I never imagined that what I counted down the clock for on December 31, 2019—the New Year, let alone the new decade—with eyes bright, surrounded by my closest friends in my NYC apartment, would actually bring the year in which “unprecedented times” truly needed to be retired from all Merriam-Webster dictionaries.
2020 was a year when the unexpected happened one day and the unfathomable the next. The physical and emotional impact catalyzed by the pandemic drove brands to evolve to better meet the changing needs of their customers and communities, while also making it much harder for them to stop people in their ever-changing, minute-by-minute scroll. Brands faced a revolution, one where health and safety became a new priority, political division cut through our nation and powerful movements like Black Lives Matter gained real traction across our nation after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and where we now head into holiday season where perhaps we might tap our wine glass to the computer screen as a cheers to our distanced friends and family.
As 2020 comes to a wrap, it’s worth noting which brands broke through, rose up to 2020’s countless challenges through innovative, dynamic and scroll-stopping purpose-driven marketing campaigns or initiatives: those that shared underrepresented voices, those that provided connection when in reality we might not have had it, and those that brought us pure joy throughout a seemingly mine-field of a year.
Here are my 2020 list-makers:
The editing masterpiece [insert chef’s kiss]: Nike (#client), “You Can’t Stop Us”
Nike’s campaign, “You Can’t Stop Us,” launched during the pandemic and reimagined sports imagery at a time when we needed them most. The campaign researched 4,000 sports action sequences and chose 72 of them to combine into 36 split-screen moments, where the action on both sides appears to meld into one. The editing of that old footage was immaculate, and serves an incredible example of mastered creativity and design. What I loved about the campaign other than the genius craft behind the split screen footage, was that in a time where our world felt heavy, it reminded us all of how sports connect us to one another—whether in moments of loss or triumph.