Not so long ago, our only source of entertainment and information used to be a handful of TV channels, Radio and newspapers. Compared to today’s world, the avenues were limited, but advertisers’ creativity wasn’t. Great marketing campaigns have been around for many years.
In today’s data driven world, the medium has changed, but the necessity to attract and retain attention, drive a sale, and shift people’s impression of a brand or company is alive and well.
Creating iconic marketing campaigns today might mean going viral, but the essential elements of excellent marketing haven’t changed haven’t really changed as much as you might imagine.
The Best Marketing Campaigns of All Time
Through the years, the world has seen some incredibly creative and exciting marketing campaigns. Although not every attempt has performed well, there are some that ended up being so successful that they are still going on. Here are some of the very best marketing campaigns of all time (It’s a subjective list so apologies in advance if we missed including your favourite marketing campaign in the list).
Nike: Just Do It
It was the year 1988, Nike was a big company, but not even close to the behemoth that it is today. The company’s annual sales were just worth $800 million. That was before the launch of the legendary “Just Do It” campaign. Within 10 years of the launch, Nike’s sales value crossed $2 billion and over 30 years later, Just Do It works just as well as it did in 1988.
The International House of Pancakes had everyone shocked when it talked about a perceived change of focus towards burgers through its ads. It never happened for real but the ads generated an insane amount of buzz on social media.
Absolut Vodka: The Bottle Campaign
This print campaign began in 1980 and made the Absolut bottle the foremost recognized bottle within the world. The incredible campaign ran for 25 years straight and had 1,500 ads.
At the time of the campaign’s launch, Absolut’s market share was only 2.5 percent. By the time it ended, the corporation was importing 4.5 million cases a year, which made up half the vodka market!
Marlboro: The Marlboro Man
The Marlboro man ads started in 1995, and they were one among the foremost powerful, and hated, marketing campaigns of the 20th century.
The campaign showcased the “can do spirit of the American cowboy” and took Marlboro to the top of the list of the highest selling cigarette brands in the world.
Red Bull: Stratos
The Red Bull Stratos campaign is an example of selling for the fashionable age!
Skydiver Felix Baumgartner flew 24 miles up from the surface of the earth, right at the edge of space over New Mexico and jumped from a weather balloon. Baumgartner was in free fall for an unbelievable six minutes. He eventually deployed his parachute and landed safely on earth. This publicity stunt was one of the most live streamed events in the history of the Internet.
Dos Equis: the Most Interesting Man within the World
Until this campaign started in 2006, beer advertising was about drinking the proper beer to urge attractive women to love you (Beer Goggles). The Most Interesting Man in the World made Dos Equis the beer for the gentleman.
The ending – “I don’t always drink beer, but once I do, I prefer Dos Equis” – brought the message home.
Progressive Insurance: Flo
The traditional approach to advertising insurance was far from creative or interesting. Until 2008, that is.
Progressive introduced the planet to “Flo.” After over 100 commercials, she’s achieved cult status and altered the way insurance is marketed forever.
Apple: Get a Mac
This has to be one of the best brand development campaigns of all time. The Mac vs PC campaign ran between 2006 and 2009 and had a total of 66 memorable spots. This ad went a long way in building the Mac brand to what it is today. It was funny, powerful, yet simple.
Pepsi: Is Pepsi OK?
One of the best ads of Super Bowl 2019 (New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams), this pepsi ad featured Cardi B, Lil’ John and Steve Carrell in a memorable role. Hopefully no one will ask if Pepsi is ok or not from now on.
California Milk Processor Board: Got Milk?
Got Milk? is one of the most identified worldwide marketing campaigns EVER. Between 1993 and 1994, consumption increased seven percent by 13.5 million gallons.
The first ad appeared in 1993 and was recently retired after 25 years.
Kay Jewelers: Every Kiss Begins with Kay
The impact of this ad has been so profound that today, everyone knows that “a kiss begins with Kay”.
