Learn From The Best Advertisements

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Brittany Rohr

Founder and CEO

There are many different types of commercials, as you might expect, and they all have distinct objectives for their businesses and are distributed through various channels and media. Advertising is available everywhere, so what works best today may not work best tomorrow.

Advertisement Types

From earliest to latest, these are four virtual instances of advertising from the last few centuries.

1. Advertising in Print

As per Infolinks, the first print advertisement appeared in England in 1472. Since that time, this form of advertising has been made available via publications, including newspapers, magazines, brochures, billboards, and flyers, as well as other similarly portable means of communicating a brand’s message to its ideal target audience. In this advertising strategy, the advertiser pays the publisher to include their advertisement in the magazine.

2. Radio Promotion

When the first American commercial radio stations debuted in 1920, radio advertising had already begun. However, a new product or sponsored event can now reach a wider audience by using radio as a marketing and advertising medium. In this type of advertising, the advertiser pays the radio station to play their commercial during predetermined pauses in the music or radio program.

3. Television Commercials

The first television commercials were produced in the 1940s to promote useful products and political causes. Today, advertisers can utilize television to advertise goods and services to local T.V. stations as well as to national broadcast networks. This advertising strategy involves paying a regional or national T.V. network to air the advertiser’s commercials during pre-selected pauses in the network’s normal programming.

4. Online Marketing

With the introduction of “banner” advertisements for various telecommunications firms, internet advertising gained traction in the middle of the 1990s. On a website, these advertisements are positioned in interstitial spaces. This advertising strategy involves paying the website owner to display the advertiser’s ads in open areas that are not directly related to the website’s content. Video, search engine marketing, paid social media posts, and other forms of online advertising have emerged.

However, as you are aware, each of the aforementioned forms of advertising has significantly changed since its inception. Messages that were originally somewhat one-dimensional now have smart, humorous, or meaningful undertones that make the advertisements remember years after they were first shown.

So how can you develop an effective advertising strategy?

The advertisements and campaigns we can learn from are the focus of this blog post.

First, though, a crucial distinction: This was a Publicity Campaign

A collection of advertisements with a common tone or theme is known as an advertising campaign. A campaign has an advantage over a standalone advertisement in that it may spread the same message on a wider range of platforms and for a longer period of time without boring or tiring the audience.

The Greatest Advertising Campaigns Ever (And What Made Them Successful)

Here they are without further ado, in no particular order: The top 18 commercials of all time and the things we can take away from them.

Nike: Just Do It.

Print, television, and online advertisements

Did you know that Nike’s merchandise was virtually entirely targeted at marathon runners? Then a fitness trend started, and Nike’s marketing team realized they needed to capitalize on it to beat out their primary rival, Reebok. (At the time, Reebok outsold Nike in terms of shoe sales.) Thus, Nike developed the “Just Do It.” campaign in the late 1980s.

It was popular.

Nike’s sales were $800 million in 1988; which by then they had surpassed $9.2 billion. Even today, people still feel those same feelings when they exercise and hear the song “Just Do It .” Would you rather not run five miles? Simply do it. Want to avoid climbing four flights of stairs? Simply do it. We can all identify with the motto, “The drive to push ourselves beyond our boundaries.”

What can you learn from this?

What problem are you resolving for your customers while determining the best manner to showcase your brand? What kind of resolution does your good or service offer? You will be able to connect with customers on an emotional level that is challenging to ignore if you address that fundamental problem in all of your messaging.

Coke’s “Share a Coke” advertising campaign. the Coca-Cola advertisement in print


Being so massive makes it difficult for big brands to achieve anything groundbreaking. So what, then did Coca-Cola do to win over the general public? They made a unique appeal by including people’s names on each bottle.

Coca-Cola took the leap and customized each of their bottles with the 150 most popular names in Australia to launch the Share a Coke campaign. Even the United States has imitated this practice. On Coke’s website, you can even order customized bottles and request personal or branded things like nicknames and college emblems. It has started a trend that many other brands have copied over and over again!

From all of us marketing professionals…it was a breaking story of admiring a fantastic campaign idea. While some consumers found it charming, others found it perplexing—why make a transient thing so personal? Even Pepsi launched counter-ads soon after the campaign began.

Nevertheless, Coke gained tons of traction!

Regular customers of Lesson Coke, the corporation relies heavily on that sense of personal ownership. Even if it isn’t your name, the vending machine urges you to “share a Coke” with whoever’s name is on the front. The anticipation of not knowing what name you’ll get out of it is a pleasant thrill in and of itself.

