As the ball drops and we wrap up 2015, it’s a great time to reflect on the year’s top marketing, branding, content and PR campaigns and tactics. Here are 10 that caught our eye this year:
#### 10. CHRISTMAS CRISIS PR
Both [Starbucks](http://www.vox.com/2015/11/10/9707034/starbucks-red-cup-controversy) and [Reese’s](https://twitter.com/FaithKTrewhella/status/664316501197873154/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw) found themselves in the yuletide crosshairs for different reasons. The PR response by each company (or non-response, in Starbucks’ case) are nice examples of ways to handle the seemingly never-ending crises that show up on social media. Kudos to Reese’s for turning the “controversy” around on social media with its [#alltressarebeautiful](http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/reeses-turned-gripes-about-its-ugly-christmas-candy-funny-ads-about-tree-shaming-168615) hashtag.
#### 9. BUILD A BRAND (AND GIVE EMPLOYEES A BREAK)
[REI](http://www.rei.com/black-friday) eschewed Black Friday and invited its employees (and everyone else) to get outside. This generated a ton of social media buzz and earned media; but also reinforced what REI stands for.
#### 8. VIRTUAL SANTA
JCPenny is offering [a virtual reality experience](http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/jc-penney-shoppers-visit-santa-s-workshop-virtual-reality-initiative/301721/) to entice young families in store. Kids can take a virtual ride in Santa’s sleigh, complete with product placements.
#### 7. ADVERTISING/FILM
[This ad for Beats by Dre](http://www.wcpo.com/entertainment/local-a-e/watch-serena-williams-beats-by-dre-filmed-in-cincinnati) features Serena Williams. It’s very powerful, but we admit to being biased because it was filmed locally.
#### 6. DOGS AND CATS WITH HUMAN HANDS
Does this need any further explanation? [This series of videos from Freshpet](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhg7Xm4FXAY) is funny, and got plenty of earned media.
#### 5. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR MARKETING?
[This dress](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dress_(viral_phenomenon)) broke the Web. Several brands newsjacked the story with social media posts. [Pizza Hut won a “viral victory”](https://twitter.com/pizzahut/status/571173127557750784?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw) for its activation around the dress, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence, scoring more than 20,000 mentions.
#### 4. LOGO DESIGN
Sonos redesigned its logo and it looks great, but if you scroll past it in your browser, it appears to pulsate – much like a speaker would. Interestingly, the effect was [discovered halfway through the design process](http://www.fastcodesign.com/3041367/sonoss-hot-new-viral-logo-was-a-happy-accident).
#### 3. THE PLANETS LINE UP
Another great newsjack was [astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s claim](http://www.cincinnati.com/story/bengals-blog/2015/10/11/earths-rotation-aided-bengals-win-tweets-neil-degrasse-tyson/73788124/) that the earth’s rotation may have helped the Bengals win a game.
#### 2. SLAP A COAT OF CONTENT MARKETING ON IT
Rust-Oleum used [clever content marketing](http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2015/09/how_rust-oleum_used_content_marketing_to_become_a_1_billion_consumer_brand.html) to build its brand – generating 107 million impressions and a 40 percent increase in sales.
#### 1. FINALLY, LET’S TOAST THE END OF 2015 WITH SOME SCOTCH, SHALL WE?
And make it a double. Here are two videos – one clever and one touching – marketing two brands of Scotch:
Replace your video yuletide log with 45 minutes of [Nick Offerman enjoying a glass of Lagavulin](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS-ErOKpO4E&feature=youtu.be) in front of a crackling fire. Yes, this is a strategic one-off, but the whiskey brand found a great brand advocate to be its spokesman. Or, non-spokesman in this case.
On a more touching note, this [spec creative video](http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/breathtaking-spec-ad-johnnie-walker-best-student-work-ever-168620) for Johnny Walker is well worth the 1:30 you’ll spend watching it.
Have some other thoughts on the best of 2015? Share them with us via [@IntrinzicSays](https://twitter.com/intrinzicsays). Happy New Year!