Monthly Brand Mashup #13 March

Welcome to Connect's Brand Mashup. To help you stay up to date, each month we bring you a monthly roundup of the latest brand news, insight and the trends in the world of marketing. Whether it's a look at popular brand campaigns or just a brief review of what is going on in each industry, here's a look back at what we think you need to know from the month of March 2016.

In March the fast food giants McDonalds and Burger King showed us a master class in guerilla marketing.

In an attempt to highlight the convenience of its drive-through stores in France (McDonald's has more than 1,000. Burger King has fewer than 20.), McDonald’s erected a poster site in Brioude, a town of 6,700 people in the Haute-Loire region. Chosen for its particular remoteness from a BK drive-through, the poster shows the directions take you some 258 kilometers (160 miles) and in turn show a McD’s drive-through is just 5km away.

March was also home to two major female-related occasions. Mother’s Day and International Women’s day, and naturally many brands came out in support of these.

Firstly, Mother’s day, awash with hearts, hugs and heroines. One of the brands that stood out for us amongst all the lovely mush was Carlsberg, who managed to stand out in their own way with this If Carlsberg did Your Mum jokes sketch. We just love this as a piece of content. It’s particularly funny, especially to the core target audience.  It’s also sharable and crucially, it has cut through, no hearts, hugs or heroines.

International Women’s Day also saw many brands celebrate. One that stood out for us for sheer bravery and for championing a serious issue was Happn. The dating app partnered with Equality Now to raise awareness of hidden violence around women.

Users of the app, which lets singletons connect with people they've crossed paths with in real life, were shown images of female models portraying survivors of domestic violence instead of potential dates. Instead of identifying the women by name, the text box underneath read: 'I'm One in Three'.  (Statistics show that one in three women worldwide have been victims of physical or sexual abuse.)

When Happn users scrolled through her other pictures they saw her gradually heal as people pay attention to the issue.

A dating app, as a fun and social place, is not necessarily a place you would expect this sort of message. This is something that you’d often expect from a beauty brand such as Nivea or Dove. Happn could have easily opted for a far softer approach to IWD2016 and one that didn’t have the potential to alienate users as, let’s face it, you don’t go to a dating app because you want to be served with a serious message on domestic violence; but they opted to be brave and raise an important issue. Well done.

And finally for our look back on March, this ad from Camelot deserves a mention. The ad has sparked dozens of complaints after claiming that there is more chance of winning a prize on GameStore than of finding a missing cat. The Advertising Standards authority has received more than 70 complaints about the ad for the instant-win games brand GameStore, which appeared online as part of a campaign last month. Offensive? We’ll leave you to decide.

We hope you enjoyed this month's brand mashup. If you'd like to start a conversation with us about your brand or join our mailing list, please do not hesitate to contact us