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The 2015 Content Marketing Awards: Brands that are Early Favorites

As we are well over the hill in 2015, today’s leading brands are striving to use every trick in the book in order to top some of the year’s leading campaigns. As content marketing takes reign over SEO strategy and even advertising, it’s up to the creatives behind the brands to come up with brilliant, heartfelt campaigns to top the charts this year.

The most popular and shared marketing campaigns so far in 2015 have all linked to a few things: human emotion, trending controversial subjects, and visual appeal. The further we delve into these tactics, the more you will be able to see how brand advertising is becoming less of a focus as marketers begin to realize campaigns perform better when integrated directly into superb interactive content. So let’s look at the top contenders of 2015 so far.

GoPro – Visual Content Experts

gopro instagram

Imagive via

There is no secret sauce in GoPro’s content marketing tactics, as they basically let their customers do the selling for them. With over 3.2 million YouTube subscribers and an Instagram account with over 6.1 million followers and growing, it’s safe to say people crave and are actively watching their videos.  The unique aspect to their marketing efforts is that GoPro uses their customer’s own submissions as their entire visual content strategy.

This year, GoPro has exceeded all expectations in campaign success online, with Instagram in particular, and there is one main key to that. GoPro isn’t using the platform to sell their product; they are using the platform to sell adventure, wanderlust, and adrenaline.  Viewers can spend hours watching these videos without even realizing that they are adding to the brand’s chart topping content campaigns.

Chipotle – Foodie Focused Masterminds


I’m sure I’m not the only one who believes Chipotle is everything. Even though Chipotle would still be amazing without using a dime of the marketing budget, what it has done with that budget this year is a game changer. Chipotle is focusing on identifying their holistic brand and “natural fast food ” theme in a few outstanding content strategies.

In 2013, Chipotle launched Scarecrow, a short film and iOS game to address their anti-factory theory. Shortly after, they extended that campaign into a “cultivating thought” movement where notable writers were brought in to create original stories, which they then printed on the paper products in the stores for a quick read while you’re scarfing down a carnitas burrito bowl.

In the past few months they have jumped deeper into their brand strategy by creating a “Friend or Faux” online quiz. The quiz lets you compare other fast food chain items to Chipotle’s own delicious fixings, all while calling out the artificial ingredients found in traditional fast food chains. Did I mention at the end of the quiz you get a BOGO coupon? This is again linked to interactive and engaging content and pushes Chipotle up a notch on the awards ballot.

Dove – The Real MVP of Beauty


The marketers at Dove really know how to attract their target audience of women. Bullying and lack of self-appreciation have become real issues in today’s society. Dove decided to pick that up and run with it, creating a whole stir of conversation and shareable content around women and real beauty.

This year they launched a “Choose Beautiful” short video campaign to put the decision in the hands of real people and film weather they would identify themselves as beautiful by just walking under a sign. This sparked conversation and encouraged people to share the video in hopes of spreading the good word and heartwarming story.

Along with the video, they also ran a #SpeakBeautiful campaign on Twitter, replying to public tweets of women talking down to others or speaking in a negative way. This stirred conversation and pushed a positive movement in favor of women of every age, online and in the real world.  I’m sure this won’t be the last we see of Dove’s marketing success, as there is so much more they can cover on these issues.

The AD Council – Love is Love

love is love

Image via

2015 was a huge year for change in the U.S., and the AD Council jumped in with a new marketing campaign at the perfect time. This past March, they released the tear jerking video Love Has No Labels,which was filmed on Valentine’s Day. The video, which now has over 53 million views, shows two people standing behind an x-ray screen in the middle of San Francisco showing affection towards one another. You don’t realize what types of people are about to walk out, and each time they do, the reaction from the gathering crowd gets louder and happier (or sappier, if you’re me).

The film was made to promote inclusion and acceptance regardless of race, gender, age, disability, or religion. Each couple acts normal and loving behind the screen and walks out feeling accepted and encouraged. There was no better year for the AD Council to launch this campaign. It ran at the same time as the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in favor of marriage equality for same sex couples nationwide. Amazing changes are happening around us and this brand placement was a perfect opportunity to showcase that positivity. Timing is key!

Toms – One Day without Shoes


If you haven’t picked up on the theme of these top contenders yet, here’s one more that clearly illustrates this year’s content marketing prominence. Toms, the well-known shoe brand, is already famous for their “one for one” motto, giving back a pair of shoes to those in need for every pair purchased.

This year, Toms decided to take their efforts to the next level. In May, they launched a One Day Without Shoes campaign, where for two weeks Toms donated a pair of shoes for every Instagram picture with bare feet and the hashtag “#WithoutShoes.” This was a perfect strategy to not only give back to those in need and stay focused on their brand goals, but to also gain a larger following across social platforms and by word of mouth. Over 296,000 shoes were given to bare feet in need and people were able to give back without having to purchase anything.


As you can probably tell, I am all about the well-being shown in these marketing strategies. I believe that the front runners this year have done an amazing job creating awareness for their brands and the growing and controversial issues in our society. In order to hit a viral gold mine, you’re going to have to reach out to what people are interested in and want others to know about and see. Add in sharing and tagging of friends and family on social media and you’ll be on my list in no time!

Now that I’ve discussed what campaigns I think have gone above and beyond this year with their content marketing efforts, what are some of your favorite content marketing victories so far in 2015? Tweet them to me @ChelseaHarrigan!

About the author

Chelsea Harrigan