If you’re feeling slightly out of breath and confused that the year is almost over, you’re not alone—it felt like we packed 18 months into 2022.
One reason is because the world looks so different from where we started in January. Crypto companies ruled the Super Bowl, but by November the entire industry was quaking from the downfall of FTX. We were just getting the hang of what purpose-driven marketing really means when rising inflation sent everyone back to savings-oriented tactics. And NFTs haven’t exactly turned out to be the revolutionary marketing vehicles they’d been hyped as.
Along the way, Adweek was there covering every trend. To look back, we’ve rounded up the top 22 most popular stories of 2022, from rebrands and cottagecore fashion to racy brand tweets and soul-searching about the future of publishing.
22. Unilever Doesn’t Have a CMO Any More—Here’s Why
As of April, one of the world’s biggest advertisers no longer has a chief marketing officer. Instead, Conny Braams serves as Unilever’s chief digital and commercial officer, reflecting the increasingly blurred lines between digital marketing and commerce.
21. These Special Burger King Whoppers Cater to the Weirdest Pregnancy Cravings
In a survey, 76% of expectant moms told Burger King that the strange foods they crave are “impossible” to resist. So, on Mother’s Day, the fast-food chain served up some truly off-menu combos just for them.
20. Why Sustainable Travel Is No Walk in the Park
A tourism bureau’s job is to inspire travel. But when that works too well and a location gets more visitors than it can handle, marketing can still be the answer.
19. It’s Official: Skinny Jeans Are Out, Wide-Leg Denim Is In
Cancel culture has come for a decade-old fashion trend, but we feel confident saying this is one change every generation can support.
18. You Can Relax, Twitter: Guitar Center Adds a ‘G’ to Logo
Let’s be real, Twitter will never have any chill. But when your customers are confused—or your logo is generating more conversation than your products—it’s time for a pivot.
17. Liquid Death Recruits Porn Stars for a Sustainability-Themed Campaign
16. Why It Might Be Time for Budweiser to Give That Horse and Dog a Rest
Budweiser has been coasting on the popularity of its signature Clydesdales and their canine companion for decades. But the 2022 Super Bowl edition of these two iconic companions flopped with audiences, so we looked at why the formula is no longer working.
15. Birkenstock Embraces Its Reputation for Unstylish Footwear
Displaying its signature product in an unflattering light worked for Burger King with the Moldy Whopper, so Birkenstock thought why not lean into what our customers are already saying? As a bonus, the utilitarian sandals actually came full circle to be cool with the arrival of cottagecore.
14. Christopher Meloni Bares All in Maximum Effort’s Latest Peloton Ad
13. Major Brands Are Shifting to TikTok, and You Should Be Too
TikTok has been minting new musical artists, influencers and wardrobe trends, and unlike other platforms, it’s a platform where advertisers that aren’t too precious about their brand can break into the Gen Z demographic everyone wants. The question is, are you brave enough?
12. Jon Hamm Is Mad, Man, as Apple TV+ Casts Everyone But Him
To emphasize how many A-listers the streamer had signed, it hired another A-lister who’d been left out to promote it. (Also, Adweek will never sleep on a Mad Men pun.)
11. Nike Drops Free Sneakers by Drone to Promote the Air Max
Get it? A literal sneaker drop!
10. Publishers Can Chart the Future of the Industry Together
Quartz CRO Natalie Diamond issued a rallying cry for a publisher coalition to tackle the challenge of meeting consumers’ rising expectations.
9. AT&T’s Lily Shoots for a Temporary Celebrity Replacement in March Madness Campaign
Replace AT&T’s Lily?! Don’t even dare.
8. Pabst Blue Ribbon Deletes Tweets About ‘Eating Ass,’ Saying They Were ‘in Poor Judgment’
Riling up the social media mob is a tried-and-true marketing tactic, but even college students’ beer of choice managed to cross a line with these tweets.
7. Demi Moore Turns Designer for DTC Swim Brand Andie
Actor, producer, best-selling author, songwriter, women’s rights advocate and mother of three Demi Moore added another title to her resume—and it’s affordable and sustainably made, too.
6. How Agencies Are Helping Brands Quit Cookies
Early in 2022, when brands were still hoping that the cookie’s sentence would be commuted, 55% of advertisers were unprepared for a world without them. So agencies stepped into the breach for them.
5. Affiliate Marketing Is a Safe Haven for Publishers in a Cookieless Future
Rakuten Advertising’s Anthony Capano makes the case for affiliate marketing as the way for publishers to receive fair compensation for their content and retain the all-important first-party data that’s fueling a boom in retail media.
4. Why Martin Agency’s CEO Is Calling Out Coinbase Over Its QR Code Super Bowl Ad
At first, Coinbase’s bouncing QR code stood out as an uncommonly stark Super Bowl play that worked. But controversy quickly arose about who was actually responsible for the idea behind the ad after a Twitter thread by the crypto exchange’s CEO. Since then, 2022 went on to become the year of giving credit where it’s due, especially when it comes to creative directors.
3. Adidas Tweeted 25 Pairs of Bare Breasts to Launch a Campaign for Inclusive Sports Bras
Many brands talk the talk of embracing all bodies, but Adidas walked the walk with its new sports bra line in a campaign created by an all-female team.
2. Pepsi Will No Longer Sponsor the Super Bowl Halftime Show
The beverage giant had a 10-year run as the title sponsor of the most star-studded commercial break in television, but now it’s looking elsewhere to connect with younger consumers.
1. The 10 Best Super Bowl Ads of 2022
Advertising’s biggest stage remains the NFL’s season-ending showdown, but this year’s winner brought a big twist: beloved among marketing executives, it ranked dead last in USA Today’s viewer poll. Ponder that when planning your next campaign.