The North American Effies were published on last week. Warc subscribers can browse all 46 of them here. But if you’ve only got time to read a few I highly recommend the following. These case studies tap into a number of current marketing trends including customer-centricity, real-time contextual based targeting, strategic partnerships and there are some good illustrations of innovative outdoor activations.

Cole Haan: #dontgohome

Cole Haan, a US shoe retailer, developed a repositioning campaign to reach fashion conscious 24-45 year olds in New York City in this local and tactical activation. Storefront rolling gates were the ad medium of choice, an innovative use of outdoor space. The brand collaborated with New York drag queens who wore the Cole Haan shoes during the city’s fashion week, attracting the attention of the young and hip audience it wanted to reach. Sales, in-store traffic and social media engagement rates all increased above target.

Pantene weather program

Pantene, the hair care brand, combined contextually based mobile advertising, real-time location-based data and strategic partnerships with Walgreens, the US pharmacy chain, and The Weather Channel to address a key consumer pain point – ‘bad hair days’. Upon checking the daily forecast on The Weather Channel, mobile phone users were served a personalised "haircast" with suggestions for the most appropriate Pantene product to suit the conditions outside. Shopper marketing was vital - the tie-up with Walgreens (where sales increased by 24%) smoothed the path to purchase, and consumers received relevant discounts and rewards. A great example of solution-orientated marketing.

U by Kotex: Generation know

The feminine hygiene brand built equity in the US by creating a social movement that had the empowerment and education of young women at its core. Four influencers were invited to share their knowledge about feminine health and several documentaries were made and loaded to the ‘generation know’ website. This became a place where young girls could talk to each other about feminine health and share knowledge. Branded content came in the form of “I know” bracelets, an indication the wearer is knowledgeable about feminine health. Sales grew despite a category decline and Kotex connected with 2.7m girls online.

California Milk Processor Board (CMPB): Bedtime stories

This case study describes how the CMPB created a new consumption occasion for drinking milk among California’s large Hispanic population. CMPB identified a new opportunity to increase milk consumption – by associating drinking a glass of milk with the parent/child bedtime bonding ritual. The multi-media campaign included a strategic collaboration with Shazam, the mobile application that recognises surrounding music, which gave Moms the opportunity to download a series of bilingual bedtime storybooks and share them with their friends. Not only did this help elevate milk consumption beyond the over-saturated breakfast time occasion, it increased penetration among Hispanic households by 7%.

Kmart: Ship my pants

This case study demonstrates how Kmart, the US discount department store chain, developed a customer-centric solution to its recurring out of stock inventory problem. Customers had low awareness of its ‘Store to Home’ service, which allowed in-store customers to order products to be delivered to their home for free. So it created a cheeky online video, “Ship My Pants”, launched exclusively on YouTube. Over 15 million views (in eight days) helped ensure shoppers got the ‘Store to Home’ message.

Applegate: From mystery meat to meat you can trust

The average hot dog sold in grocery stores in the US contains over 15 ingredients, many of which are unpronounceable and unfamiliar. Hence the hot dog category has a rather unsavoury image. Applegate, the US organic meat producer, managed to turn a “bad” food into a “good” food by emphasising the healthy, natural ingredients in its hot dog products. The brand encouraged US Moms to question the ingredients of standard hot dog manufacturers. A microsite, (, provided information and coupons. Sampling and giveaways were key components of the campaign. The health message worked: Sales increased by 55% while brand awareness grew from 7% to 17%.

New Museum: Recalling 1993

The New Museum, New York's only contemporary arts museum, needed to increase visitor numbers which had been in decline. Reaching out to ‘mainstream creatives’ aged 21-39, the museum created a week-long ‘time capsule’ campaign that gave New Yorkers a sample of what life was like in 1993. Ambient/outdoor media led the campaign – the humble outdoor pay phone became the media channel. 5000 Manhattan pay phones were turned into ‘time machines’, delivering hundreds of audio stories of life in NYC in 1993. Attendance spiked 31% during the campaign and the strategy achieved 210 million earned media impressions.

JetBlue Airways: Election protection

JetBlue, the airline, seized a cultural moment - the divisive 2012 US presidential election - to create buzz in New York with a political themed campaign. Many people declared they would leave the country if their candidate didn’t win so JetBlue announced the ‘win-if-you-lose’ promotion – offering over 2.000 flights to disgruntled voters. JetBlue used the traditional newspaper in an interesting way: it placed a “floating ad” in the New York Post, by running a “left-wing” and a “right-wing” ad on each side of the paper, hence mirroring the partisan debate.

Aruba Tourism Authority: Many Happy Returners

Aruba, a Caribbean country , highly dependent on tourism, needed to reverse a decline in visitors from the US. It did this by placing a community of repeat return tourists, or Aruba evangelists, at the forefront of the campaign. These ‘happy returners’ told authentic stories of Aruba and why they keep coming back. This advocacy strategy worked: US visits grew against a decline in the Caribbean overall.

HanesBrands: Undercover color - dare to share

Hanes, an American underwear brand, wanted to refresh and update its brand image. Targeting millennial women, Hanes invited consumers to share their ‘Undercover Color’ on Twitter – what colour underwear they were wearing. The consumer data was aggregated within a dedicated microsite (, and as a result, the nation’s collective underwear color was broadcast in real-time, including a live stream on a digital billboard in Times Square which streamed #UndercoverColor mentions, and broadcast which colours were trending in New York City, at that very moment. In addition, a strategic partnership with Hearst Media, owner of a selection of top women's magazines like Cosmo, Elle, and Marie Claire, meant Hanes was able to establish fashion equity.