2016's Top Brand Activations

Brand activations present an invaluable opportunity to invite your consumers into your brand’s universe. Here are ten activation success stories from the past year.
<p>The astronomical rise of VR technology in 2016 has only reinforced the fact that consumers increasingly crave experiences — unique chances to escape the everyday and enter a new world. Smart consumer-facing and B2B brands alike jumped at the chance to bring audiences straight into <em>their</em> worlds.
<p>The best brand activations should leave audiences feeling different about the brand than they did before —and most importantly, compelled to action. Have a look at ten activations that succeeded in 2016.
<h3>1 Snapchat Shows Up Google Glass</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107073389/snap-specs.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ajobWvcXJ4gVYAjEgQ-KbqFavSZNEk6N6WI9msZCbuBlOkfvCvCfULVSb7LRbaa53zcYj1re3BaXc5oOZfzIjDJ3YAVq” src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/ajobWvcXJ4gVYAjEgQ-KbqFavSZNEk6N6WI9msZCbuBlOkfvCvCfULVSb7LRbaa53zcYj1re3BaXc5oOZfzIjDJ3YAVq=s1200″></a><br>
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<p>One of 2016’s most talked-about launches is Snapchat’s answer to Google Glass: <a href=”http://cramer.com/story/snapchat-spectacles/”>Snapchat Spectacles</a>. While Snapchat is famous for enabling users to provide a window into their lives, Spectacles takes that idea one step further, allowing users to wirelessly broadcast their daily activities from their perspective directly to their screen. Snapchat’s Spectacles have a massive waiting list, and have already been used to <a href=”https://www.engadget.com/2016/12/15/first-snapchat-spectacles-surgery/”>record a live surgery</a>— not bad for a product that launched a month ago.
<h3>2. IBM Makes the Future Fun</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107087265/ibm-cocktails.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/wUtFpTHa1GhvLCrRV4Bu21VABDIWKH-Eoqt2JIHXQlENYARRaY7ZzH3oR_mcUoKsCXBP8i2-IXvnJBwZ-M225wnVtIUy” src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/wUtFpTHa1GhvLCrRV4Bu21VABDIWKH-Eoqt2JIHXQlENYARRaY7ZzH3oR_mcUoKsCXBP8i2-IXvnJBwZ-M225wnVtIUy=s1200″></a>
</p><figure data-type=”image”></figure>At SXSW, IBM needed to find an engaging way to showcase their array of cognitive solutions for B2B companies. They captured the attention of business owners and developers by creating<a href=”http://brandchannel.com/2016/03/10/sxsw-ibm-watson-031016/”> an activation that applied their cognitive innovations to everyday scenarios</a>: like a “<a href=”http://cramer.com/story/the-top-8-activations-at-sxsw-2016/”>cognitive cocktail bar</a>” serving custom drinks by the AI-powered Watson and a developer playground, powered by the guests’ personalized RFID bracelets. This creative approach won the brand major points by applying a spirit of fun to their most sophisticated technology.
<h3>3. Statefarm Is a Good Neighbor</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107100833/state-farm-lolla.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Q_3ZCswWLZKF4l0BbQCrkWYQVNJash0Bgu63NUIFBX6-vtaB7_haqNhmYYm6vu3yI5JF3mIK_CKh0EaGqhdHsn3dA-7z2Q” src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Q_3ZCswWLZKF4l0BbQCrkWYQVNJash0Bgu63NUIFBX6-vtaB7_haqNhmYYm6vu3yI5JF3mIK_CKh0EaGqhdHsn3dA-7z2Q=s1200″></a><br>
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<p>At music festivals Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, Statefarm brought its iconic “Like a Good Neighbor, Statefarm is there” tagline to life, and in doing so, succeeded in connecting with millennials — a challenging feat for an insurance company. Statefarm offered vehicle assistance for visitor’s cars, toiletries like shampoo and toothpaste for revelers who forgot them at home and charging stations in a “Here To Help Lounge.”<a href=”http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/forget-your-shampoo-bonnaroo-state-farms-music-fest-campaign-here-help-172990″> These activations</a> enabled festival attendees to experience the Statefarm brand promise that no matter what crises may arise, Statefarm has your back.
<h3>4. PwC Goes for the Oscar</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107115219/pwc-briefcase.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/lYj2hvuTfnUeLw-VgFi76PifQzremAJEUtb2oCydCXI6GnmCcAeOofjE1Sq8mXUfFTFFsDNvlqIXpj0GnDX7xBgR04L4″ src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/lYj2hvuTfnUeLw-VgFi76PifQzremAJEUtb2oCydCXI6GnmCcAeOofjE1Sq8mXUfFTFFsDNvlqIXpj0GnDX7xBgR04L4=s1200″></a><br>
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<p>How does a B2B financial firm increase <a href=”http://shortyawards.com/8th/oscars-ballotbriefcase-snapchat-journey”>impressions on Twitter 136 fold</a>? PwC accomplished just that with its “Ballot Briefcase” Oscars campaign. The campaign ran on Snapchat and followed the briefcase, which was carrying Oscar ballot’s on its unpredictable journey to the award ceremony. Tapping into an essential pop culture moment helped earn the brand a Shorty Award for best social marketing campaign by a B2B company.
<h3>5. GE Makes the Next “Serial”</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107128073/ge-podcast.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Rj8nI_CT0tx7ceBaM55god2SHquM5a_FAhrGVdpMkJvmJq6Mlt3VQl5gAzwap98RZO530ebkXNwHDxP7QWJ6bWCB0o1″ src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Rj8nI_CT0tx7ceBaM55god2SHquM5a_FAhrGVdpMkJvmJq6Mlt3VQl5gAzwap98RZO530ebkXNwHDxP7QWJ6bWCB0o1=s1200″></a><br>
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<p>In recent years, GE has emerged as a leader in exceptional B2B marketing tactics. Winner of a 2016 Webby Award, GE’s brilliant<a href=”https://www.fastcocreate.com/3065471/ge-podcast-theater-returns-with-a-new-sci-fi-thriller-lifeafter”> Podcast Theater </a>activation engages both B2C and B2B consumers by using a series of podcasts to tell gripping stories that explore themes relating to GE’s cutting-edge work in science and technology. Expanding on the huge success of last year’s serial podcast, “The Message,” GE launched a thriller about AI to rave reviews.
