Marketing & Advertising

11 Outstanding Digital Media Campaigns from 2021

Reviewing the best digital marketing campaigns from established brands can generate ideas for your own efforts. Here is a list of outstanding digital marketing campaigns from 2021. The campaigns feature social justice, celebrity endorsements, personalized products, contests and games, augmented reality apps, and the metaverse.

Cadbury Worldwide Hide

Screenshot of the Cadbury Worldwide Hide campaign

Cadbury Worldwide Hide

The Cadbury Worldwide Hide campaign was created to help consumers hide Easter eggs and engage with loved ones when they could not be physically together during the pandemic. The virtual experience allowed users to purchase a real Cadbury Easter Egg, hide it virtually through Google Maps in a unique location, then write the recipient a personalized clue to find the egg. Once recipients found the egg, they received a real, physical chocolate egg delivered to their home.

National Geographic #ThinkBeforeYouLike

Screenshot of the National Geographic campaign showing an adult cheetah

National Geographic on Twitter

National Geographic ran the #ThinkBeforeYouLike campaign to raise awareness of the illegal pet trade on endangered cheetahs. Modern-day cheetah owners use Instagram and TikTok to show off their pets, which are mainly taken from the wild where there are fewer than 7,000 remaining adult cheetahs. Before followers like or share any social media post featuring cheetahs, they were asked to take a few seconds to reflect on the legalities and ethics of what’s being depicted. The hashtag #ThinkBeforeYouLike was used to help spread the message about social media’s role in encouraging the illegal wildlife trade.

Anheuser Busch #LetsGrabABeer

Anheuser Busch launched the #LetsGrabABeer campaign to raise awareness of Covid-19 vaccination efforts and encourage consumers to socialize responsibly as restaurants began to reopen. It rewarded adults who proved they’ve been vaccinated with a free round of beer. Then, during the summer, the brewer ran a national campaign with the White House to help meet President Biden’s goal of encouraging as many Americans as possible to get vaccinated, providing complimentary beverages when the nation reached the White House’s vaccination goal. Adults simply had to upload a picture of themselves in their favorite place to receive a beer.

McDonald’s – Famous Orders

Screenshot of the McDonald's campaign on Twitter showing Mariah Carey in front of a McDonald's restaurant

McDonald’s on Twitter

In 2020, McDonald’s launched its “Famous Orders” campaign with personalized orders from rapper Travis Scott and reggaeton artist J Balvin. In 2021, the program continued with custom orders from Saweetie, Mariah Carey, and South Korean pop band BTS. Revealing order preferences of iconic celebrities reinforces core menu items in a fun way.

The Dove Self-Esteem Project

The Dove Self-Esteem Project was established in 2004 to help young people fulfill their potential by building positive body confidence and self-esteem. In 2021, Dove worked with Grammy Award-winning musician Lizzo to support building self-esteem in both women and girls and help end hair discrimination through the Crown Coalition. To kick off the partnership, Dove launched its “The Selfie Talk” campaign, tackling the ongoing digital distortion girls are exposed to on social media.

American Eagle – Future Together. Jeans Forever

Screenshot of three smartphone screens showing the American Eagle Jeans campaign on Snapchat

American Eagle AR Lens on Snapchat

American Eagle Outfitters ran a back-to-school 2021 campaign, “Future Together. Jeans Forever,” featuring new styles for teenagers. Actors Caleb McLaughlin, Jenna Ortega, Addison Rae, Chase Stokes, and Madison Bailey launched the campaign with a conversation on Clubhouse. In addition, American Eagle partnered with Snapchat to launch a “dress yourself” experience, where users can shop and try on selected looks in augmented reality using the self-facing camera. Also, together with Bitmoji, American Eagle introduced a digital clothing line to outfit the actors’ Bitmoji avatars on Snapchat and the Bitmoji app.

Apple #shotoniphone

Screenshot of Apple's #shotoniphone on Instagram showing a bulldog

Apple #shotoniphone on Instagram

Apple launched its “Shot on iPhone” campaign in 2014 with outdoor billboard advertisements of pictures taken on the device. Two years later, Apple ran the first contest to promote user-generated content, launching one of the most enduring campaigns across social media, with over 23 million images and video clips submitted on Instagram alone. In 2021, Apple steered the campaign toward pet photography, with the recent increased popularity of pet adoption. Apple commissioned a series of pet portraits by celebrity photographer Jason Nocito and hosted a free virtual event on how to take better pet photos.

YouTube – The Shorter Side of YouTube

To promote its Shorts tool for creating videos up to 60 seconds, YouTube launched its “The Shorter Side of YouTube” campaign with 15- and 30-second spots, featuring musicians BTS, The Weeknd, Doja Cat, and Camila Cabello. Highlighting the ease of its TikTok competitor, the YouTube spots show how users can create clips using sampled background audio and video. The campaign launched with a $100 million fund to compensate creators for creating original content on Shorts.

TikTok #TikTokReMake

Screenshot of a TikTok For Business #TikTokReMake entry with a man exercising

TikTok For Business #TikTokReMake

TikTok launched the Re:Make campaign to celebrate iconic advertising campaigns and to inspire brands and agencies through the creativity of the platform. Skittles, Snickers, and Old Spice each partnered with creators to reimagine campaigns as TikToks. Using the hashtag #TikTokReMake, users were encouraged to create their own renditions of their favorite ads.

Warner Bros. – Launch Party on Roblox

Home page of Warner Bros. page on Roblox


To promote the summer film “In the Heights,” Warner Bros. Pictures hosted a virtual party on Roblox, the game platform. “Launch Party on Roblox” brought the music, dance, and Latin American culture of the film’s iconic Washington Heights neighborhood to the Roblox metaverse. Visitors to the virtual neighborhood could hang out outside the film’s central gathering store, contribute to murals, and watch behind-the-scenes videos and interviews, including a dance tutorial from the movie’s choreographer, virtual items, and interactive mini-games and scavenger hunts. The meta event features a cast Q&A and a virtual flash-mob-choreographed dance performance, like the movie.

Spotify – Only You

Screenshot of the Spotify Only You campaign

Spotify – Only You

In 2021, Spotify launched the “Only You” campaign complete with an in-app experience and personalized playlists to celebrate that your listens are unique, despite 356 million users on Spotify and the more than 70 million tracks and 2.6 million podcasts. Spotify offered each user her own audio birth chart for revealed musical connections, personalized dinner party mixes, unique audio pairings based on listener interests, a personalized song of the year, music for times of day, and the identification of customized music and podcast genres.

Sig Ueland
Sig Ueland
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