By Ann Gynn published December 19, 2018

Sample 11 of the Best B2B and B2C Content Marketing Ideas of 2018

A legal team stars in a music video. A cruise line writes romance stories. A fast-food chain creates an investigative podcast into a forgotten food. A mattress company appreciates the value of print.

This year, B2B and B2C brands elevated their creativity to inspiring levels. Natalya Minkovsky found and shared some of the best in each issue of Chief Content Officer magazine.

Here are 11 models she shared in her Idea Garage column in 2018:

Velcro® entertains to promote trademark (February)

Don’t write “velcro.” If you do, the Velcro Brand Companies legal team might burst into song about the importance of using the VELCRO® trademark correctly. No, really. To educate the public, Velcro Brand Companies created a music video in which a cast of lawyers sings about why it’s incorrect to use “velcro” as a noun or a verb (for example, shoes with velcro). In addition to the music video, the educational effort includes behind-the-scenes footage, frequently asked questions, a quiz to test your VELCRO® legal knowledge, and an invitation to join the #dontsayvelcro “movement” on social media. (P.S. If you don’t know if it’s truly VELCRO®, go with hook-and-loop fasteners.)

Velcro® lawyers burst into song in the name of trademark protection: http://bit.ly/velcrovideo @hejhejnatalya Click To Tweet

Update: Later in the year, Velcro® lawyers were back at it – another full production highlighted by a new song including some of the comments the original video received.

Intercontinental turns lifestyle experts into storytellers for its destinations (February)

To help attract customers who have a passion for travel, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is telling “stories of the InterContinental life” with a video series and podcast. Told by bestselling authors, art experts, top chefs, and pop philosophers, the stories offer glimpses into everyday life in cities where InterContinental has properties – from New York City and London to Beijing.

The stories are grouped into themes: fascination, empathy, connection, sophistication, and worldliness. Brooklyn-based filmmaker and radio producer Bianca Giaever reports from around the world for the podcast, while her short films combine audio recordings with video footage and animated illustrations.

Moleskine creates the Fold (February)

Following in the footsteps of companies such as Airbnb and Away, Moleskine is the latest brand to launch a digital magazine. According to the papermakers at Moleskine, Fold aims to be “a source of inspiration as well as a deep dive into the very meaning and process of inspiration.”

.@Moleskine launched a digital magazine to dive into the process of inspiration. @hejhejnatalya #unfoldthefold Click To Tweet

Using stories, interviews, galleries, and guides, Fold explores the process of creativity and showcases work from across the world. The online magazine is accompanied by #unfoldthefold messages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Moleskine is no stranger to imaginative extensions of its brand; in 2016, the company opened the Moleskine Café – equal parts coffee shop, retail space, and art gallery – in Milan, where the Italian company is headquartered.

Casper takes print to the mattress (May)

Reading in bed just got more meta with Woolly, a print magazine launched by mattress maker Casper. Dedicated to “a curious exploration of comfort, wellness, and modern life,” the quarterly publication centers on the idea that sleep is the “third pillar of wellness” along with food and fitness.

Created by an in-house editorial team, with help from publishing company McSweeney’s, the content includes personal essays, comedic advice columns, and other stories about resting, relaxing, and recharging. The print magazine costs $12 per issue ordered via the website or purchased at Casper’s recently opened brick-and-mortar retail shops, while some copies are distributed to customers on delivery of their Casper mattresses.

Princess Cruises presents original romance stories (May)

For many readers, romance novels and vacations go hand in hand. And for those who enjoy love stories set on the high seas, Princess Cruises has stepped in with three free original stories. (The original cruise line featured on TV’s Love Boat between 1977 and 1986.) Teaming up with Amazon’s online romance community, Kindle Love Stories, Princess created the content ahead of a five-day Caribbean cruise that included meet and greets with the stories’ bestselling authors, book club discussions, and book signings.

And what about those who haven’t taken a Princess cruise? Since each of the three stories focuses on a couple who finds love aboard a cruise ship, Princess hopes to inspire more readers to plan a cruise vacation.

McDonald’s investigates the mystery of the sauce (August)

Fans of the Cartoon Network show Rick and Morty know the story: Last year, an episode of the series referenced a limited-edition Szechuan sauce made by McDonald’s in 1998 to promote the movie Mulan. McDonald’s decided to capitalize on the moment by re-releasing limited quantities of the sauce. It was a fiasco (an intentional one, some speculate). Supplies were too limited and, at some stores, fans fought and rioted. Many fans took to social media to voice their anger and disappointment.

The Sauce is a three-part investigative podcast produced by Studio@Gizmodo and Onion Labs in partnership with McDonald’s that tells the story of those 2017 events. According to the company, the podcast is a way to acknowledge and apologize for the mistake in a transparent and creative way.