<h3>6. American Greetings Goes Analog</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107143358/sxsw-analog.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/JtVo1yFDP-Gq0W5S32Het8a3FxF99mbqVvzvSkIprcc_TO1D43ifzqMxaURHMyEhPD_HcEsR5xV8_0fuDg5aZ4uU5FqLWg” src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/JtVo1yFDP-Gq0W5S32Het8a3FxF99mbqVvzvSkIprcc_TO1D43ifzqMxaURHMyEhPD_HcEsR5xV8_0fuDg5aZ4uU5FqLWg=s1200″></a><br>
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<p>Sometimes, to differentiate your brand in a saturated market, it’s best to go left when everyone else is going right. Case in point? <a href=”http://www.adweek.com/video/advertising-branding/why-american-greetings-disrupted-sxsws-digital-spirit-analog-activation-video-170178″>American Greetings’ disruptive activation at SXSW : #Analog.</a> At their analog hub, paper artists built paper installations, a “stitch artist” created embroidered selfies and classes offered visitors the chance to try their hand at hand-lettering. Amongst countless high-tech competitors vying for attention, American Greetings’ powerful statement that analog experiences still matter to consumers emerged as a standout.
<h3>7. REI Goes Dark and Patagonia Goes Green for Black Friday</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107157428/opt-outside.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/l2KRzTXsm2DhXMXPvejP7oJT1y31WN3bgWdUAyglxR4Z059nStM8x5-XYnfDf8gxprnDBuurFO6LeQWEw_HMxufHSI4T” src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/l2KRzTXsm2DhXMXPvejP7oJT1y31WN3bgWdUAyglxR4Z059nStM8x5-XYnfDf8gxprnDBuurFO6LeQWEw_HMxufHSI4T=s1200″></a><br>
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<p>In a widely-lauded activation that earned the brand a Cannes Lion, REI impressed consumers with<a href=”http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/how-one-brave-idea-drove-reis-award-winning-optoutside-campaign-172273″> #OptOutside.</a> On Black Friday, instead of enticing customers with sales, REI made the drastic move of closing their stores and giving their 12,000 employees a paid day off to partake in outdoor activities. While this unprecedented activation caused the brand to miss out on Black Friday revenue, this choice inspired positive feelings about the brand that will likely inspire long-term brand loyalty.
<p>In contrast to closing and going outside to play, Patagonia remained open for Black Friday but took an equally buzz-worthy stance against the holiday marked by sales and excess when it <a href=”http://money.cnn.com/2016/11/29/technology/patagonia-black-friday-donation-10-million/” target=”_blank”>vowed to donate 100% of its Black Friday profits to grassroots environmental groups</a>. Sales, and thus their donation, hit $10 million.
<h3>8. Paypal Takes Execs For A Ride</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107173646/paypal-uber.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/qipKDVgswI4gDeDNPmzdwTL0DJBvvibbx3ibU5fgrK9dNjilHsqkyJAN6DYc7rN2zJcXe8vE7li6D2QHhRs4LlJcQ2z7″ src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/qipKDVgswI4gDeDNPmzdwTL0DJBvvibbx3ibU5fgrK9dNjilHsqkyJAN6DYc7rN2zJcXe8vE7li6D2QHhRs4LlJcQ2z7=s1200″></a><br>
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<p>In an excellent example of B2B experiential marketing creating whole new brand experiences, Paypal teamed up with Uber at conference LeWeb Paris for a program called <a href=”https://www.factory360.com/can-experiential-marketing-work-in-b2b/”>“Meet the Speakers, Mobile Office Hours.”</a> The activation gave festival attendees a chance to take a 30-minute Uber ride with one of the conference’s executive speakers. This non-traditional approach for helping professionals make meaningful business connections served to cement Paypal as brand dedicated to helping businesses.
<h3>9. Ford Takes Millennials For a Ride</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107188893/escape-room-ford.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/0TwyzGHmDE2o7bG0ilClaZvqkDNN535R5F8fTGH4wZ54sdk9SRDKTygpQunJVA_Xx9yzalRid56a3PyQafgds7SZMCtn-g” src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/0TwyzGHmDE2o7bG0ilClaZvqkDNN535R5F8fTGH4wZ54sdk9SRDKTygpQunJVA_Xx9yzalRid56a3PyQafgds7SZMCtn-g=s1200″></a><br>
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<p>Until Ford’s activation<a href=”http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ford-designs-massive-escape-room-game-nyc-replace-test-drive-172197″> “Escape the Room NYC,” </a>the vehicle test drive has never been improved on. To promote the Ford Escape to millennials, Ford created the first ever “driveable game” — a scavenger hunt-like program that challenged visitors to drive an Escape through different spaces and complete tasks along the way. This experience achieved major results for the brand by actually getting millennials to try out a Ford Escape, leading to sales.
<h3>10. JetBlue Time Travels</h3>
<p><a href=”/webhook-uploads/1483107202869/jet-blue-retro.png”><img data-resize-src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cGZn6OxJkeN51I4ujCSeWwh2ECiEj7X5O7KiT0SsUZe_m5QdfoOmpx7Fkpos91NHvGIsvj3Q0F5cpONgPnPD1t6AMISD” src=”http://madrogator.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cGZn6OxJkeN51I4ujCSeWwh2ECiEj7X5O7KiT0SsUZe_m5QdfoOmpx7Fkpos91NHvGIsvj3Q0F5cpONgPnPD1t6AMISD=s1200″></a><br>
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<p>To celebrate their new route to Palm Springs, JetBlue got aboard the nostalgia train (or rather, plane) with<a href=”http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/jetblue-pretends-its-1960s-retro-logo-pop-store-and-airplane-174611″> two immersive activations.</a> With Retrojet, they revived the aesthetic of mod 60’s air travel by developing vintage-style branding that imagined what JetBlue would look like if it were around in the 60s. They painted an aircraft in retro hues and flight attendants wore period-appropriate uniforms. This genius move was accompanied by a pop-up “Time Travel Agency” in Soho decked out like an authentic old-school travel agency.
<p>In the year ahead, expect to see VR and AI trends in brand activations become ubiquitous and an increase in creative activations from forward-thinking B2B brands.

