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Marketing Brand Strategy Best of 2021

5 of the best retail campaigns that won in 2021, featuring Aldi, Specsavers and KFC


By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

December 21, 2021 | 5 min read

As part of our Best of 2021 series, our journalists have been picking out their favorite award-winning work of the year.



Throughout the festive season, we’ll be looking back through the winners from our 2021 global awards program, which includes The Drum Awards for Marketing, The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries, The Drum Awards for B2B and more.

Here, we round up some of the best campaigns to win in The Drum Awards’ retail and e-commerce categories, including work from leading brands Aldi, KFC and Specsavers.

Aldi ‘#FreeCuthbert’ by McCann Manchester

Free Cuthbert

Winner of the best retail or e-commerce category at The Drum Awards for Social Media, this campaign was sparked by court proceedings launched by M&S in April 2021. The upmarket grocer alleged that Aldi’s Cuthbert character cake bore too uncanny a resemblance to its own best-selling Colin the Caterpillar.

Aldi and its agency McCann Manchester embarked on a social media crusade, creating images of a banged up Cuthbert to ridicule M&S’s complaint. It ended with proceeds made from cake sales being donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Specsavers ‘It’s Coming Home’ by Tangerine Communications


Amid the wave of brands trying to capitalise on the excitement surrounding England’s historic progress in the Euros this year, it was Specsavers that cut through. Winner of the best retail or e-commerce campaign at The Drum Awards for Content, the work saw the iconic ‘It’s coming home’ catchphrase turned into a giant billboard mimicking the style of eye charts found in branches of the opticians.

”This ad took a message of hope and wrapped it up in a Specsavers package,” recalls Martin Kevill, senior creative lead at Tangerine. “Timing was everything and at 6.51pm on Tuesday evening when the ad went live, millions of elated fans were already singing those exact three words.”

KFC ‘Pressing Pause On The World’s Most Inappropriate Endline’ by Mindshare and Mother

As the world grappled with acceptable social behaviors amid a global pandemic, KFC realized that touting its beloved ’finger lickin’ good’ slogan might not be the best idea. So it decided to temporarily suspend using its famous tagline which it announced in a 30-second ad campaign it ran globally.

The move proved universally popular and saw KFC take home The Drum’s first ever best-in-all-of-the-shows prize earlier this month.

Felix ‘The Climate Store’ by Weber Shandwick

Winner of best retail campaign at The Drum Awards for Experience, Swedish food brand Felix wanted to communicate its sustainability credentials by demonstrating how easy it is to make climate-friendly choices when products are clearly labeled with their respective carbon footprints.

In the middle of Stockholm’s retail district, it built a pop-up supermarket – The Climate Store (Klimatbutiken) – the world’s first grocery shop where the listed ‘price’ of every item was its carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Customers could only pay with a CO2e currency the agency had printed, with every shopper given a ‘budget’ of 18.9 kg CO2e – the maximum personal weekly consumption outlined in the 2030 Paris Agreement.

Elena’s Helados ‘Heartbreak Ice Cream’ by VLMY&R Commerce

Struggling amid the pandemic, ice-cream brand Elena’s decided to launch a campaign playing on the love Mexican people have for telenovelas – characterized by melodrama, sentimentality and chaotic romances – and that people always turn to ice cream when going through a breakup.

It introduced a new product, Adios Amor Adios. The single pint feature five flavors designed to match the five emotional stages of a breakup – denial, anger, sadness, acceptance, hope. Winner of the best use of retail at The Drum Awards for Digital Industries, it saw a 230% increase in website visits, a 420% increase in social media mentions and sold out of product within the first week.

Head to The Drum Awards website to find out more about all of our competitions, including categories, deadlines, judges and how to enter.

Marketing Brand Strategy Best of 2021

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