If There Were Oscars for Email Marketing, These Brands Would Sweep the Awards

If There Were Oscars for Email Marketing, These Brands Would Sweep the Awards
14 March, 2023 • ... • 35027 views
Selzy Team
by Selzy Team

The 95th Academy Awards have just concluded. All golden statues are awarded, all pastries eaten, all champagne popped and all acceptance speeches made. 

Then again, we can prolong this feast for a bit. What if there were Academy Awards for emails? Who would win? Email marketing is so vast and rich with magnificent examples of art and craftsmanship. 

We at Selzy analyzed hundreds of beautiful emails and picked some that touched us. Some of them are classic, others you probably haven’t seen yet — we tried not to limit ourselves to how well-known a brand is, just whether an email works or not. So, grab if not champagne but your favorite drink and here comes some inspo!

 And the Oscar goes to…

🏆 Best Picture ⭐

Let’s start our award ceremony with the Best Picture category. We perceived this category as a place for emails that are awesome in every respect — be it an inspiring, creative or just funny copy, clear and efficient structure leading to the needed action, stylish trending looks and quality visuals. Every email has something distinct that makes it a work of art of current email marketing. Above all, every email has something that we call the mood. Away with the dull and boring!

The competition was tough! And our winner is this little ingenious email from Aura Bora:

Aura Bora email
Source: Really Good Emails

It’s not sophisticated or grand, it’s just about selling something, but it has a creative approach, appealing visuals, nice design that’s both on point and trendy with those gradients, and some fun. C’mon, shop now!

But there’s more, much more. Swipe to see the rest of the outstanding nominees (there’s a second Aura Bora email there, even more creative:

Kate Spade email
Source: Milled
Italic email
Source: Really Good Emails
TWICE email
Source: MailCharts
Aura Bora email
Source: Really Good Emails
MeUndies email
Source: Really Good Emails
Amika email
Source: MailCharts
dbrand email
Source: MailCharts
The Sill email
Source: MailCharts
Culture Kings email
Source: MailCharts

🏆 Best Director ✍️

Who rules it all in the world of emails? The author! Some people say the author is dead but we decided to prove them wrong — and chose the best independent newsletters. Although our blog is dedicated to email marketing, emails are more than a vehicle to distribute discount codes — they can be a fun and interesting medium to broadcast thoughts and ideas.

Meet our Best Director, Karl Delossantos, the author of the movie review newsletter Smash Cut.

Smash Cut newsletter
Source: Really Good Emails

Walls of text are hard to read and Substack doesn’t allow a lot of customization when it comes to design. However, Smash Cut organized a long-form article in a digestible way despite the limits of the platform. We also appreciate the use of videos — when you talk about movies, you need to illustrate your hot takes, and bringing some life to a text-centric newsletter wouldn’t hurt.

Check out other nominees — click the slider!

Milkkarten newsletter
Source: Substack
Culture Study newsletter
Source: Substack
Email from Scott Dalloway
Source: Substack
Inbox Collective newsletter

🏆 Best Actor 👨

For the Best Actor category, we decided to go with email campaigns featuring male influencers and celebrities. These collaborations add value to products and draw new audiences in. Not to mention it can be a milestone for a brand to team up with a famous person.

Our winner for the category is this Imogene and Willie email. It’s dedicated to the brand’s collaboration with musician Billy Strings.

An Imogene and Willie's email about the collaboration with musician Billy Strings
Source: Milled

We appreciated the bold black and white banner image and the atmospheric photographs at the bottom. The feeling of sincerity (maybe even vulnerability) and authenticity is conveyed in the text and its no-capitalization formatting. 

On top of all, this isn’t even a promotional message! The link to the collection is buried at the bottom of the email and has a “sold out” remark.

Want to see the email runner-ups? Click the slider:

A Baboon To The Moon email about the collaboration with artist Enfant Précoce
Source: Milled
A Gucci email featuring musician Harry Styles
Source: Milled

🏆 Best Actress 👩

Brands team up with girls and fem-presenting folks too! For the Best Actress category, we’re choosing the best email campaigns with female influencers. Collaborations with actresses, models, bloggers, musicians, and so on help brands find new audiences and draw extra media attention.

Meet our winner: We Are Knitters x Marzia

Influencer email from We Are Knitters
Source: Milled

We appreciate the idea of the collaboration itself. Influencers often play the role of a face on merchandise — and this collection of sweaters was made by Marzia herself. Even better, she gave some insights about the idea behind each piece in this email. And of course, the pictures and the layout are drop-dead gorgeous!

Want to see more examples of great influencer campaigns? Click the slider.

Influencer email from Eloquii
Source: Milled
Influencer email from Fila
Source: Milled
Influencer email from DKNY
Source: Really Good Emails

🏆 Best Screenplay 📝

Even the best director in the world can’t make a good movie without a screenplay — and even a well-designed email won’t work without a copy.

