As 2021 comes to an end, it’s time to look back at the best marketing of the year—not just campaigns and customer experiences that grabbed attention, but those that drove revenue. These are the accomplishments recognized by the Ad Age’s annual Marketers of the Year list, which this year features nine companies and one person that exemplified excellence, both in marketing and, more importantly, business strategies.
This year’s list includes an athletic superstar who found ways to engage young fans and whose endorsement deals broke through beyond the basketball court. The list also includes great comeback stories, including those of a food company that enjoyed a creative renaissance and a beauty brand that beat expectations. We also highlight some spunky newcomers in new categories such as cryptocurrency and esports that are outperforming the competition.
The list includes plenty of marketing lessons, including from one transportation brand that is proving how consumer love does not always depend on pricey ad campaigns and big-budget media buys. It was a mixed year for retail, but one brand stood above all others, thanks to new brand collaborations and a laser focus on customer experience.
Check out which brands made the cut this year below, and tune in to the Ad Age Marketer’s Brief podcast later this week to get the inside scoop behind the picks.