Inspiration can be taken from anywhere. It isn’t limited to sector, audience or region. Here are just three ad campaigns which we can all learn a little something from. 

What is good: Niche spaces 

Although segmenting an audience into hyper-specific segments can lead to the exclusion of certain customers, it is the perfect strategy for niche products. Bypassing those wholly uninterested in the product through targeted advertising means more ad-spend where it counts. ISORUNCLUB has done just that. Continue reading to find out how. 

ISORUNCLUB has teamed up with The North Face to deliver Vert + Knockout, a competition for trail runners. Described as ‘a brutal, ten-week elevation leaderboard’, the virtual Strava knockout race whips up fierce competition, with the ten lowest-performing runners eliminated each week, and the weekly winner being awarded a pair of The North Face Flight VECTIV™ Trail Shoes. ​


It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that’s exactly why we like it. Getting a super engaged and motivated audience to connect with a new shoe by harnessing the obsessively competitive nature of Strava’s trail running community and its micro-influencers, is pretty clever. ​

The trail running community thrives off competition. Engaging this niche audience in such an intense challenge, with the focus on winning The North Face trail shoes, is a smart way to position a new product with the right community. Challengers were invited to vlog about their experiences of taking part, and as a result there’s some nice evergreen content promoting ISORUNCLUB and The North Face. 

Our key takeaway

We're always looking for creative and out of the box advertising campaigns, and this challenge certainly hits that brief. We love how ISORUNCLUB and The North Face found a niche space where they could engage their audience, watch how they behaved there, and then give them a reason to care and talk about their brand and product in a way that fits seamlessly into this behaviour. 

The challenge grabs the desired customer’s attention, incorporates elements of audience segmentation and product testing, and provides marketing that the audience loves. ​

What is good: Changing perceptions 

We live in an age where everything is shifting, especially binary divisions. From gender neutral advertising to increased diversity and changes to what it means to be a student, we’re at the cusp of transformation. So, how is advertising shaking up gendered career paths and job roles? 

Who knew engineering could be so… cool?

Turns out, the Royal Academy of Engineering has known all along, and in their latest campaign This is Engineering, they want to put the record straight. ​

This is Engineering, created in partnership with EngineeringUK and other industry partners, is on a mission to encourage more young people from all backgrounds to consider engineering careers.

The campaign sets out to give the industry a more 'sexy' proposition, highlighting that you can be an engineer in exciting professions such as film, music, sport and gaming. This is Engineering challenges misconceptions, and instead focuses on what an exciting and varied career engineering really is. 

Our key takeaway 

This campaign brings something considered ‘dull’ to life in a really creative and exciting way. Don’t be afraid to challenge perceptions in ad campaigns - a brilliant campaign can have the potential to change lives!  

If you’re wondering how you can take part in squashing the gender division, take a look at our guide to gender neutral branding and advertising. It all starts with you.

What is good: Honest ads 

How can ad space transform our perceptions? Opening up the discussion around ‘taboo’ topics in a fun and humorous way is key to giving visibility to the issues people face on a daily basis. So, how has Maltesers managed to tackle such a sensitive topic as mental health? ​

Serious issues can be a hard act to juggle in ads, but we think the new Maltesers campaign that focuses on mothers’ mental health, nails it. One of two new TV spots by Mars Wrigley, the ad comes on the back of research that shows one in 10 women will experience mental health issues during pregnancy or within the first year of giving birth. 

We are introduced to two mothers waiting for a bus, chatting about the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding. One mother stomps on a malteaser in frustration over her uneven milk supply. The characters are easy to connect with, and the talk is light and humorous whilst also acknowledging the challenges of being a mum. 

Using a relatable scene, the ad takes a more frank and honest look at breastfeeding and uses a humorous touch to take on an underrepresented subject in the media. The ad feels open and real, and it manages to promote Maltesers whilst raising awareness of the mental health of mothers, something not always spoken about! 

Our key takeaway

Don’t shy away from serious issues like mental health in campaigns. As we have seen in the National Clearing Survey report, issues like mental health are something students are more and more interested in. Plus, authenticity in ads can create a stronger and more honest connection.

Our research revealed that students love advertising that shows real people. Regardless of the topic, if it’s real and relatable, then they want to see it. Find a balance between sensitivity and humour to ensure your adverts hit the mark. 
Let’s see what inspiration June’s ads bring us. ​

Article by

Tilly Howarth

Marketing Events and Campaigns Executive