Here’s our pick for the best-written email over the last few years:

Email from 3rd Ritual
Source: Really Good Emails

This email from 3rd Ritual shows how creative marketing emails can be. The brand has a consistent writing style — beautiful, almost fiction-like, mysterious, soothing, and a little cryptic in the way Co—Star daily updates are.

There are many well-written emails online though — click the slider to see other nominees.

Email from Cards Against Humanity
Source: Really Good Emails
Email from Jeni’s
Source: MailCharts
Email from Duke Cannon
Source: Milled
Email from Traf
Source: Email Love

🏆 Best Animated Feature Film 🎥

And here comes the first award on the list that’s closely linked with the world of cinema. For the Best Animated Feature Film award, we decided to select emails by brands that show a masterful use of videos in emails. 

Our winner is — quite fittingly — Filmsupply, a platform for licensing premium stock footage

Email from Filmsupply
Source: Really Good Emails

Video in emails is a controversial subject, not easy to embed right. This email though is very stylish, minimalistic and cinematic looking like a crossover between a movie trailer and a landing page for the next big Hollywood hit. In the video box, you can see the “goods” as they are with a little elegant CTA inviting you for more. A photo gallery also acts as a sneak peek of the whole collection.

Filmsupply is not the only brand that mastered the use of videos in emails. Swipe to see the rest of the nominees:

Email from Musicbed
Source: Really Good Emails
Email from Niice
Source: Really Good Emails

🏆 Best International Email 🌎

Emails in this article come in all shapes, sizes, and languages too! In this category, we gathered the best examples of emails written in any language, but English.

The winning email is this one from Milk Magazine, written in French:

A Milk Magazine email
Source: Milled

What made us choose this one? The photographs are full of light, air, and nature. The texts are clear like the visuals making this email as poetic and pleasant as a childhood memory. All in all, a great addition to any inbox.

Click the slider to see other email nominees — in German, Spanish, and French too:

A Spotify email in Spanish
Source: Milled
A Douglas email in German
Source: Milled
An email from Les Raffineurs in French
Source: Milled

🏆 Best Documentary 📢

We perceive documentaries as true-to-life stories. And in emails, what can be more truthful than a testimonial? Reviews of the audience make brands’ claims more valid and offer a perspective potential clients can relate to. Plus, user-generated content such as this is a free, no-efforts-needed source of content.

Our winning email for the category is from Harry’s. The brand took on a creative approach to its deodorant’s reviews:

A Harry's email with testimonials
Source: Milled

The idea of the email is apparent from the headline that reads Sweater Weather. It refers not only to an eponymous song but also to the product and theme — sweat. The testimonials are accompanied by stylish illustrations that portray different deodorant users — sweaters — in, well, sweaters! This email shows that even the body odor theme can be cleverly played out.

Want to know what other brands competed with Harry’s? We gathered all the great contenders for the title in the slider:

An email from Loverboy with testimonials
Source: MailCharts
An email from Kulfi Beauty with testimonials
Source: Milled
An email from Ritual with testimonials
Source: Really Good Emails
A GIF with testimonials from an email from Beauty Pie
Source: Milled
An email from Wild One with a testimonial
Source: Milled

🏆 Best Short Film 🩳

Say no more. Just go shorts!

An email from Elementor
Source: Email Love

In many cases, brevity is just the thing that makes great emails. As the struggle for the audience’s attention continues, brands try different ways to convey information and at the same time not overload the reader. This email from Elementor is simple but has everything you need for a great shortie — it has a visually distinctive style, a big and bold title conveying the main message, clear structure and CTAs.

Swipe for more examples of short emails:

An email from Outdoor Voices
Source: MailCharts
An email from hardgraft
Source: Email Love

🏆 Best Animated Film ⏩

What can be more Academy Awards-like than the actual moving pictures? For the Best Animated Film, we have the best usage of GIFs in emails.

Our winner is Baggu:

An email from Baggu
Source: Really Good Emails

GIFs in emails can be used for all sorts of things: to intrigue, to shoe the process, to educate or just entertain. This email is concise, clear, fun, pretty and just simply clever. It uses GIFs for one of their most popular goals — to show a product in action. You can say a thousand words on how to make the most of a new reusable bag, but take a few cute moving pictures, and you don’t need those words.

It wasn’t easy to pick a winner for this award — GIFs in emails are very popular, so there are tons of awesome examples. Swipe to see a few more:   

An email from Tattly
Source: Really Good Emails
An email from Italic
Source: Email Love
An email from Our Place
Source: Milled
An email from TUSHY
Source: Really Good Emails

🏆 Best Original Score 🎶

Emails are to be seen not heard — that’s why we had a hard time choosing the email version of this Oscar nomination. But music has tones, and so do brands. That’s why we decided to choose an email with the best tone of voice. We hope that the winner will be music to your ears…

Drum rolls please 🥁 It’s Frank Body!