JWT New York and Black Lives Matter Unveil New Partnership

Black Lives Matter, a chapter-based U.S. organization working for the validity of Black life, has announced the start of a strategic and creative partnership with JWT New York, making JWT New York the organization’s first-ever agency partner. In the new partnership, JWT New York hopes to play a key role in tackling the racial challenges facing society in the United States. One of the agency’s challenges will be to help establish the movement in time and beyond the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag that made it famous.

Marking the start of the new partnership is the launch of BackingBlackBusiness.com, a Google map based web tool that allows consumers to easily discover Black-owned small businesses throughout the United States. At launch, the tool featured over 300 businesses and in the following two days the number grew by more than 150%.

 BackingBlackBusiness.com also allows Black business-owners to add themselves to the map.

The effort

Digital Business Transformation: 4 Recommendations For Success


Stemming from a recent SapientNitro survey of 250
marketing technology professionals, our CTO Sheldon Monteiro and ChiefMarTec’s Scott Brinker aimed to better understand how organizations are driving
change, what barriers to transformation exist, and how leadership can improve
their game. In this piece, Sheldon shares key recommendations for
businesses that seek to hone their Digital Business Transformation (DBT)

overarching strategy that guides the reimagining of the business in a
customer-first, networked world. Learn more here

Watch Fold7’s Year in Review

Fold7's year in review

Oh, what a difference a year can make.