Kay Jewelers definitely found an honest slogan back in 1985. The line is incredibly popular and sometimes quoted when referencing diamonds generally .
Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty
In 2004, Unilever’s research found that only four percent of girls considered themselves beautiful. Unilever went to work with marketing giants Oglivy and Mather and launched its campaign for Real Beauty. It exploded. Talk shows, women’s magazines, and television news began discussing modern female beauty standards. The campaign went on to feature viral videos, commercials and print ads which were focused at changing the society’s outlook towards beauty.
Chipotle: Back to the Start
Originally conceived as an introductory video for their loyalty program, the “Back to the Start” campaign made a huge splash!
The reaction was so overwhelming that it became the chain’s first national spot. The full two-minute video ran during the 2012 Grammy Awards and ushered in the “branded-content” era.
Apple: 1984 Super Bowl Ad
This ad, a groundbreaking introduction to Apple, is the brand’s most famous commercial, and it aired only one time, during the 1984 Super Bowl.
It brilliantly introduced the world to Apple Computers.
Beer brands have been using humor forever. But few have accomplished what Budweiser did with a single word, Wassup?
The famous campaign ad was broadcast for the first time in the year 1999. It only ran for two short years, but it became the most memed ad of the early 21st century.
American Legacy: Truth
What the Marlboro Man did for cigarettes back within the ’90s, the American Legacy “Truth” campaign is undoing 25 years later. The concept is to push back against the lies of big tobacco firms, and it’s working.
Smoking rates in the U.S. are at rock bottom levels in history, thanks partially to the present American Legacy campaign!
Old Spice: The Man Your Man Can Smell Like
This campaign debuted in 2010, as sales for Old Spice were declining. Old Spice determined that the path to growth lay with women.
This simple, funny campaign sold directly to women. It was a success and the star Isaiah Mustafa took it to social media. The company rolled out 186 video responses that gained 11 million views on social media, taking the campaign viral.
Avis: We Try Harder
Appearing for the first time in 1963, this campaign was the most incredible thing in the advertising world. Pointing out that they had to work much harder harder because they were number two, Avis wasn’t number two for long!
This classic campaign moved from print to TV, radio, and eventually to the internet.
BMW: The Hire
In 2001 and 2002, BMW created a classic online campaign that leveraged the facility of the web like no brand had before. The BMW films series was made up of eight short films made by the world’s leading filmmakers and featured famous actors like Don Cheadle and Mickey Rourke.
Bud Light: Dilly Dilly!
Bud Light might not have realized what was about to happen once they launched this campaign in 2017.
Featuring a medieval era set, the commercial quickly became viral and had customers cheering “dilly dilly” for a short time. It boosted beer sales substantially for the brand.
The Mayhem series of ads was launched in 2010. Since then, fans have loved watching Mayhem unleash a slew of troubles on Allstate customers. The ads elucidate the point of a disaster ruining your day in a hilarious way.
Twix: It’s Time to DeSIDE
Twix renewed its appeal by creating a division among candy fans with a debate over which Twix is that the better one: left or right?
The campaign evolved over time with the company creating a new product of “all lefts” and “all rights.” Whether that’s actually in the wrapper or not is also up for debate, but it did its job and brought Twix back to the top of the mind of consumers.
Aerie’s campaign to promote body positivity and celebrate women uniquely as they are has been a huge success for them.
With inspiring celebrity role models, the retail company is more focused on demolishing unrealistic beauty standards than pumping out sales. But they seem to be doing both just fine.
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Target recently started a new social media campaign with some of the top influencers in the game right now.
The superstore has expanded its catalog on the way to becoming an all in one shop. The partnership with influencers has helped build brand awareness.
Coca-Cola: Share a Coke
Since its inception in 2014, the campaign has grown remarkably well. Customers have the option of buying Coke bottles with their names printed on them. the ads are endearing too.
