This week, not one but two brands zagged with unexpected product extensions: Wheaties partnered with a local craft brewery on a limited-release wheat beer and VW manufactured a prototype of a baby stroller with automatic brakes, the idea for which began life as a joking Facebook comment. While neither product is slated for a general release (although HefeWheaties might be more widely produced if it proves successful) they are both great examples of brands listening to audience input and thinking beyond communications.
Read more about these and the rest of our picks for this week’s best in brand creativity.
What: Craft beer from the makers of the Breakfast of Champions
Who: General Mills, Fulton
Why we care: It’s an almost inevitable partnership. Minneapolis-based Wheaties has joined forces with local craft brewer Fulton to create HefeWheaties, a Wheaties branded Hefeweizen, which is a kind of German-style wheat beer. What could be more obvious? Alas, you’ll have to make your way to Minnesota to sample it as it is only going to be available there for now. Also, you may be disappointed to learn there are no actual Wheaties in the beer.
What: TV and online spot showing an adorable puppy left out of the fun in the park because of an injured leg.
Who: Amazon, Joint
Why we care: Yes, it is sadvertising but at least Amazon Prime has something of an excuse to send viewers on a heart-rending emotional journey. The point of this spot and a previous tear jerker, which featured a glum little boy feeling left out at a nursery, is that if you have an idea for a solution that is going to come to the rescue in a sticky situation, Amazon Prime will get that thing to you the next day. So dry your eyes.
What: In which a throwaway comment becomes reality. A prototype baby stroller with automatic brakes.
Why we care: This is so smart on a number of levels. The company looks super-responsive, swiftly reacting to a Facebook comment suggesting an auto-braking stroller was a great idea after it was mentioned in comment on the brand’s online ad. VW agreed and within weeks produced a prototype. A film documenting the process is not only fun it also allows VW to showcase some of its adaptive cruise control technology in a way that makes it interesting. Win, win, win.
What: Series of spots featuring older ladies by whom the vintage handbag retailer is inspired.
Why we care: More than just a campaign featuring an older model, it hails older ladies for having an attitude to which we should all aspire. In the brand’s words: “When it comes to fashion, old ladies are the shit. They ignore magazines and trends because, more than anyone, they know style has little to do with the outfit you wear.” Amen to that.
What: 150 ads for small businesses featuring their biggest fans.
Who: Capital One Spark Business, Mullen Lowe
Why we care: A huge campaign for Capital One Spark Business, comprising 150 ads for 125 small businesses, 11 of which are video spots. The films feature spokespeople nominated by each small business to champion their cause and the results are charming and authentic. The enthusiasm each person brings as they sing the praises of the small business in question is infectious. The ads show prospective Capital One Spark Business customers the kind of marketing campaigns they could create with its mentorship and support without shoving the bank’s branding front and center.