The Internet is a giant blank marketing canvas for brands savvy enough to cut through the noise and find new ways to get consumers to listen up.
We asked some of the founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council to share which ad campaigns have inspired them the most so far in 2013.
1. New York Fashion Week's Interactive Catwalks
From Adidas to Topshop, some of the neatest online ad initiatives I've seen so far this year have revolved around augmented reality and interactivity, with offline events. New York Fashion Week in February 2013 had brands meshing the online and offline worlds to really immerse the consumer with a 360-degree fashion experience. --Doreen Bloch, Poshly
2. Warby Parker's Year in Review
Far from being just an ad campaign, this little review of the year gone by brings existing customers into the fold and helps the company spread the word about their human-ness and likability. --Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool
3. Zoosk's Heart Friend
The best online ad campaign I've seen in 2013 so far is the Heart Friend initiative launched by the dating website Zoosk. It features a heart-shaped puppet assisting a woman who is looking for a date online. It's creative, compelling and humorous. --Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
4. LinkedIn's Marketing Ploy
LinkedIn tapped into its users' egos by issuing their top users a "congratulations" email that singled them out as the best on the site. This yielded many shares and got the media talking. Although this isn't an advertising campaign, clever ideas like have the biggest affect on a Web-based company's growth.
--Logan Lenz, Endagon
5. Mercedes-Benz's Road Trip
Customers of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter complained that the Sprinter didn't work well in the cold. So Mercedes took a fleet of Sprinters on a nine-day road trip from Canada to Alaska to the Arctic Circle to prove them wrong. Their road trip encountered temperatures that were -44 degrees. That's some hardcore stuff that shows how much a company will stand by its product.
--Brett Farmiloe, Markitors
6. Microsoft's Outlook Campaign
Perhaps the "dirtiest," and possibly most effective, ad campaign has been Microsoft's Outlook campaign. The entire premise hinges on scary omens about Google's Big Brother-esque ad placement. While those in the know will dismiss the campaign, it may sway the general populous. A Microsoft-backed petition related to the campaign garnered 6,000 signatures in a week.
--Nanxi Liu, Enplug
7. Ford's Social-Savvy Influencers
Ford and Scott Monty tapped into 100 social-savvy influencers to test out and spread the word about the new 2014 Ford Fiesta. The hope is these influencers will make their own videos, and share their experiences, which will provide an air of transparency, authenticity, and trust to prospective customers.
--Lane Sutton, Social Media From a Teen
8. Nike's New Advertisement
Nike created a new ad featuring Cristiano Ronaldo. The visuals are arresting, and the lingering shot on the Nike shoes sells the product perfectly. It is a great testament to the company, which understands its product and its consumer, and continues to make some of the most satisfying and exciting ads out there.
--Jordan Fliegel, CoachUp