Brands that Made a Splash this Summer

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  • by Angie Phillips

I don’t know about you, but while there were a lot of brands that launched new ad campaigns, products, and ideas into the market over the summer, there were a handful that stuck with me all the way through those hot and sticky months. (Seriously, I think we might have just skipped Spring this year in Cincinnati, OH). 

The brands I personally noticed making big moves this summer were the ones out there boldly tackling a variety of social issues including sustainability, inclusivity, and one that even aims to redefine what big moves looks like in the world today. So without further ado, let’s dive into the brands that made a splash this Summer:


At this point, you’ve probably seen the news around the little girl in a wheelchair who “stopped in her tracks” mesmerized by an Ulta window display. Nope -- it wasn’t because of the colored mascara trends being advertised. Instead, she was staring at a reflection of herself in their marketing campaign: a girl, just like her, sitting in a wheelchair. 

We’ve seen brands make major strides in featuring racial diversity in marketing campaigns, but we have yet to see many companies include individuals with mobility or sensory differences. And the real difference is in the way it’s making consumers - all consumers  - finally feel seen. 


We’ve been paying attention to the upswing of all things sustainability lately, and this Instagram ad really caught my eye. The ad is for toothpaste capsules that come in jars with pre-portioned amounts - equating to less oral care products ending up in landfills. Not only is this on the environmentally-conscious trajectory, but the price point is reasonable in comparison to a lot of other plastic-free household goods subscriptions. I also appreciate that with their subscription model you can choose to either purchase or skip each month, so you aren't committed to buying more than you need. 

Hopefully, if this trend gains enough traction, we’ll start seeing products like this in stores -- eliminating the need for monthly subscriptions. I’ll definitely be keeping this product in mind while traveling over the next couple of months!


Speaking of sustainability, as I was recently scrolling my Facebook feed, I noticed there were a lot of people posting free flights on my friend's wall. I soon realized that Frontier was offering free flights for folks with the last name of Green or Greene during their “Green Week”. (If you haven’t guessed already, my friend's last name: Greene). 

This was the airline’s attempt at reminding customers that Frontier’s airline is “39% more fuel-efficient than other airlines,”  including their initiative to reduce waste collected on flights by utilizing sustainable materials for their cups, napkins, and more. 

Ikea Place 

While this brand may not be new this summer, it’s still new to me! This summer, in particular, I’ve been working on various house projects on my back patio. (You know, that one room in your house you totally neglect other than to store patio furniture in the winter… and that unappealing-looking bag of dog food). 

Well, Ikea Place has helped me begin to actually envision this space as something I could transform into liveable. The Ikea Place app uses augmented reality through your phone camera so that you can see what furniture would look like in your room… before committing to it.

Now if only the app would assemble the furniture for me…


Early this summer, Volkswagon launched its #DriveBigger campaign to market BUZZ, their electric minivan for their I.D. series. Through this campaign, they touch on a multitude of both social and economic issues… without laying it in too hard. It goes through a variety of things society may perceive as “big” (you know, like getting over 10,000 likes on an Instagram post). But you know what’s bigger? Patting your teammate on the back during a basketball game.

I love this campaign because it’s recognizing that just because something physically stands out as big (like a waterfall, or a supermodel with giant hair and heavy makeup), it doesn’t necessarily have the lasting impact that small acts of kindness do (like turning off the faucet, or a young girl confidently smiling at herself in the mirror). Volkswagon is redefining what “big moves” look like in the world today, and I’m here for it. Their mission: “When you drive something bigger than yourself, you change the destination”.

Thinking back on your summer (you know, when you took a break from cooling off by the pool or binge-watching Season 3 of Stranger Things), what brands caught your attention? What moves struck a chord with you? We’d love to hear from you -- join our discussion on Linkedin!