The good, the bad & the ‘beach ready’ body.


2015 – a retrospective.

A funny old year. We had a major corporate brand screw up in an almost unbelievable way, John Lewis twanging our heartstrings a twang too far, and, of course, an awful lot of brands that completely nailed it.

We wanted to share our thoughts on some of that. So, here goes. Who did good, who did bad and who made us greener than Kermit in 2015?

Richard Hanney, Head of Strategy:

What Rocked: Mattel Barbie Advert.

Whether you think this makes the idea of Barbie any more tolerable or not (I’m leaning towards the latter), it’s impossible to deny the all round quality and craft of this ad from idea to final execution. DOPENESS.


What Sucked: #HackaHairDryer campaign by IBM.

Good initial intentions (I think), but the rest of it is a sustained, muddled, fuck up. It’s confusing enough that you actually have to work quite hard to understand how cluelessly patronising, sexist and strangely pointless it all really is.


Martin Farrar-Smith, Art Director:

What Rocked: Netflix rebrand.

In a year that saw some big-ass rebrands, it was Netflix that stole my heart. A really, really simple but bold graphic system that keeps on giving. So much thought has been put into this and it shows – it really could have become muggy and confusing, but it’s not. It’s brilliant. And that tagline. Oh my!


What Sucked: CareerBuilder rebrand.

But not for the reason you might think. This sat a bit uneasy with me – it seemed like this was posted not as a critique, but as an invitation for designers worldwide to jump on the comment box and trash it. Which just seemed a bit… tight?!


Also Sucked: Kerngate.

Nearly EVERY comment on a new design / brand / logo is about ‘the bloody kerning’. And then a designer ‘fixing’ it by uploading their version. Seriously people, save your fixing for dribbble, not disqus. It led me to seriously question the statement that ‘kerning is a dying art’. That’s an oxymoron; kerning is either right or wrong (which is why you have the Kerning Game). Art is interpretive. So there.


Lizzy Peters, PR Account Director:

What Rocked: The Nation’s Ode to the Coast.

2015 saw the 50th anniversary of the National Trust’s Neptune Coastline campaign, designed to maintain and support UK coasts.

As part of the celebrations, the National Trust partnered with punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke and invited the public to help it celebrate by contributing to a one off poem written by the nation for the nation.

The result? A coast ‘love-in’ of over 11,500 submissions on memories of the great British coast using the hashtag #lovethecoast. This helped form Dr Cooper Clarke’s poem which they released on National Poetry Day. A short film to accompany the poem was also released featuring 17 of the contributors.

This was a simple idea that resonated with the general public because they felt (and actually were) part of its creation. And from a campaign perspective one that resulted in exposure through national & regional coverage, together with social media.


What Sucked: Nothing.

Lizzy P is Manifest’s Perk-Machine and will see the positive in anything. Even Martin’s outfits. Bless her.


Henry Hayhurst-France, Head of Production:

What Rocked: Women’s Aid – Look At Me billboards.

Considering a different audience to the usual domestic violence campaigns, this innovative and interactive strategy draws in those standing around the problem – making them notice the signs they might ignore in more ways than one. Simple, eye catching and perfectly executed, these digital billboards put a huge problem in front of 135 million people worldwide.


What Sucked: Coca Cola – Open Your Heart.

So despite successfully commercialising Christmas in festive red, the drinks giant has made some faux pas in the past. This year, Coke decided to send a group of fair-skinned youths to hand out free bottles to indigenous people in Mexico. Coke said it was a “message of unity”, but it also happens to underline some very offensive social stereotyping.

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Also Sucked: Jonny Depp – Sauvage by Dior.

Fragrance adverts often feature strange narratives (i.e none). But just when you thought they’d tried absolutely everything, Dior delivered a meditation on ‘cluelessness’ starring a questionably vacant Depp. “What am I looking for?”, Jonny asks his spirit animals. Truthfully, I have no idea… Wait, does this mean it’s worked? #Sauvage (a tip of the hat MUST go out to this though #sausage).


Ella Sykes, PR Account Manager:

What Rocked: Uber delivers.

Uber delivers – I mean, it just does. Throughout the year we’ve seen the Uber crew drop-off everything from Christmas trees to kittens; simple ideas that are perfect for outreach, social engagement and content generation. Plus, the company reported a tenfold turnover increase to £11.3million – so clearly they’re doing something right.


What Sucked: Protein World.

It was hard to think what was going through the minds of those at Protein World when it released those beach body ads this summer. That was until its head of marketing responded to the troves of negative feedback and basically just pissed everyone off even more. Well done Protein World, you insensitive d-bags.


So, that’s it: our thoughts on just a few of the standout marketing moments of 2015. Here’s to 2016!

Love, team Manifest. x