The best and worst marketing campaigns of 2022

From the glorious triumph of the Women’s Euro to the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II, 2022, (like most of the 2020s), has had its ups and downs. In the shadow of these historic events, any content marketing agency, and the marketing world, has been working overtime to keep up with so much breaking news and so many trending topics. We’ve taken a look at some of the best and worst marketing campaigns of 2022.

The Good: Some of the best marketing examples in 2022

EE – “Hope United” 

EE Hope United Campaign Mobile network, EE, released their Hope United campaign back in July. The campaign, which was released in conjunction with the UEFA Women’s Football Championship, was launched to tackle online sexist hate while delivering powerful messages of perseverance and unity through visual imagery.
Throughout the 90-second advertisement above, various players from the Women’s EURO football team are met with the line “That’s going to be a problem” when faced with obstacles such as gruesome physical injuries, parenting and menstruation. The campaign cleverly demonstrates the less glamorous side of everyday life as a professional female footballer and challenges social discourse surrounding gender biases. Premier League footballer, Jordan Henderson, concludes the advert with the evocative line; “Women face problems every day, but sexist hate, that’s not her problem. It’s ours”. Before a closing shot showing the men’s and women’s football teams united, the words ‘SEXIST HATE STOPS WITH MEN”. Example Hope United campaign social posts This was a large integrated campaign encompassing ATL adverts, digital PR services, and highly engaged influencers with social marketing services across channels. Using the hashtags #HopeUnited and #NotHerProblem, it generated (Sep-Oct ’22, measured via Brand Mentions):
  • 925 mentions
  • 45.7k interactions
  • 55.4k reach
  • 99% positive sentiment (909 positive mentions vs 3 negative mentions)

What can we learn from this campaign?

Rallying the public together for the common good can be powerful. It was a highly emotive campaign with strong values and clear relevance to current affairs – a real homerun for EE, but most importantly for the greater cause it was tackling.

CBP London – “Imagine”

CBP London's Imagine campaign CPB London leveraged vital data from a nationwide UK study to tackle unconscious biases – to #BreakTheBias. The study discovered that 39% of children surveyed believed that females (or Mummies) should do most of the housework, be the primary care giver for children, and that males (or Daddies) should go out to work. Creating posters and postcards that made people stop and imagine people based on their roles or behaviours – and what gender that conjured up. Ultimately this made people stop and address their own unconscious biases. Activated around International Women’s Day in 2022, the posters were placed OOH in cinemas, billboards and social platforms too. CPB went even further, to get to the root of the issue – children. By creating a colouring book that asks children to draw what they imagine, encouraging parents and caregivers to talk about gender roles and ensuring our children are aware of bias and believe in equality. The campaign generated:
  • 4.7M+ impressions
  • 250K+ engagement on social media
  • 10.28% organic engagement
International Women’s Day Campaign | Imagine from Crispin Porter Bogusky London on Vimeo.

What can we learn from this campaign?

Leveraging data in your marketing is powerful, and when used right, it can make for compelling storytelling, bringing brands into important conversations, in the right way – forcing people to stop and take notice. This campaign worked so well because it’s something we can all engage with, and learn from. It’s meaningful, bold, and compelling. When brands are considering joining a sensitive conversation, like bias and equality, or even an important cause – using data that could be useful or relevant to support it, then anchoring your campaign on that data, will make for a more meaningful, relevant and successful campaign.

Virgin Media – “We’re Better Connected – Skatergirl”

In response to the Women’s EURO 2022, empowering young women was a prevalent theme in marketing over the summer. With so many brands jumping on the gender equality bandwagon, we saw our share of predictable and lacklustre adverts with no real authentic message to bring. However, Virgin Media’s “We’re Better Connected” campaign managed to avoid the latter. The advert tells the story of Aamira, a young skater befriended by a skate crew after a day at the park doesn’t quite go as planned. The ad demonstrates how technology connects us all and leaves viewers feeling confident and satisfied with both the product and the narrative of the campaign. Inclusivity and connectivity are fundamental themes that unite us, and an ability to tap into these tactfully and uniquely proved to be a storming success for Virgin Media.

