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The Academy Awards of Email: 6 Oscar-worthy campaigns

It’s that time again: The 88th annual Academy Awards are this weekend! So in honor of all the accolades, we thought we’d get in on the action ourselves – only instead of starlets and cinematographers, we’re honoring some of the very best email marketers in the biz.

After lots of deliberation, heated arguments and backroom wheeling and dealing, these are our picks. And the winners are…

Best Subject Lines: Bootprints

These guys won us over with “3 great places for axe murders,” but they continue to nail it again and again with absurd, can’t-help-but-click subject lines. Other hits include “Do some shrooms in Cabin 2” (about adult summer camps) and “Grease up and go for it” (about natural water slides). No, not every brand can get away with this kind of subject line, but every brand should know their audience and what their subscribers expect from them. It’s something Bootprints obviously understands really well, which allows them to "grease up and go for it" every time they send.

Funniest Copy: Shinesty

Whoever writes the copy for this brand’s emails truly deserves a trophy, because each and every time we open one of their emails, we end up laughing out loud. Shinesty has a very distinct sense of humor that works perfectly for their goofy brand and are living proof that great copy (not just design!) can make an email. It’s a testament to developing a unique voice and letting it shine.

Most Creative Welcome Email: The Hustle

The Hustle is an email newsletter for savvy forward thinkers interested in business, design, and tech. As a brand with email at the center, of course they know what they’re doing – but we couldn’t help but be impressed with their welcome email. It fires off immediately after sign up, tells you what to expect, is written with sharing in mind... and all of that remains incredibly compelling on a plain, black-and-white, entirely text-based design (not easy to do). It stands out and leaves an impression – two things you definitely want to do when introducing your brand to new subscribers.

Most Innovative Use of GIFs: Kitchen Kaboodle

Lots of brands are using GIFs in their email campaigns these days, but Kitchen Kaboodle has taken the whole GIF thing to the extreme: Rather than a simple design element, the brand utilizes GIFs to show off their kitchen gadgets. In this one, for instance, the GIF functions almost like one of those Tasty videos on Facebook, taking you through each step of the popcorn machine. It’s a super cool trick we haven’t seen used by anyone else.

Best in B2B: Wistia

It’s more difficult than you’d think to find B2B brands that are really doing email right, but Wistia absolutely kills it with each send. Their emails that include video tend to be our favorites (unsurprising, since that’s their focus), but they also do a great job promoting blog posts, events, and more. Over and over again, they show that the best practices often found in the B2C world can just as easily be applied in the B2B space. Awesome job!

Best Automated Series: Blueprint Registry

Blueprint Registry always sends clean, modern, beautiful email, but their automated welcome series is especially on-point. The pacing (a send every 3-4 days), inclusion of valuable content, and smart use of numbered lists all help the brand set up a great relationship with new subscribers from the start. And even after the series ends, they keep nurturing those same subscribers with personalized, relevant content based on their individual interests and preferences. Their campaigns provide, well… the blueprint for a smart email strategy.