What has inspired and shocked us in 2012?

What has inspired and shocked us in 2012 In 2012, we celebrated both the London Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It was also the year of clever viral campaigns such as ‘A dramatic surprise’, ‘Red Bull Stratos’, and ‘Kony 2012’. In the experiential world, leading brands have made great efforts to create brand experiences of a lifetime. But not everything was as shiny as it may have seemed.

Throughout the year, each one of us at Hotcow have celebrated with great excitement the creativity of brands. Many of them experimenting with emerging technologies, creating smart vending machines and interactive billboards. Others becoming more social, crafting experiences that were more connected and personalised. However, while some brands are seeing their hard work paid off, we saw many others missing their marks, struggling with lack of creativity and understanding of social media.

On top of inspirational list for 2012, was Bodyform’s original response to an angry boyfriend on Facebook, telling everyone the real truth about periods. The video response was posted to the brand’s Facebook page, gathering thousands of likes, shares, and reaching over 3,500,000 views on Youtube. This was definitely a great example of how brands should be responding to consumer enquiries on social media. In contrast, it was shocking to see Femfresh resigning themselves to complete defeat when they faced a major social media backlash, having to suspend their Facebook page until further notice.

Amongst the numerous restrictions to protect the rights of official Olympic sponsors, Nike’s marketing efforts across London – despite not being a tier 1 sponsor, were so successful that many people assumed they were! In the same way that many of us felt inspired by the London Olympics and everything about it, some of us were shocked by the lack of imagination that went into the Olympic Torch Relay. After travelling nearly about 8,000 miles around the UK, the ceremonial relaying of the Olympic Flame, and the relatively loose connections to the three huge brands that heavily sponsored it, were pretty underwhelming.

A recent campaign that featured in the list of shocks was WKD’s ad suggesting that consumers could spend just few pounds a week to help re-home animals, or they could buy a WKD. After several complaints to ASA and numerous posts on the brand’s Facebook page, WDK decided to remove the poster in response to the public’s reaction. This only goes to show just how difficult it is to get it right with the online world, because everyone is listening and waiting to pounce.

It’s safe to say that 2012 was the year of the story. Consumers want to feel part of something special. They are eager to talk about brands that are producing great content and stories that can relate to different people and inspire an individualised connection. This was the year of genuine conversations and real brand storytelling.

To finish off, here is a great video review from Google which they call Zeitgeist 2012. It’s a beautifully edited sequence of events covering not just the big stories, but small, emotional triumphs, too.

From everyone at Hotcow, we would like to wish you a very happy new year, and we look forward to sharing even more exciting content with you in 2013!

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