The start of a new year is a time of reflection for many people. What did you accomplish? What made you the happiest? What will you change? Will you change anything at all? In the land of marketing and advertising, we look back on what inspires us: pieces that are well-designed, fun, thought-provoking, shocking and eye-catching.

From beer to baby wipes, these are some of the campaigns that inspired our DS employees in 2017.

1. Netflix Original Series, Stranger Things

The online streaming service introduced their first season of Stranger Things in 2016. In the popular series, a young boy mysteriously disappears from the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. The show follows his family and friends as they band together to face the folks of Hawkins National Laboratory (and many other creepy forces) to bring him back.

Stranger Things became an instant phenomenon, and Netflix really capitalized on the made-up power plant. Leading up to the release of the second season, billboards appeared around New York and Los Angeles featuring “Hawkins Power and Light” with a working 1-800 number. When dialed, callers were directed through automated responses and eerie sounds—all specific to the show.

(Source: AdWeek)

That’s not all.

From the big hair to the classic rock, Stranger Things embodies the 1980s. The Netflix Original offered a collector’s edition for the Season One DVD and Blu-Ray release: video cassette tape packaging.

(Image Source: Newsweek)

2. Tommee Tippee’s “Advice Wipes”

The Tommee Tippee company sells a wide range of baby products. From bottles to bibs, they sell most things that any new parent would need for a new baby. And, not too long ago, they launched a new kind of baby wipe: Advice Wipes. Watch the video here.

The idea behind the product stems from unsolicited, “new parent” advice—what people, books and online articles say you should or shouldn’t do when raising a child. The creatives behind the idea took all of those books and magazines to a local processing plant, and literally, transformed them into baby wipes.

The wipes were limited, but their impact is long-lasting. The ad swept blogs, social media and news sites, and with plenty of new parents on board, “Advice Wipes” became Tommee Tippee’s most successful brand launch.

The launch was back in 2015 but it is making our 2017 list because it was nominated for an Effie Award in May, the awards that recognize brand success in the marketing industry. Tommee Tippee is doing it right. An opinion we’re sure they actually enjoy receiving.

3. Oregon Tourism's “Travel Oregon” Game

The Travel Oregon website appeals to your inner-child, while taking on adventures that are suitable for any age.

Oregon Trail Campaign

(Source: Thrillist)

The landing page has a look that we’re all familiar with: The Oregon Trail game. You remember the Oregon Trail game, right? We’ll review it for anyone who doesn’t know about this iconic adventure—with limited judgment. The Oregon Trail is a computer game that was developed to teach school children about pioneer life on the Oregon Trail. Facing many obstacles, players try to make it from east to west in a covered wagon. Years ago, this classic game could be found in elementary schools everywhere.

Oregon Tourism uses the game’s popularity and nostalgia to appeal to their site visitors. It takes them on a modern-day journey across the state, customized to their interests. In their version of the game, you can be a yoga teacher or fly fisherman. You can also choose to spend your money on local craft beer or snow chains. It’s a great way to showcase Oregon.

We love this modern and creative spin on travel and tourism.

4. Heineken's “Open Your World” Campaign

This advert uses thought, creativity and emotion to reveal the power of human kindness.

The Heineken team conducted a real social experiment to bring together people of opposing personal and political views. The pairs were instructed to take part in team-building activities first. After working together and developing a new relationship, their political views were unveiled. The participants then had the option to leave, or share a Heineken and discuss their differences. Every pair chose the latter.

With millions of views and tens-of-thousands of shares, this marketing campaign took the internet by storm. Heineken used their platform to help restore our faith in humanity.

5. GE’s “Millie Dresselhaus” Commercial

The creatives behind this General Electric campaign started with the question: “What If Millie Dresselhaus, Female Scientist, Was Treated Like A Celebrity?”

Millie Dresselhaus was known as the “Queen of Carbon Science” by most. She was also the first woman to secure a full professorship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The GE commercial aired during the 2017 Oscars—honoring Dresselhaus, who passed away at the age of 86.

The ad begins with a young girl opening her very own “Millie Dresselhaus Doll” on her birthday. That is followed up with more girls dressed in Millie costumes for Halloween, teenagers using “Millie emojis” and more.

The team at General Electric adds that they aren’t just imagining a world where women in science are treated like stars—they’re creating it. Their ultimate goal is to have 20,000 women in STEM roles by the year 2020.

A great way to cap off our list of creative campaigns in 2017. While brands like these continue to produce pieces that are compelling, thought-provoking and entertaining—we’ll enjoy—and keep working hard to do the same. Here’s to 2018! 

Curious about what makes a successful brand campaign? Contact us.