The best marketing campaigns are as different as chalk and cheese. But this doesn’t change the fact that they have a few things in common. For instance, they make tremendous efforts in engaging customers, allocate their resources to implement the strategies and think out-of-the-box to pique the interest of their target audience.

Some of the best marketing campaigns also have some crucial takeaways, which include but are not limited to: knowing about a new marketing channel, learning how to repurpose old content and finding ways to revive the brand. And when the “biggies” do it, we can’t help but get inspired!

Here are some of the best campaigns that can teach a valuable lesson or two in terms of small-business marketing.

1. HBO’s Unique Dragon Hunt

A few days before the airing of Game of Thrones season 5 in the USA, HBO teamed up with agency 360i and created a social media stir. They asked the fans of the show to “catch Drogon”* by launching a social hashtag campaign #CatchDrogon.

Fans were asked to use the hashtag along with a GIF (baits in the form of animated gifs) from the Giphy-powered website or settle for unique baits and post it on their social media channels via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Some of them were also entitled to win prizes from the show. That’s not all. They also had to wait for Drogon to land on the bait and retweet him in action before he disappeared!

This plot worked for the show as it recorded more than 74,000 tweets worldwide, 6.6 million total interactions and 1 billion impressions on the premiere day.

Takeaway: This ploy by HBO was a wonderful tactic to get authentic user-generated content. It offered room for creativity and originality when it came to the content, and the target audience caught the bait. The use of gamification is another factor that led to increased engagement and interaction and therefore the phenomenal success of the campaign.

* Drogon is one of the dragons owned by one of the lead characters in the show and it was on the run when the show was to be aired.

2. Lowe’s Six Second Creativity

When a campaign is fun, engaging and shareworthy, there’s no stopping it from going viral. Lowe’s gets it right in its “Fix in Six” or #LowesFixInSix campaign. The campaign includes six-second stop-motion videos, which exhibit DIY home improvement tips and tricks. The video clips are incredibly useful and add a dash of humor to make home-improvement interesting. From keeping those pesky squirrels away from your greens to perfectly carving a pumpkin, the clips are innovative and engaging for the viewers.

The campaign give the target audience a new perspective of looking at the brand and has been received well. The clips also proved to be great content that could be shared across several sites and repurposed.

Takeaway: Break free from your brand’s image and strive to do something that is truly out of the box. Make your campaigns tailored for specific audiences and focus on one particular social media channel to execute it brilliantly. This will help you reach out new audiences and keep them interested for a long time. Also, simple doesn’t have to be boring.

3. Red Bull’s ‘Can You Make It 2016’ Campaign

When a known brand makes waves with an innovative campaign, you can expect its target audience and potential customers to notice. This is exactly what happened with Red Bull’s ‘Can You Make It 2016’ campaign.

The energy-drinks maker came up with the concept of an innovative competition, which involved 165 student teams participating from over 50 countries. These students were asked to travel across Europe.

While it is no big deal to have this type of contest, the twist in the tale came from the fact that the teams had to travel with no other form of currency but Red Bull cans! You read that right. They had to hand over their cash, cards, personal phones and trade cans of Red Bull for anything they required during the travel, including transportation, accommodation and food.

The competing teams were also required to reach various checkpoints and complete various tasks provided in their Adventure List and then post photos and videos to get support from followers.

The campaign seemed to hit the right chord with the target audience by generating 4 million social media likes and shares within a week.

Takeaway: Use your brand’s personality and unique selling proposition to grab the attention of your target audience. At the same time, align it with the target audience’s demographics and you’ll never go wrong.

4. Deadpool Marketing Campaign

Deadpool, the Marvel character, has a huge fan following. But for this, you must give some credit to 20th Century Fox for creating a non-traditional marketing plan, which contributed to the movie’s phenomenal stint at the box office.

Beginning with its April Fool’s Day video release, the studio also capitalized on holidays by introducing a Halloween-themed video (it racked up more than 4.2 million hits).

It proceeded to push unique content in the Holiday season on various social media channels, leading to the new trailer for the movie. Moreover, the studio made sure that it also took the advantage of the Super Bowl, which was around the same time as the movie’s release date. As an obvious step, they bought a commercial during the game and ran a string of live promotions.

This one is the best example of brand awareness done right!

Takeaway: You don’t have to have a huge budget for a phenomenal marketing plan. All you need some clever marketing strategies to make the most of the right timing. This will ensure maximum visibility for your brand or business and give it much-needed mileage.


You don’t have to be a big fish in the sea or have deep pockets to get noticed by your target user base, if you put these takeaways into action.

Author Bio: Avinash Nair is a digital marketer at E2M, India’s premium digital marketing agency. He specializes in SEO and Link Building services. You can find him on Twitter: @AviNair52