Absolut Vodka: The Ad Campaign for the Absolut Bottle: Print

Absolut made its bottle the most recognizable vodka bottle in the world despite having no particular shape. Because of the campaign’s popularity, they continued to run print advertising featuring bottles “in the wild” for another 25 years. More than 1,500 different adverts make up the longest continuous advertising campaign ever. So, if something isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

Absolut’s market share of vodka was a pitiful 2.5% when the campaign began. Nevertheless, Absolut brought in 4.5 million cases annually, or half of all imported vodka in the United States, before it ended in the late 2000s.

What can you learn from this?

No matter how uninteresting your product may appear to be, you may still make an engaging story about it. Again, Absolut produced 1500 adverts featuring a single bottle. Be tenacious and similarly differentiate your product.

Whassup, Anheuser-Busch (1999)

Advertisement: Television

When can you remember a commercial changing the way we communicated with one another? Let me respond to that query with another one: “Whassup?”

We don’t make group phone calls very often these days, do we? But, in this series of commercials, which debuted in late 1999, a group of pals are seen conversing over beer and “watching the game” on TV.

It is softly asked, “What are you doing?” Someone queries. Someone responds, “Watching the game, having a Bud” (a Budweiser). The laughter increases as more people answer the phone. “WHASSUP!” is yelled back and forth, establishing a catchphrase and an emblem of beer-drinking culture that was frequently broadcast on sports networks over the following few years.

What can you learn from this?

During the 2000 Super Bowl, the advertisement swept pop culture by storm, and its effects may still be felt today. Why? Anheuser-Busch demonstrated how informal and stupid an advertisement can be without offending anyone or being off-brand. Celebrate the eccentricities of your audience. Your goods are worth more the more sincere your advertisement is.

Miller Lite: Delicious, Not as Filling (1974)

T.V. and print advertisements

Do you believe developing a brand-new market for your product is simple? The Miller Brewing Company (now MillerCoors) successfully conquered the market for light beers. The “Great Taste, Less Filling” campaign aimed to change the perception that light beer can never taste good in order to persuade “real guys” to consume it.

Miller addressed the argument head-on by showcasing men sipping their light beer and praising its flavor.

What can you learn from this?

Miller Lite dominated the light beer industry it had virtually created for decades after this advertisement ran. What can marketers take away from this? Attempt to stand out. Create your own category if someone tells you there isn’t room for your goods, so you may take the lead right away.

Constantly: #LikeaGirl (2015)

Internet and television advertisements

Even as I type this, my eyes are still wet.

This commercial for the Always brand was a home run for the company, not because it went viral after airing during the 2015 Super Bowl, but rather because it delivered a ground-breaking message that hundreds of millions of people continued to recite years after the campaign ended.

The campaign started as a television ad outlining the stigma associated with participating in sports “like a lady,” which implied that the boy’s method was superior or right. By the end of the commercial, the message is succinct and motivating: Girls are just as physically fit and capable as boys are, especially during puberty, a period of life that Always and its women’s products place great importance on.

The hashtag is still used today on social media, and the message is now a comprehensive initiative by Always that you can read more about here.

What can you learn from this?

Recognize your audience and the difficulties they encounter, particularly those that relate to your era or society. Marketers and advertisers are not forbidden from discussing all societal issues. Take a stance on issues that you are confident your audience will support, and you’ll have access to a clientele that shares your enthusiasm.

Marketing and advertising experts frequently refer to Volkswagen’s “Think Small” advertising campaign as the industry standard. The goal of the 1960 campaign, which was developed by the venerable advertising agency Doyle Dane & Bernbach (DDB), was to influence peoples’ impressions of both a product and an entire population.

See, Americans have always tended to buy large American automobiles, and even 15 years after the end of World War II, the majority of Americans were still not purchasing small German automobiles. What then accomplished this Volkswagen advertisement? It perfectly met the expectations of the crowd. Do you believe I am small? I am, indeed. They never made an effort to change who they were.

What can you learn from this?

The most crucial lesson from this campaign is to avoid trying to pass off your business, item, or service as something it isn’t. Honesty is valued and recognized by customers.

Google: The Past Year in Search (2017)

Advertisement: Internet

Although this advertising isn’t the oldest or most well-known on our list, throughout the course of its nine-year existence (and continued existence), it has grown to be the most effective. You don’t even realize it’s an advertisement since it’s so moving and truthful.

Year in Search was first published in 2009 as “Zeitgeist,” a written analysis of the most popular Google queries made by users in the previous 12 months. Google modified it for a three-minute video the following year. Since then, it has served as a provocative annual reminder of how much we rely on Google to provide us with news and information on events that cause the entire globe to halt. View the most recent company video from 2017 up top.

What can you learn from this?

Remind your clients how much you value their loyalty. No matter what Google products a person may prefer, these stories eventually bring people together by conveying the positive message that how we use the firm represents the best aspects of all of us.