Email from Frank Body
Source: Milled

A friendly tone, a digestible delivery, and the way how the brand presents itself as a person that is talking directly to you — this is how you express brand personality in a marketing email!

Want to see other nominees? Click the slider and enjoy!

Email from Thortful
Source: Milled
Email from Cards Against Humanity
Source: Really Good Emails
Email from Aloha
Source: Milled

🏆 Best Original Song 🎵

They are elusive, poetic, and imaginative. They make us want to learn more. Do you know what we’re talking about? Songs and subject lines, of course! For the Best Original Song category we found the most interesting subject lines and preview texts.

Who took the prize? It’s this combination from Saje:

A subject line and a preheader of the email from Sage
Source: Milled

This subject line and preview text exude positive energy. It’s common knowledge that people are motivated by the fear of missing out and other anxieties. But this example shows that anticipation of joy can be a powerful tool as well. It breaks the ordinary and makes the email intriguing in an enjoyable sense.

Our runner-ups for the category are great too, though. Take a look at the use of emojis, rhymes, and curiosity in the slider:

A subject line and a preheader of the email from Saucey
Source: Milled
A subject line and a preheader of the email from Anthropologie
Source: Milled
A subject line and a preheader of the email from The CBDistillery
Source: MailCharts
A subject line and a preheader of the email from ModCloth
Source: MailCharts

🏆 Best Design 🎨

In our opinion, Best Design is an award that has a lot to do with the Best Picture category. Sometimes it was hard to discern between the two and decide which pic goes where. After all, every email in the Best Picture category also features great design, otherwise, it wouldn’t have gotten there. 

Still, while we see Best Picture as something that encompasses all features and combines them into something entirely new, you can say that Best Design goes deeper — it’s a bit more technical category for emails with great structures, choices of color and typography, remarkable visuals and effective CTAs.

The winner is this email from The Sill:

Email from The Sill
Source: MailCharts

It’s easy to understand and navigate through, it has a pleasant color harmony, professional-looking photos as well as some illustrations, elegant use of CTAs and all the elements in all the right order.

Below is the slider with more examples of quality email design. Enjoy:

Email from Eve Sleep
Source: MailCharts
Email from Sakara
Source: MailCharts
Email from Ardene
Source: MailCharts
Email from Casper
Source: Really Good Emails
Email from Gem
Source: Email Love
Email from Gusto
Source: Really Good Emails
Email from Warby Parker
Source: Really Good Emails
Email from Otherland
Source: Milled

🏆 Best Cinematography 🖼️

We like our emails the way we like our movies — bold and beautiful! For the Best Cinematography nomination, we chose an email with the best promo photo shoot. 

Meet this gorgeous piece from Dolls Kill!

Email from Dolls Kill
Source: Really Good Emails

This alternative fashion brand knows how to present its clothes in the best way possible. The mustard yellow background, the greenish blue neon, the poses, the looks — everything about this is carefully curated. We think this photoshoot is giving 2000s goth aesthetics meets 1990s rave parties.

And, you guessed it, for our honorable mentions, click the slider and enjoy!

Email from Boot Barn
Source: Milled
Email from Zara
Source: Really Good Emails
Email from Wooden Spoon Herbs
Source: Email Love
Email from Woven
Source: Really Good Emails
Email from Eton
Source: Really Good Emails

🏆 Best Visual Effects 👀

And last but not least, the visual effects! In this category, we evaluated the illustrations, the calls-to-action, and what have you. The elements that make emails worth a look and even a share.

Our winner in the Best Visual Effects category is this email from Ritual:

An email from Ritual
Source: Really Good Emails

The greatest — and winning — feature of this email is the pill breakdown illustration. This colorful and imaginative graphic shows the vitamin contents creatively yet clearly to the reader. The combination of yellow and dark blue ties the email together and makes it even better.

Take a look at the runner-up emails in the slider. The competition was tough!

An email from Sublimio
Source: Email Love
An email from Shinola Detroit
Source: Email Love
An email from Pattern Brands
Source: Email Love
An email from Tattly
Source: Email Love
An email from I Dew Care
Source: MailCharts
An email from Recess
Source: Rejoiner
An email from Harry’s
Source: Milled
An email from Casper
Source: Milled

Like what you saw? We have even more in our Inspiration section, come inside to take a look. Holidays, seasons, occasions, industries – we have it all.

You can also subscribe to our email marketing digest. It’s issued every other week and contains nothing but the best and most useful articles from our blog, some thoughts and inspo too. Join us!

14 March, 2023
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