  • Last year Hilton and Magners appointed us. This year we launched Hilton’s biggest-ever global campaign and relaunched the Magners brand.
  • Last year Marc Nohr joined Fold7 as CEO. This year our leadership team had 4 new additions, all of them being women.
  • Last year we had plans for new ventures. This year we made them happen; launching experiential agency Hyperactive, standalone production company Film7 and Unfolded Talks.
  • Last year we brought to you “Probably the Best Poster in the World.” This year we made Carlsberg talk of the town during the Euros with our “Substitutions” campaign.
  • Last year we welcomed furry friend Tallulah into the office. This year the Fold7 dog kennel has quadrupled with the addition of tail-waggers Georgie, Bertie and Sadie.
  • Last year we held bake-offs, cook-offs and coveted ping-pong tournaments. This year we did it all again and then some, introducing run club, kickboxing and book club.
  • This year’s events were pivotal to the Fold7 story. Join us next year to watch an even bigger 2017 unfold…

From all of us here, have a very merry Christmas and see you in the new year. Now sit back and enjoy some of our best bits from 2016 below.

JWT London Host Inaugural Young Tribes Day

Throughout October and November, JWT London staffers across the Accounts, Planning, Creative, Social and New Business disciplines presented at nine schools across London, giving students an introduction to advertising, the power of diversity and inclusion and JWT’s Female Tribes initiative.

In each school, the staffers challenged the students to think about the vital effect of role models and share their thoughts. 38 Years 10s across the schools were invited to the JWT London office on December 14 for the inaugural Young Tribes Day, an all-day event was filled with presentations, meetings with staff members, and an opportunity to tackle a brief from Wagamama, a UK-based Asian food restaurant chain, alongside JWT mentors.

Students were then able to present their campaign idea to a judging panel that included James Whitehead, JWT London’s newly crowned CEO; Louise McCourt, Special Projects Fundraiser – Volunteer Partnerships; Claudia Southgate, Senior Creative at JWT

Looking to the future with WeTransfer

The launch of the new WeTransfer logo at the end of November roused a typically sparky debate at Moving Brands.

For many, the realisation that the company had a logo was news in itself.

“I’m pretty visually aware – and can honestly say that I have never noticed their logo before… bonkers!”

Jim Bull, Moving Brands.

As WeTransfer has such a distinctive UI, we had unconsciously come to know it by the layout of its transfer portal rather than the brand’s logo. We began to wonder, in an increasingly mobile-first world, does UI/UX offer more opportunities for differentiation than a brand’s logo? This question seemed to polarise opinion, both internally and externally:

“WeTransfer is a great example of how a UX/UI can become a distinctive symbol of a brand.”

Jed Carter, Senior Designer, Moving Brands.

“Logo and UX indicate difference but don’t create it.”


“Brand is decided by

MENA’s 15 Female Tribes

J. Walter Thompson Intelligence’s new Female Tribes™ study unveils original stats and research on the evolving female audience in the Middle Eastern market.

The study offers an “Arab Women’s Index,” which includes detailed research and stats that dismantle long-held stereotypes about Arab women. The study also defines 15 new attitudinal profiles, called Female Tribes, that describe trends and shifts identified by the Intelligence team.

Mennah Ibrahim, MEA Director of J. Walter Thompson Intelligence said of the study, “The world, its economy and the cradles of business can no longer afford to neglect the needs of Arab women – siphoning them off into one statistical column rather than recognizing their idiosyncrasies and nuances. If we look at this from a macro perspective; recognizing that women’s economic power is continuing to grow around the world, and coupling it with the data that confirms the Muslim segment is the fastest growing economic

JWT Paris takes aim at CO2 Emissions

Though seemingly harmless, driving a car for even a short journey through the mountains can be harmful to the environment.

Mountain Riders, a French nonprofit dedicated to educating the public about the importance of protecting mountainous environments, partnered with JWT Paris to help make people aware that CO2 emissions from cars can contaminate the snow and threaten the health of animals, plants and people that live on the mountains.

How? With “Untouchable Cars.”

Launched on December 11, the UN’s International Mountain Day (HYPERLINK), “Untouchable Cars” revolves around beautifully crafted snow sculptures of animals whose habitats are threatened by car pollution. The snow sculptures were placed on top of some cars, leaving their owners unwilling to touch them lest they ruin the sculptures.

Nine snow sculptors helped to cover dozens of cars in the Mont Blanc valley with the, generating a serious social media buzz driven by the hashtag