Here’s our list in no particular order. Did we leave anyone out, who should be on the list? Tell us in the comments.

Best Emoji Change

As masks became a way of life, Apple obligingly changed its masked emoji to a happier one.

Dunzo’s Visual Brand Language

One of the hardest things to do for a brand that communicates across multiple interfaces and channels is to create a visual language that is memorable, on- brand and scalable. We think Dunzo did a great job of this with their signature green colour and animated mascots.

From their warm and fuzzy lockdown film, which was entirely crafted in-house, to comics and games, the identity works seamlessly online. More importantly, it works just as well offline and the Dunzo delivery person is instantly recognizable. What we particularly like is how the brand has implemented their visual system intelligently, staying on-brand but allowing for experimentation.

The Dunzo rider mascots are instantly recognisable

Swiggy Instamart Design

When Swiggy launched their online grocery store, Instamart, they went back to first principles to create moments of delight for the customer. Instamart’s UX journey is based on the way a customer moves through a physical store – first enabling intent, then tempting indulgence and then driving inspiration.

Swiggy’s Instamart Grocery Store

Months after the launch, the offering and the interface just gets better, as the team adds more features like a ‘Health Hub.’

The only place you can read the entire inside story is right here.

The Whole Truth ‘Non-Ad’

Shashank Mehta, founder of The Whole Truth, set out to create ‘a 100% clean snack brand’, one that declared ALL its ingredients upfront. A former manager at Hindustan Lever Ltd, he knew he would need a David vs Goliath mindset to take on the big incumbents.

This is best reflected in the launch non-ad starring the founder himself that tells us why “our food is screwed.”

Produced by Harkat Studios, the ad takes inspiration from the famous Dollar Shave Club launch.

A detailed case study on The Whole Truth’s journey so far coming soon. Sign up and get on our mailing list pronto to get an alert when we publish.

Wakefit’s End of Year Film

You probably got this on one of your Whatsapp groups. Mattress and home solutions company Wakefit has been known for its interesting communication, created in partnership with consulting firm Spring Marketing Capital.

This quirky film reached more than 13 million people, maybe because it summed up the general sentiment so aptly. For non-Hindi speakers, this is a “Quawali-type” rendition, telling 2020 to go to hell.

We loved that Wakefit has the courage to create content that is on-brand but doesn’t push sales. To learn more about this digital-first brand’s journey, read this case study.

Creatives for Covid

The pandemic saw India’s creative community step up and respond to the pandemic in myriad ways. Graphic designers created posters, brochures and graphics to spread awareness.

There was a rise of collaborative platforms that bridged the gap between creators and those who needed their services. Collectives tracked and published Covid data and we saw low cost innovations like cardboard beds and face shields come to the fore.

The creative community stepped up to combat COVID in different ways

This story captured some of these efforts.

Nickelodeon Food Idents

We can’t stop watching these uber-cool idents created for TV channel Nickelodeon by Vaibhav Studios. From an Egg-tastic Opera to this Vada-Pav Samosa rap, these videos will have you tapping your foot and smiling.

The project won multiple awards at Promax Global Excellence Awards 2020 in Los Angeles.

Surprisingly Good Social Media

There are brands that have it in their DNA to be good at social media and then there are brands that become surprisingly good at it, quite suddenly. Microsoft surprised us all by being on top of their social media game, with witty one-liners and tongue-in-cheek humour that even poked fun at its own products.

So many big – and dull – brands could learn from them.

Reimagining the Online Reading Experience

Two digital media sites stood out for well-designed reading experiences: The Ken, a business and tech publication, which was redesigned by design studio Opposite

Fiftytwo.in, a new online publication that publishes a weekly long form essay on Indian politics, culture or business, designed by design studio 3sided coin.

Screenshot of fiftytwo.in’s home page

These well-crafted and thoughtful interfaces showed that good looking layouts are no longer the preserve of print publications.

Auto Rebranding on Steroids

You would be hard-pressed to find an automobile major that did not undertake a rebranding exercise in 2020. What caused this logo change rush? We imagine it was the desire to communicate an “off with the old” and on with the new “hybrid, connected automobile” paradigm.

Auto majors that rebranded in 2020 (GM followed with a rebrand in 2021)

Artificial Intelligence Got Frighteningly Creative

While the fear about AI replacing creators is an old one, this year we saw the launch of two neural networks from Open.ai that hit very close to the mark

GPT3 creates text on demand that is undistinguishable from human- generated text. Check this blog post by Zero Crater Founder, Arram Zabeti where he uses the AI to create short stories, songs, press releases, technical manuals and more.

The second system, DALL-E generates images from text prompts. You type in a text prompt and DALL-E will respond by generating multiple image options.

Read this story for more details

New Tricks From Old Brands

It wasn’t just the digital brands that stepped up their games in 2020. We also saw a host of surprising innovations from large, established players.

This included:

  • A car subscription from Maruti Suzuki
  • An “endless” shopping aisle from Tanishq
  • A resale site from Levis
  • An ecommerce site from Emami
  • New gig-work type staffing models from Infosys and Wipro

We have the full story here.

Burger King’s Creative Whopper

Which food company would show their star product decaying and mouldy? In a bold campaign called Mouldy Burger, Burger King showed grisly images of rotting Whoppers. The idea was to demonstrate that the product did not have preservatives.

The company recently revealed a change of brand identity and we love the very clever monogram designed by Stephen Kelleher Studio.

Left to right: Mouldy Burger Campaign and the new Burger King monogram

Hot New Advertising Medium: Esports

Gaming platforms like Fortnite and Animal Crossing emerged as a new destination for brands to engage with their customers. From Getty Museum giving free art to, Marc Jabocs releasing their 2020 line, Biden/Harris selling virtual lawn signs to KFC setting up a virtual stall, brands found multiple and interesting ways to be part of the game.

Indian brands, however, are yet to experiment with this.

KFC Stall in Animal Crossing

Ads That Caused An Uproar

No creative wrap of 2020 would be complete without mentioning the two campaigns that caused an uproar and were withdrawn.

First, the well-meaning Tanishq advertisement that showed an inter-faith couple and resulted in the company’s employees receiving death threats.

The White Hat Jr campaign that made tall and misleading claims about young children becoming coders and being employed by Google at astronomical salaries.

Ads from WhiteHat Jr

Widely differing brands, widely differing campaigns – but perhaps they both act as mirrors for what we have become as a society.

Did we leave anyone out, who should be on the list? Tell us in the comments

5 COMMENTS

  1. Great insights.. Open.ai is building some life changing technology. There is a game called AIDungeon on playstore from one of the open.ai creators.

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