros for Nintendo Switch

Total conversations: 621,025

Gamers are a talkative bunch online, sure. But Nintendo gamers talk more than the rest. And of all the things those gamers talk about, the most popular topic is Super Smash Bros. When Nintendo announced that Smash Bros would be available for Nintendo Switch, 600k gamers started chatting publicly about it online.

8. Google can now make phone calls for you

Total conversations: 887,075

Back in May, Google unveiled artificial intelligence software that books appointments over the phone on behalf of users by conducting voice-based conversations on their behalf. The event drew the attention of millions, with nearly 900,000 talking about it online.

7. IHOP changes name to IHOb

Total conversations: 948,750

IHOP’s name change should be recognized as one of the greatest brand awareness campaigns of all time. The firm was introducing something pretty simple (a range of burgers), yet the virality they generated was greater than any other fast food joint. They generated more conversation than McDonald’s, Burger King and even kings of social media Wendy’s with a simple trick that captured the world’s attention.

Oh, and don’t forget the campaign quadrupled its sales. Major kudos IHOP.

6. Coca-Cola pick BTS as its FIFA World Cup spokesmen

Total conversations: 1,005,475

The folks at Coca-Cola are a clever bunch. They really understand what it takes to go viral. They know how large events draw in attention, and they know which influencers open them up to more markets. So, last summer, they used the largest sporting event of the year to announce their partnership with (you guessed it) K-pop legends, BTS. The announcement generated over one million conversations.

5. K-pop sends Gucci fashion show viral

Total conversations: 1,279,825

If you learn just one thing from this blog, I hope it’s to never underestimate the power of K-pop again. These guys are huge. Kai, a member of K-pop group Exo, appeared at a Gucci fashion show. As you can expect, it went viral.

4. Apple announces the iPhone XS

Total conversations: 1,475,600

Apple isn’t the world’s first trillion dollar company for no reason. The team there are experts at creating unprecedented interest in their product. Some claim it’s down to its luxury products, others say it’s due to its compelling keynotes. Whatever it is, it works. Almost 1.5 million talked about their flagship event this year, making it the biggest product launch of the year.

Download our report to see the top three.

See the top three campaigns of the year, plus the 101 other times brands went viral in our free-to-download report.

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