The Bad: Marketing fails of 2022

UberEats – “Uber Don’t Eats” 
Door-to-door delivery services have become a staple of everyday life in the 21st century, with Just Eat, Deliveroo and UberEats reigning as the UK’s most popular. “Uber Don’t Eats” was initially launched for the Superbowl back in February 2022. The campaign featured an abundance of A-List celebrities, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Coolidge and Trevor Noah. With such an impressive selection of celebs, we would expect the advert to make us laugh and cry. However, the ad was perhaps just a little too on the nose. The premise of the campaign suggests that anything delivered by UberEats is, by definition, edible. Without hesitation, the featured celebrities proceed to consume various household items, including aluminium foil, cat litter, washing-up liquid, deodorant, sun cream and more. Twitter users were both amused and disgusted by the campaign. The advert, while intended as light-hearted humour, was perceived by many as cringe-worthy nonsense, and was even considered to promote dangerous messages of harmful ingestion, leaving US authorities urging viewers to “not eat soap”. With a gleaming repertoire of Hollywood celebs lending their time to the campaign, arguably much more could have been achieved to create brand awareness. On this occasion, UberEats may have benefitted from thinking beyond the obvious.

OVO Energy – “Cuddle Your Pet”

One of Britain’s largest energy suppliers was forced to issue an apology earlier in the year after launching a tactless campaign that intended to combat the cost-of-living crisis. In January 2022, OVO Energy advised customers to eat porridge, cuddle pets and do star jumps in an attempt to keep warm and keep living costs to a minimum. Of course, these ‘solutions’, for lack of a better word, were not at all viable and left many viewers questioning whether or not the campaign was genuine. We don’t have to tell you that leaving your target audience debating whether a media campaign is serious, or a joke, is an immediate flop for the brand that created it. After overwhelming national criticism, OVO Energy later issued a public apology for the insensitive and unrealistic suggestions, with one spokesperson claiming to be “embarrassed” by the supplier’s advice.


LinkedIn – “Follow in Her Footsteps” 

The “Follow in Her Footsteps” campaign, created by LinkedIn, promotes messages of visibility for female professionals and role models. Though the heart was in the right place and this definitely wasn’t one of the worst marketing ideas ever, the narrative of the advert comes across as an underpinned afterthought. The advert follows Carol Thomas BEM, the first captain of the UEFA Women’s EURO in 1984, as she embarks on a historical 30-mile walk from Gresty Road Stadium in Crewe to Old Trafford stadium in Manchester. Unfortunately, the advert does not show any footage of Carol’s excursion, despite having a 60-second airtime window. More bizarrely, the advert encourages viewers to ‘Follow Carol’s journey’ but does not however provide any details of where or how interested football fans may do so. This feels like an extravagant concept for a campaign, (particularly for Carol Thomas having walked 30 miles), to receive virtually no screen time. Showing highlights of the journey would have acted as a hook to capture the interest of viewers and encourage them to further research Carol’s journey elsewhere. Instead, the campaign solely relies on viewers being interested enough to want to research Carol’s journey on their own accord, without the bait to lure us in. Given the incredibly powerful and emotive media campaigns centred around women’s football and gender equality at the time, this campaign from LinkedIn was a bit of a bust.

Our thoughts…

We’ve chosen what we think are some of the worst and best marketing campaigns in 2022. Following the major sporting events of the year, this summer has seen predominant themes of gender equality, empowerment, and unity. These themes, if implemented correctly, can be fantastic marketing tools to execute for any media campaign, as broadcasting to a more inclusive demographic will only broaden your target audience and ultimately market your product or service to a wider variety of people. As seen with UberEats, the most effective concept for a marketing campaign usually stretches beyond idea number one, and companies would benefit from thinking past the obvious choice. Creating an out-of-the-box advert is much more likely to leave a lasting impression on your target audience. Any advertising campaign that may cause possible offence or promote harmful ideas should be avoided at all costs. If you’d like to discuss your next marketing campaign, contact us using the form below!
Picture of Laura Rudd

Laura Rudd

I’ve worked in digital and content marketing for over 20 years, specialising in SEO since its inception. My career has spanned both agency-side and in-house roles, working alongside brands like HomeServe, Taking Care, Checkatrade, and My expertise centres on SEO and content marketing, where I’m passionate about audience-first strategies that drive long-term organic performance.

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