Culture and trends

Round Up | February's Best Gen Z Marketing Campaigns

Written by
Published on
March 6, 2023
Last updated
May 9, 2024

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February might be the shortest month of the year – but don't be fooled by its length! In fact, last month bought some of the best Gen Z marketing campaigns from this year so far.

In this blog, we round up our top four, sharing why they were so successful for Gen Z and what made them such a great marketing campaign for students.

Nandos: This Must Be The Place

There are currently over 1,000 Nando's restaurants across five continents. Shocked? You shouldn’t be.

Since Nandos’ inception back in 2008, it has become a cult favourite, existing as everything from a first date spot, to a family restaurant, to a place to catch up with your friends (cheeky nando's anyone?).

Whilst fans span famous grime MCs to politicians, there’s one demographic in particular that truly love the Nando's experience: Gen Z.

In February, Nando's unveiled a national campaign entitled ‘This Must Be The Place’. Drawing on some of the biggest names shaping Gen Z culture today, Nando's featured cameos from footballer Bukayo Saka, rapper Niko B and the Instagram icon Grime Gran.

The ad was directed by none other than Jonathon Entwistle, who is the brain behind cult Gen Z series ‘The End of the F***ing World’. If you missed it, catch up with all the action below:

The campaign aimed to embody the chain’s values of bringing people together, sharing on their website that "whether you're with mates or on a date, brave Extra Hot or are a proud Lemon and Herb-er, there's always a seat at our table".

Heartwarming stuff!

Despite only being live for a few days, it’s already drew in a huge amount of buzz online – and part of that comes from Nando's themselves. Recognising the technology-savvy nature of Gen Z, Nando's have encouraged users to tweet their best stories about the chain with the hashtag #ThisMustBeThePlace.

The winner even wins an £100 voucher – great for students who are looking to save pennies amongst the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.

Flush your ex down the toilet (no, really)

Ahh, Valentine's Day. The inescapable mid-kicker in February that either has you bursting with excitement or filled with dread.

For those holding the latter feelings, or for those just feeling a little vengeful this Valentine's Day, toilet paper brand Who Gives A Crap (WGAC) had a pretty innovative solution. This year, WGAC gave single people the opportunity to (quite literally) flush away all the memories of their ex. Yes, we're being completely serious, and yes it is too late to apply by now (sorry...).

Who Gives A Crap launched a special website in the build up to Valentine's Day, giving consumers the chance to post their old love letters, cards and notes. These sentimental (and recyclable!) pieces were then upcycled by the brand into, well, toilet paper.

This innovative campaign almost sounds too good to be true – but for this brand, who are a certified B Corp, it was a clever move that nods to their sustainability credentials. Who Gives A Crap is proudly plastic free, using recycled paper from used textbooks, old office supplies and more to make its product.

WGAC have been popular with Gen Zers for their transparent and ethical brand values, with 50% of the profit made going towards building toilets in the developing world. It's also a hit for young consumers who are shopping more than ever with sustainability in mind.

That's... smooth

Paris Hilton has been killing it recently.

Her advert with Hilton Hotels broke the internet in many ways (long form content is back, baby!).

And, this February, her campaign with payments company Klarna already seems to be a huge hit for Gen Z.

This campaign features Paris in a series of short films that responds to Klarna’s flexible payments and shopping app features. Trading in her iconic catchphrase “that’s hot” for “that’s smooth”, Paris sails through the advert in a mystical, Y2K cloud.

The ad also features an appearance from Gen Z social media influencer Bretman Rock, demonstrating the brand's appeal to young consumers through cultural icons (older and newer!). You can check out the advert below:

And, for those looking to get even more up close and personal, Klarna announced the opening of their 'House of Y2K', an interactive pop-up store in Los Angeles.

Users will be able to go through a journey in time to see how shopping has evolved, complete with vibrant design aesthetics and three floors of glamorous activation. This is a powerful way to reach young consumers, who are increasingly demanding an experiential retail experience.

As Paris would say, loves it!

Oatly goes big to promote its newsletter

Despite not as many Gen Zers following a vegan lifestyle as you’d think, many are making moves to eat more ethically and adopt some form of plant-based alternative into their day-to-day life. Oat milk has become a fast favourite for young consumers. It’s trendy, affordable and delicious.

The Oatly brand (founded all the way back in the ‘90s!) has become one of the largest plant-based companies in the world, known for its celebrity investors including Jay Z and Natalie Portman, and of course, its distinctive brand voice.

Oatly has become synonymous with brash, tongue-in-cheek marketing. They frequently pull irreverent and quirky stunts that get the internet talking and many praising their no-nonense approach to marketing.

In February 2023, Oatly launched a newsletter for the first time. Designed to be read in less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee, each edition of the letter includes important information, such as food systems’ impact on carbon emissions and other sustainability initiatives. Oatly promoted this newsletter by deploying the following banners in the UK, including in an entire tunnel wrap of Euston station.

That's one way to grab attention...

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