Trump Make America Great_crop

FEATURE21 December 2016

2016 Review: best campaign of the year

Brexit Charities FMCG Features Leisure & Arts Public Sector Retail UK

Unsurprisingly in this tumultuous year, there were two campaigns – one either side of the Atlantic – that stood out for our panel in 2016.


“While I don’t agree with his perspective or politics, how can I not say Donald Trump here? His campaign was built using some of the most tried and true principles – a simple discernible tagline and a series of messages that resonated with his target audience. The campaign also leveraged a very active social media strategy; his success is a marketing marriage of old and new concepts.” Frédéric-Charles Petit, CEO, Toluna

“The Brexit campaign. It’s been analysed to death but when you strip it back to basics the ‘Take back control’ motto just had a much more powerful emotive call to action than ‘together we are stronger’.” Anna Cliffe, joint managing director, Trinity McQueen

“Leave campaign – a master class in how to identify and communicate the things that people care about.” Deborah Mattinson, founder director, Britain Thinks

“Irrespective of personal feelings on the issue, the Brexit campaign based on emotional insight, tapping into feelings of working class exclusion, alienation and stigmatisation. There was dishonesty on both sides of the ‘debate’ but at least this campaign spoke to an emotional truth.” Peter Totman, qualitative director, Jigsaw Research

“It’s hard to look past the year’s big political wins. Both the Leave campaign here, and the recent Trump campaign managed to combine fantastical (undeliverable) promises while appeasing the populous’ craving for change (anything must be better than this).” Ben Hogg, managing director EMEA, Lucid

“It’s hard to imagine any commercial campaign have the seismic impact that these two political campaigns did. The reverberations will be felt for decades.” Jamin Brazil, CEO, FocusVision

And a US political one with a twist…

“Michelle Obama.” Ray Poynter, managing director, The Future Place


“I still love Specsavers. It is so inclusive of all ages and life stages. It is genuinely engaging and funny.” Kirsty Fuller, co-Founder and CEO, Flamingo Group

“While it would be easy to say the John Lewis TV ad, I actually think the best campaign has been the pre-awareness for the John Lewis ad. For the first year I can remember, I think the anticipation has almost over shadowed the ad itself.” David Day, global CEO & president, Lightspeed

“I thought the Nationwide ads were quite different for a financial services firm – trying to convey the emotional stuff that sits behind decisions to use ‘boring’ products.” Angela Morgans, managing director UK, London, MetrixLab

Kenco’s coffee vs. gangs campaign – it seamlessly marries brand and social purpose with a great piece of commercial communication.” Jane Frost, CEO, MRS

“My favourite piece of insight-driven communications activity is Mastercard’s sponsorship of the Rugby World Cup. We provided live actionable research and social listening (in partnership with Twitter) during the event itself to ensure that Mastercard stood out clearly from other sponsors. The insights we derived dictated the role that Mastercard would play as a RWC sponsor; i.e. not ‘match commentator’ but provider of genuine surprises to fans and influencers during the event.” Alison Drummond, head of insight & analytics, Carat

“The National Trust’s ‘Behind the Scenes’ work by our sister agency 18 Feet & Rising puts valuable volunteers at the heart of the charity’s advertising. A celebration of the devoted people – from donors to members to visitors – who support the Trust.” Jane Rudling, managing director, Marketing Sciences Unlimited

who you gonna call?

“I absolutely loved the Ghostbusters campaign that involved a giant Mr StayPuft, the marshmallow man, exploding through the floor of Waterloo station. It was epic, fun, very different and hugely impactful.” Jane Bloomfield, head of UK marketing, Kantar Millward Brown 

in memorium

“On 13th September 2016, Monika Bialokowska, a 28 year old senior research executive at Kantar TNS UK, passed away after a short battle with cancer. Her final days were spent in The Royal Marsden Hospital. To honour her memory and her vivacious spirit, her colleagues organised a fund-raising campaign for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. Like all great campaigns it was simple, authentic, emotive and reminded us of what matters most.” Will Galgey, UK CEO, Kantar TNS

Tomorrow we will look at the biggest success stories of 2016