BEST OF 2017: Though marketing is so often concerned with the new and the next, a case study documenting John Lewis’ development of its 2012-15 advertising strategy continues to hold lessons, the list of WARC's most read case studies of the year shows.

Most read case study this year was The gift that keeps on giving: John Lewis Christmas advertising, 2012 - 2015, an IPA Grand Prix-winning case study describing the UK retail partnership’s development of Christmas campaigns that placed the brand at the heart of the nation's festive season.

Campaigns that created a shared experience around open values have remained popular, as Airbnb’s second-place case study, Never a Stranger. The case study explains how the sharing economy brand used digital and video to turn people’s fear of strangers into a selling point in this global awareness campaign.

From openness to others to a more introspective campaign. Unilever’s Dove brand has become a leader in speaking to women in an attempt to change attitudes. In Choose Beautiful, research showed that just 4% of women around the world would use the word "beautiful" to describe themselves; the brand began a conversation with an experiment that sought to show how beauty is a personal choice. It was this year’s third most-read case study.

While emotion is crucial for long-term brand building – as John Lewis shows – provocation can be a marketer’s best friend during activation. The Economist’s multi-award-winning Raising Eyebrows and Subscriptions showed that future buyers would resemble current readers, allowing the brand to generate real time ads triggered when the prospect is reading elsewhere about a topic covered by The Economist.  

Finally, the fifth most-read in our list was Ben Essen’s Admap case study, which described how the pizza company Domino’s repositioned itself from pizza delivery from mealtime solution. The brand's clever app development and media partnerships allowed the brand to pre-empt much of the disruption felt by competitors due to the rise of the aggregator.

Domino’s story offers a concise example of a proactive thinking that has characterised this year’s most read case studies.

Sourced from WARC