Given the subject matter and McDonald’s involvement in the production, “investigative” is a term best used loosely. The tone is light-hearted and the podcast never refers to Rick and Morty by name. The podcast was released as another 20 million packets of Szechuan sauce hit McDonald’s stores. It’s content about a sauce promotion designed to promote more sauce. If you’re looking for a serious exploration of the dark side of fandom, look elsewhere. But if you’re in the mood for a fun (albeit one-sided) take on a pop culture moment, The Sauce hits the spot.

.@McDonald’s released 3-part investigative #podcast into its Szechuan sauce disappearance, says @hejhejnatalya. Click To Tweet

Cheetos creates images as the orange snack (August)

“Everything looks better in Cheetos.” At least, that’s the premise of Cheetos Vision, an artificial intelligence camera app launched by PepsiCo Inc., the maker of the crunchy orange snacks. Take a photo or video, and Cheetos Vision transforms the image into Cheetos. Users of the app are encouraged to share their creations using the hashtag #cheetosvision. A cheesy marketing stunt? Sure, but one that’s on brand for a company known for its wacky content.

Chester Cheetah narrates this compilation video of images from the Cheetos Vision app:

Real people answer life’s questions for Charles Schwab video series (August)

Financial services firm Charles Schwab is telling inspiring stories of people who have taken control of their future – reflecting a sentiment at the heart of financial planning. Told in partnership with video platform Vimeo, the stories are presented in several series of videos that answer a question such as Why This Road? and Why Not Now?

Why This Road: Chris Yacoubian from Objekt Films on Vimeo.

With no mention of Charles Schwab in the video, the stories tug at the heartstrings instead of presenting facts about the importance of financial planning. One of the videos centers on a man who treaded water for 20 hours while lost at sea on a fishing trip. Other videos introduce viewers to a woman who started to race motorcycles at age 65 and a blind woman who won 221 swimming medals after her doctor advised her to lose weight.

Why Not Now: Mardelle Peck from Objekt Films on Vimeo.

Domino’s covers up pain point (November)

Bothered by the potholes in your neighborhood? Well, Domino’s is here to do what your local government can’t or won’t: pave the roads. Pizza lovers tired of having their pies jostled on the way home from Domino’s can nominate their town to receive funding to help repair the roads. The Paving for Pizza website features stats and testimonials from towns in California, Delaware, Georgia, and Texas where Domino’s came in to help.

Country Time takes a stand (November)

Lemonade stands: adorable summertime tradition or public health menace? While some might argue kids selling lemonade are as American as apple pie, local governments are cracking down on lemonade stands without the proper permits. Country Time Lemonade wanted to help.

The company created a team, called Legal-Ade, to help pay fines and permits for children who want to run their own lemonade stands. Country Time’s Legal-Ade paid for permits and fines up to $300 for stands that were fined in 2017 or 2018, or for permits purchased in 2018. A humorous video featuring adorable kids and tough-looking attorneys introduces the Legal-Ade team. “Tastes like justice,” says one of the attorneys after drinking his lemonade.

Mister Rogers movie partners with daily motivational service (November)

The feel-good Mister Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? may leave some viewers looking for more of those positive vibes. They’ll be pleased to know that Shine, a service that sends daily motivational text messages to its subscribers, partnered with the movie to send texts inspired by Mister Rogers.

The Shine website, which focuses on “research-backed content around confidence, daily happiness, mental health, and productivity,” also includes a series of Won’t You Be My Neighbor? tie-in articles like 19 Things Mister Rogers Low-Key Taught Us About Self-Care and What Mister Rogers Taught Us: How to Radically Be Ourselves.

Let’s all rock our quirk

Mister Rogers isn’t just a great source for how to live life, his advice is solid for all content marketers. We must get our creative on – be quirky, try new ideas, and think about how to be different in ways our audiences will notice and respond to.

We must be quirky, try new ideas, & think about how to be different in ways audiences will notice. @AnnGynn Click To Tweet

What quirky ideas have you seen or tried? Please share in the comments.

You can rock your quirks with others doing the same at Content Marketing World 2019 in September. Register by Dec. 31 for the lowest available rates.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Ann Gynn

Ann Gynn edits the CMI blog. She also serves as the Tech Tools editor for Chief Content Officer magazine. Ann regularly combines words and strategy for B2B, B2C, and nonprofits, continuing to live up to her high school nickname, Editor Ann. Former college adjunct faculty, Ann also helps train professionals in content so they can do it themselves. Follow Ann on Twitter @anngynn or connect on LinkedIn.

Other posts by Ann Gynn

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