The year of drones, vending machines, good samaritans and the 'un'usual suspects

In an exclusive interaction with exchange4media, Shveta Singh, Head – Digital Planning, Brand & Media Strategy

e4m by Ankur Singh
Updated: Dec 9, 2014 8:09 AM

One thing that digital did beautifully in 2014 was to democratize the power of advertising. No longer are the usual suspects and the digitally evolved brands, the custodians of great digital work. In an exclusive interaction with exchange4media, Shveta Singh, Head – Digital Planning, Brand & Media Strategy, Cheil India (South West Asia Regional Headquarter) says, “What worked came from the most unlikely quarters – smaller brands, traditional and big brands not considered digitally evolved, individuals, causes and politicians.”

She looks back at 2014 shares her top digital campaign picks and tells us why she felt 2014 was the year of the unusual.

Automated Thanking Machines

According to her it was a year when the fad for vending machines made even a bank go viral. 

“Remember the Automated Thanking Machines (ATM) by TD Bank Canada. Who could have thought that even uptight and straight faced banking brands could generate millions of engagements and heartwarming conversations?” she said.

Super Bowl campaign

“The most entertaining Super Bowl campaign came from a small brand that could not even buy rights to mention the word Super Bowl,” she pointed out.

Droga5 brought to life this very entertaining campaign for Newcastle Brown Ale. “If We Made It” was a campaign about the Super bowl commercial Newcastle would have made, if they could buy the rights for Super bowl. Take a look if you haven’t already -

American Greetings’ Mother’s Day campaign

The most memorable mother’s day tear jerker thanking moms wasn’t from the house of brands that practically owns the space, said Singh.

‘World's Toughest Job’ by American Greetings, was a very unusual packaging for a mother’s day campaign.

  - Fake interviews of 24 applicants who apparently applied for the world’s toughest job – A mom’s job. 

The ALS Ice bucket challenge

The biggest ever internet meme saw celebs, billionaires and mango people unite, all for a charity, pointed out Singh.

“So memes are not for nothing. Finally! And the ALS Ice bucket challenge proved it. It helped the foundation raise $94.3Mn, 10 times of what it usually does,” she said.


Drones delivered everything from noodles to shirts and brilliant spoofs for lesser known brands. The drone fad turned into Drone-vertising. And was leveraged beautifully by smaller brands to break clutter either through earnest efforts like the ‘Flying collection’ by Camisiria Colombo or spoofs like the ones by Russia’s  Wokker noodles or ‘Drone 2 Home’ by Netflix.

Netflix Digital Billboard

“An entertainment company took real time advertising beyond twitter and the usual screens,” said Singh.

Netflix delivered the world’s first ever real-time reactive digital billboard campaign using only GIFs. . The content was created on a fly, reacting to big and small events and even things like weather conditions with an entertainment based solution.

Closer home the story is no different, with digital champions coming from extraordinary corners. “While Alia Bhatt used digital beautifully to establish herself as the ‘Genius of the year’, PM Modi became digital’s biggest champion with brilliant large scale digital at heart campaigns like ‘Make In India’ and ‘Banega Swachh India’,” she said. 

On the brand front, the year saw a traditional brand move the obsession for selfies beyond narcissism to philanthropy, Singh pointed out.

Dettol’s ‘Give Life A Hand’

“The campaign for Global Handwash Day was a brilliant example of a brand marrying a fad and cause to deliver a large scale movement. The integrated campaign was conceptualized and brought to life by Cheil India for Dettol across 32 countries with a simple concept of “Handfie”. It culminated with the World’s 1st hand wash relay in schools across 10 countries and saw over 2.5 lac Handfies submitted and 24 Mn interactions around the globe.”

British Airways

A European airline delivered one of the most heart-warming campaigns set in Indian context. British airways struck the right chord yet again with its “Go further to get closer” campaign by Ogilvy India, targeting young couples on the Valentine’s Day

Samsung #DoYouNote campaign

One of the biggest handset brands in the country using digital unusually to address its usual brand challenges, Singh said. #DoYouNote campaign for the launch of Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was a great example of breaking the traditional digital advertising mould and making digital work harder. The digital @ heart integrated advocacy and buzz campaign, celebrated the Note series users by making them the face of Note 4 communication . While the backend was powered by predictive modeling and real time campaign management, the front end saw several firsts like – Blog-a-thon, the largest confluence of tech vloggers ever.

“That, in short, was the year 2014 digitally…the year of the unusual…the year of digital democratization. The year where unusual was delivered because smaller brands and individuals saw digital as their only opportunity to make a mark with clutter breaking stuff and traditional brands saw it as their only communication differentiator with TVCs becoming a hygiene,” Singh concluded.

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