Got a unique name? You can go browsing and order a custom case for yourself.
What Is a Marketing Campaign?
Marketing campaigns are a business’ strategic efforts toward promoting a specific company goal.
They’re meant to appeal to customers through a mixture of media platforms and influence either their perception of the brand or entice them to make a purchase.
A marketing campaign has many layers to it. Composed of design elements, like CTAs and landing pages, and sales focuses, like forms and email marketing strategies, all aspects of a great campaign work together to form this singular, original idea.
Advertising plays in as well since you have to get the message out there somehow.
Why Are Marketing Campaigns So Important?
Marketing campaigns contribute a lot toward a company’s bigger picture. Even though they can vary in size and scope, they all typically deliver the same benefits when executed well.
Marketing Campaigns Boost Brand Awareness
No matter what medium you advertise your message through, you’re exposing your audience to your brand. People will become increasingly well versed with your company and your products.
If you experience an increase in your sales volume and the customers start loving your products, they are bound to share it with their friends, family and colleagues. This will lead to a stark increase in your brand’s recognition.
A good campaign gets people talking. As long as they’re saying good stuff, your campaign efforts will be rewarded well.
Marketing Campaigns are Budget Friendly
Unless you’re planning on featuring a replacement commercial on the Yankee stadium jumbotron, then you’ll keep the expenses of your campaign relatively low.
The digital assets needed to create your messaging are often integrated across campaigns and shared over channels. This helps you save the money that you might have spent on content and graphics to pull new customers in the fold.
Marketing Campaigns Attract New Customers
A great marketing campaign that engages leads across different platforms will definitely get a lot of positive attention. It’s easy to forget one commercial that you saw out of the corner of your eye while washing dishes. But if you see another ad from the same campaign while scrolling through your Instagram feed, then you might end up recognizing the brand.
If you’re exposed one more time and the product actually has some value or interest to you, you just may be tempted to see what all the hype is about.
Next thing you recognize, you’ll be buying something from that brand.
With online marketing, you now have access to a much larger pool of customers that you wouldn’t normally be able to reach, and the right campaign will draw them in.
How to run a successful marketing campaign
The perks of outreach and new leads all sound well and good, but planning and launching a successful campaign isn’t just a fast snap of your fingers. It’s not extremely difficult either.
There are some pretty simple steps that act as a guide for executing a marketing campaign that has the potential to yield exciting results for your business.
Define Your Objectives and Goals
Following this step from the get go will help align your efforts and bring all your teams on the same page. Objectives will also give you a means to assess your campaign’s effectiveness after it’s launched.
Set a Budget
Some campaigns are larger than life and it can be inspirational to try and meet the challenge. But you can easily expend more resources than your business can handle. Setting a budget helps you plan wisely while still meeting your goals.
Define Who Your Target Audience Is
Who is your ideal customer?
Marketing campaigns are often introduced to a spread of demographics, but not everyone is going to be curious about your product or services. Identifying your intended audience will assist you with targeting your content and attract leads who will actually convert into customers.
Create and Design Your Marketing Content
This is the fun part. It requires all of the acceptable teams to figure in tandem, crafting engaging content that will help strengthen and define your brand and generate new business leads.
Choose What Channels and Mediums you’ll Run Your Campaign On
Keeping your budget in mind, do research on what channels your audience regularly uses. Certain mediums have more influence over specific demographics than others.
Look into what’s going on, in order to have a better ROI for your campaign so that you’re maximizing your efforts.
Launch the Campaign, and Keep a Close Eye on Metrics
Monitor the appropriate KPIs for your benchmarks and the intended goal of your campaign. Perform reporting regularly so that you can have true insight on its progress and performance.
Get pointers for future campaigns by analyzing the results
At the top of it all, you ought to have solid numbers which will indicate what worked and what didn’t. No matter whether your campaign went viral or flopped terribly, there should be some actionable takeaways that you can take and apply to future campaigns.