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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

The Best of 2021

In 2021, I published at least three blog posts every single week.

That works out to over 150 blog entries, which by my rough calculations, took me as much time to write as it would have taken you to watch all five seasons of Money Heist on Netflix... four times.*

Fortunately for me, that time doesn't appear to have been completely wasted: both my website page visits and newsletter open rates were strong all year. (Thanks to you all!)

But as can be expected, some posts were more popular than others.

So for my second-last post of the year, I thought I'd highlight the 20 most popular articles I wrote this year, as determined solely by the ones Google Analytics tells me earned the most number of page views.

And then, at the end of this post, I'm going to share the five articles I personally liked the best that didn't make the Top 20 for whatever reason.

Here we go...


#20. The Risk of Sponsorships

Cristiano Ronaldo really wants you to drink water, not Coca-Cola. And his not-so-subtle message to that effect at the UEFA EURO 2020 press conference highlighted the risks of overarching corporate sponsorships.

#19. Join the CineClub

Cineplex launching a monthly subscription program? I thought that was worth a deeper look... and apparently, you did too.

#18. Jab-Jab-Work

Earlier this year, some companies began to tell job candidates (not just employees) they needed to be fully vaccinated in order to accept any offer of employment. I thought the implications of that were pretty important.

#17. ADdicted: Back to Normal

Two "return to normal" ads made me smile, although one of them was much (much) better than the other one.

#16. A MasterClass in Retention

It isn't easy to cancel a MasterClass subscription, and that in itself is a MasterClass in Customer Retention for anyone running a subscription website.

#15. Evaluating Creative

All marketers worth their salaries know there's a correct way to evaluate creative work. And non-marketers who don't know how to do evaluate creative shouldn't be asking marketers for creative samples. (This was a fun one for me to write, and got a very strong reaction when I shared it on LinkedIn!)

#14. Overqualified Candidates

When an "overqualified" candidate applies for an open role at your company, there are only four reasons for you not to consider this person for the available position. This article proved to be very popular, but I'd like every company currently hiring people to read this post.

#13. ADdicted: Extra Fresh Start

Many companies released COVID-related ads this year, but I thought this one was easily among the best.

#12. How to Anger Your Customers

Just because you can restrict a customer from doing something with the product they've purchased, it doesn't mean you should. This post provided a great example of what NOT to do if you want to avoid making your customers angry.

#11. Unconventional Candidates

Many job descriptions list industry-specific experience as an absolute requirement, but that's a mistake... and this article explained why.

#10. ADdicted: Are You Stupid?

A clever, sassy campaign from oat-drink company Oatly questions the intelligence of EU regulators by calling consumers' intelligence into question.

#9. Sipscription Revisited

When A&W invited me to participate in their unlimited coffee "sipscription" program, I leapt at the opportunity. Unlimited free coffee? Yes, please! I wrote two posts about this program, the first one (which was my initial analysis of how the program would likely work and what would be needed to make it successful) was my third most popular post in 2021. This post, which was a post-mortem of the program after I had participated for a month, came in at #9.

#8. ADdicted: Mint Mom

Does Ryan Reynolds ever fail to disappoint with his advertising? He sure didn't for this Mint Mobile Mother's Day stunt.

#7. Dear Harley

When Shopify President Harley Finkelstein asked the Twitterverse what brand was best at storytelling, I didn't think 280 characters was enough to provide him with a complete answer. So I wrote him this post, filled with a number of great brand storytelling examples, as an open letter. Do you think the fact he shared my reply with all of his Twitter followers helped this post break this year's Top 10? (I do.)

#6. When I Connect

I share a lot of content on LinkedIn, and as a result, I get a