Reviewing successful digital marketing campaigns can generate ideas and strategies for your own brand.

Here is a list of outstanding marketing campaigns from established companies in 2023. The campaigns feature generative AI, celebrity spots, unusual partnerships, retrospectives, looks to the future, new audiences, mission-led content, physical pop-ups, and user-generated content.

McDonald’s: Grimace’s Birthday

Screenshot of video for Grimace's birthdayScreenshot of video for Grimace's birthday

McDonald’s: Grimace’s Birthday

In the summer, McDonald’s ran a campaign to celebrate Grimace’s birthday. Customers could order a Grimace Birthday Meal featuring a limited-edition purple shake. McDonald’s also launched an exclusive video game and Grimace-inspired merch, and fans could visit McDonald’s Instagram story and share a picture of their favorite birthday memory via the “add yours” sticker. For every photo shared, McDonald’s donated $5 (up to $200,000) to Ronald McDonald House Charities.

In response, campaign follower Austin Frazier created a simple 10-second video on TikTok of him trying the shake, then a cut to him lying on the ground with the purple shake all around his mouth. Then Gen-Z took over, posting a viral assortment of Grimace shake horror scenes. According to Guillaume Huin, McDonald’s head of social media marketing, the campaign and resulting user-generated content created billions in reach, millions in engagements and mentions, a top trend for at least eight days on X, and the top three hashtags on TikTok. To answer all the questions from campaign followers, Huin posted an insider’s view from the social media team of what happened.

Dunkin’ with Ben Affleck

Throughout 2023, Dunkin’ created a series of comedy spots with Ben Affleck and his production company, Artists Equity. In the spots, Affleck celebrates the Massachusetts-based brand and his connection with the area. The spots are a reminder of the power of the simple, funny video on social media with young audiences.

The campaign also…

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