Dos Equis: The World’s Most Interesting Man (2006)

Pre-roll television commercial for “The Most Interesting Man in the World”

You recognize him. He enjoys drinking Dos Equis beer, smoking Cuban cigars, and being surrounded by gorgeous women.

Making an indulgent vice cool is a crucial part of a successful marketing campaign for it, whether it’s for luxury goods, alcohol, or desserts. He’s also one of the coolest commercial men there is when it comes to The Most Interesting Man in the World.

And he concludes each advertisement by saying: “I don’t drink beer all the time, but when I do, I like Dos Equis. Keep hydrated, my buddies.”

What can you learn from this?

The campaign’s amusing use of hyperbole ensures that viewers will remember it the next time they go beer shopping. The Most Interesting Man has permanently immortalized in meme culture and in liquor stores thanks to this succinct, charming, and memorable tagline—as well as the cool dude vibe it evokes in viewers—even if Dos Equis recently replaced him with a new actor.

Got Milk? – California Milk Processor Board (1993)

Milk sales in California increased by 7% in a single year due to the California Milk Processor Board’s “Got Milk?” campaign. However, the effects went beyond state lines, and you still can’t get away from the countless “Got [Fill in the Blank]?” parodies.

However, it should be noted that the advertisement targeted existing milk drinkers rather than those who did not.

What can you learn from this?

It’s not always about attracting new customers to utilize your goods or services; sometimes the goal is to increase the value and frequency with which your current clientele uses them. Use marketing and advertising content to persuade your audience to keep utilizing the goods or services you are already offering for them.

Metro Trains: Insane Ways to Pass Away (2012)

Radio and Internet Ad Campaign

Dumb Ways to Die, you read it correctly.

No horsing around near train tracks, Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia, intended to convey. Disorderly behavior could result in harm or even death. Still, instead of the usual announcements or warning signs found in train stations, Metro Trains created the song Dumb Ways to Die, which has had 157 million views on YouTube since its release in 2012.

The song talks about stupid ways to pass away, like poking a grizzly bear with a stick or taking off your spacesuit, and it has a catchy chorus that you can’t help but hum to yourself (even though singing it is a touch morbid): There are so many stupid ways to die.

The video’s lesson is revealed in the conclusion after you’ve seen the cutest cartoon creatures perish in the silliest of ways. There are numerous stupid ways to pass away, but the most stupid ones include:

  • Trying to cross a train track.
  • Driving through a railroad sign.
  • Passing out on the edge of a train platform.

The music was made available on iTunes, the YouTube commercial went viral, and an advertisement for it was played on the radio.

What can you learn from this?

With this wonderful, now-famous campaign, a straightforward topic is communicated in a unique and memorable style, and you won’t feel as nagged as you may with other PSAs. However, if your subject is depressing or tedious, you might consider employing creativity to convey your point.

Apple: Get a Mac (2006) Television Ad Campaign

Although there have been many outstanding Apple campaigns, this one wins hands down. The Mac vs. P.C. debate turned out to be one of Apple’s most successful campaigns ever, and the film above is only one of many variations of this campaign. With its assistance, the company saw a 42% increase in market share in its first year. These advertisements cleverly and covertly inform Mac’s audience with all the information they require to understand the product.

What can you learn from this?

You don’t have to force your product on your audience just because it accomplishes some wonderful things. Instead, use familiar language to describe the advantages of your product so that customers can picture themselves using it.

Clairol: Does She Exist or Not? (1957)

When Clairol initially posed this query in 1957, the response ranged from 1 to 15, meaning that only 1 in 15 people used artificial hair color. TIME Magazine reports that the response was 1 of 2 just 11 years later. According to reports, the advertisement was so effective that several states no longer require women to list their hair color on their driver’s licenses. You know your advertisement has hit a chord when it begins to alter procedures at the DMV.

Contrary to what most marketers would do, Clairol didn’t want every woman on the street blabbing about using their product. Instead, women were to know that their product was so effective that no one could tell if they were using it.

What can you learn from this?

Consumers may sometimes be satisfied with simply explaining how and why your product functions. However, telling no longer works as well as showing.

A Diamond is Forever by De Beers (1999)

De Beers’ “A Diamond is Forever” was named the most memorable catchphrase of the 20th century by AdAge in 1999. However, the campaign wasn’t simply riding on the coattails of an already-existing industry when it offered (pun very much intended) the notion that no marriage would be complete without a diamond ring. Instead, de Beers created the industry by promoting the notion that a diamond ring was an essential luxury.

To “create a situation where practically every person vowing marriage feels obligated to obtain a diamond engagement ring,” was N.W. Ayer’s strategy, according to the New York Times.

