The Best and Worst Campaigns of 2019

2019 has been an exciting year for the world of Social Media Marketing. Businesses are getting more political, more daring and more inventive in creating their marketing campaigns. From Gillette focusing on toxic masculinity to Iceland raising awareness for deforestation, many companies are focusing on social and environmental issues in their campaigns. 

Does it pay off? A lot of these campaigns were met with backlash while also gaining support from those who feel it’s good that companies are focusing on wider issues. Do businesses need to do this to keep up with the competition? Socially responsible marketing isn’t the only way to improve reach. We’ve seen hilarious, engaging and creative campaigns that have been an enormous success across social media channels. However, we’ve also seen a fair few disasters.

What made the great campaigns soar, and failures fall flat? We’re going through the best and worst campaigns of 2019 from the good, the bad and the ugly. Then, we’ll be looking at expert’s predictions for what we can expect to see for Social Media in 2020. 

The Good

Carlsberg – Probably Not

Sometimes it’s best to tackle criticism head-on, and Carlberg did just that in one of our favourite campaigns of 2019. For 40 years, the Danish brewer has advertised it’s lager as “Probably the best beer in the world”. However, after many accusations that the taste of the beer was not up to scratch, Carlsberg admitted that this slogan probably wasn’t accurate. They created this campaign, admitting that their lager is ‘probably not’ the best beer in the world. This honest and light-hearted campaign is the perfect way to start a brand overhaul, which is precisely what Carlsberg did. They rebrewed their beer “from head to hop” and changed their branding. When it comes to social media marketing, honesty is often the best policy, and Carlsberg has done a great job of changing perceptions of their brand. 

Gillette – The Best Men Can Be

We’ve talked about Gillette’s ‘The Best Men Can Be’ campaign in our previous blog. It’s definitely one of the most notable campaigns from 2019. At the start of the year, Gillette released this short film. Playing on their slogan ‘the best a man can get’, Gillette created a video on issues surrounding toxic masculinity. The video received a lot of backlash. Many believed the message in the video was unclear and wrongly targeted all men, you can take a look at some of these reactions here. Some marketers may argue that this is one of the worst campaigns of 2019. Why then are we saying that this is one of the best? Well, the video currently has over 32 million views and went viral across social media channels. And among the backlash, there was a lot of people who loved and supported the campaign. While reactions were mixed, Gillette started a meaningful conversation and a large one at that. 

The Bad

Innocent – Conker Milk

Known for their quirky, light-hearted presence on social media, Innocent Smoothies have made a reputation creating funny and creative campaigns. This one, however, didn’t quite go to plan. Innocent decided to create a fake drink to advertise their dairy-free range. They created ‘Conker Milk’, thinking that no one would actually believe they had used real conkers in their drink. As it turned out, people did, and Innocent had to issue a statement telling their customers NOT to eat conkers. While we have put this campaign in our ‘bad’ section, Innocent’s response was far from it. Keeping on-theme with their light-hearted brand image, they created this hilarious response. Innocent certainly knows how to create something good from something bad. Sometimes, humour is an excellent way to recover from a mistake. 

ASOS – Black Friday

Several times this year, fashion companies have missed the mark. Earlier in the year, Pretty Little Thing came under criticism for making ‘poolside’ only bikinis which would leak colour when coming into contact with water. Missguided came under fire when they released a sale for £1 bikinis, which consumers said were unsustainable. ASOS’s Black Friday campaign was another example. After not taking full advantage of Black Friday last year, ASOS pulled out all the stops to create a fantastic 2019 Black Friday campaign. Or did they?

Twitter accused ASOS of ‘faking’ their Black Friday deals. Customers found items where the price of the original product had been increased before they had provided a discount. There were even products where ‘discount’ was non-existent. Dishonestly is picked up quickly in this digital age and people across Social Media were quick to pick ASOS up on this. The lesson to be learnt here: honesty is always the best policy. 

The Ugly

Miele – Women’s day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, the German manufacturer Miele decided to create this advert to honour women. The campaign, which showed women posing with objects such as washing machines, completely missed the mark. The advert did anything but what it intended, and many complained that the advert enforced stereotypes. Miele were trying to follow the #metoo movements that have been so prominent this past year. While it’s good to create posts that are on-trend, with topics such as this, it’s essential that you understand and are passionate about the movement. The last thing you want to do is insult your audience.  

Ancestry – DNA Test

Perhaps one of the worst campaigns of 2019, Ancestry created this Ad to advertise its DNA tests which let people find out more about their heritage. The advert shows a love story set in the 19th Century, showing a relationship between a black woman and a white man in America’s Deep South. The advert went viral, but not in the way Ancestry hoped. There were several criticisms accusing the advert of romanticising the struggles of black women during a period of slavery in America. While Ancestry apologised for the advert, it’s hard to recover from such a mistake.

What can we expect in 2020?


2020 is the year of the Tokyo Olympics and the US presidential elections. It’s going to a big year, but what changes can we expect to see across Social Media? Firstly, Tiktok which currently has over 500 million users, is predicted to be the next biggest Social Media platform. Whilst TikTok is currently the 9th biggest Social Media network, we can expect it to move up the ranks in 2020. With the app’s massive growth in 2019, it’s time to start looking into TikTok if you haven’t already. Hootsuite believes that brand will strike a balance between public and private engagement and use more private one-to-one channels to create a deeper relationship.


It’s also likely we’ll see a huge development in influencer marketing with the introduction of Instagram Shoppable in the UK in 2020. This means that customers will be able to buy products directly through the app. Now it will be much easier to see the value of partnerships. Next year we’ll also see the hidden likes feature appear on Instagram. This will mean it will be harder to gauge the engagement rate of influencers posts, which is essential when choosing which influencer to work with. Overall, if you’re looking to explore influencer marketing, now is the time to do it before these features are made available. 


And lastly, we predict significant changes for Linkedin in the new year. You may have heard Linkedin being called the ‘Facebook for professionals’ and we believe Linkedin is going to become even more like Facebook in 2020. Linkedin has offered many more features this year, including the ability to boost posts and invite your followers to like your page. The similarity between the features Linkedin and Facebook offer are likely only to increase as Linkedin tries to compete with the massive success of Facebook ads. 

There’s been huge victories and even larger failures in the campaigns of 2019. Social Media is an ever-changing landscape, and with every year, we see more updates to algorithms which change the way we navigate each space. Updates either tiny or drastic change what makes a post successful and you need to keep up with updates to stay ahead of the game. To keep up to date with the latest social media trends, sign up to our newsletter. If you’re looking for help managing your social media channels, drop us a message!

We look forward to an exciting new year in the Digital Sphere! 

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