Takeaway Advertising can make a reasonably priced product seem pricey and necessary.

Old Spice (2010) Internet and Television Ad Campaign: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

The following advertisement served as the first component of Wieden + Kennedy’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign for Old Spice, which was introduced in February 2010. It nearly overnight became a viral hit:

As of this writing, that video has received over 51 million views. In addition, a second advertisement for Old Spice starring the same actor, Isaiah Mustafa, was released in June 2010 after several months. With an interactive video campaign where Mustafa reacted to followers’ comments on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms with brief, personalized movies, Wieden + Kennedy capitalized on Mustafa’s swift rise to the moniker “Old Spice Guy.”

The business produced 186 individualized, scripted, and amusing video responses with Mustafa responding to fans online in just a couple of days. These videos received almost 11 million views, and Old Spice added 29,000 Facebook likes and 58,000 Twitter followers as a result, according to Inc.

According to Jason Bagley, creative director at Wieden + Kennedy and a writer for the campaign, “We were generating and sending back small T.V. spots that were individualized, and we were doing it on a rapid-fire basis.” “Nobody anticipates asking a question and then receiving an answer. That, in my opinion, is where we made progress.”

What can you learn from this?

If you see that your campaign has acquired traction with your fans and followers, make every effort to maintain their interest while remaining true to your brand’s voice and image in all of your messaging.

Where’s the Beef at Wendy’s? (1984)

Advertisement campaign: print & TV

Is it sufficient to claim that the campaign was successful because it had a huge hamburger bun and a sweet group of elderly women? No? I didn’t believe that.

In this marketing campaign, Wendy’s used a more audacious strategy: it specifically targeted its rivals. Where’s the beef? It was a catchphrase that was used to criticize competitors’ burgers for lacking beef. It gradually came to represent everything that their audience’s lives were lacking.

Wendy’s (wisely) didn’t over-promote their hit phrase, even though it’s impossible to foresee when a catchphrase will become popular and when it won’t. As a result, the campaign barely lasted a year, giving it time to gradually finish its work.

What can you learn from this?

Be cautious about the successes and failures of your marketing. Just because you find something effective doesn’t imply you should keep using it until it becomes stale. If you let your business develop and change, you might discover that trying something new in the future will help it succeed even more.

Thank You, Mom, by Procter & Gamble (2012)

Advertisement: Television

After that, I’ll give you a moment to wipe your eyes.

Seriously, you wouldn’t anticipate a commercial for a manufacturer of home and cleaning supplies to evoke such strong emotions, would you? However, Procter & Gamble (P&G) has just released some of the best advertisements from the consumer goods sector that we have ever seen.

That’s because P&G discovered the narrative that lies underneath the story of Olympic athletes: the narratives of the encouraging mothers who encouraged these elite athletes throughout their entire lives in the run-up to their moment of glory. They undoubtedly had to perform a lot of laundry and cleaning along the route, using P&G products most likely.

What can you learn from this?

Make your viewers sob (just kidding). Your advertisement’s season or duration is crucial. However, even if you run an advertisement like P&G did during the Olympic Games, make sure it has a lasting impact and a message that can persuade viewers regardless of where or when they see it.

If there is a larger, more universal tale behind your product or story, tap into it and put it front and center since emotional and nostalgia marketing are effective strategies to influence people’s purchasing decisions.

Advertisement: Print KFC-fck-ad-2018

The advertisement in the image above is more than simply a KFC bucket with the letters scrawled on it. Additionally, it’s not a typical, unprompted advertisement for fried chicken.

This apology advertisement is one of the best of all time.

In February 2018, the chicken ran out at KFC’s U.K. locations. Yes, you read correctly: A poultry company ran out of chicken. When a firm encounters the most ironic P.R. crisis in company history, which doesn’t happen often, all eyes are on the company’s answer. So we’re glad to inform that KFC landed successfully.

KFC used a full-page advertisement in the U.K. daily Metro to address a product scarcity. With the aid of the creative agency Mother London, the fast food chain rearranged its three well-known initials to produce an explicit yet amusing answer. The advertisement shows a bucket of KFC with the letters “FCK” on it, as if to say, “FCK, this is embarrassing.” (You can add the letter that’s missing.)

Underneath this design, the corporation continues to express regret for what it understands is an outrageous, if not mildly amusing, disaster.

What can you learn from this?

No company is beyond expressing an honest apology. And it will only get better if you can laugh at yourself while doing it. The KFC commercial shows how to successfully incorporate class, humor, humility, and company pride into a message that can help you recover from negative publicity and even end up with a net-positive outcome for your brand.

Start considering your brand identity, brand story, and the elements that matter most to your target client in light of these advertisements. This is the cornerstone of a successful marketing plan.

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