Advertising has been around for years, and we have to admit that it has evolved considerably over the years. Our attention is generally drawn to a great advertising campaign. It brings people to a dealership, makes them pick up the phone, or even directs them to their competitors’ websites.
A strong advertisement can penetrate the culture and stay relevant for a long time. It should convey the brand’s voice and identity as well as its ethos. Creating a deep connection between brand and consumer is the essence of creative work. In addition to being an effective marketing tool, it is also an important communication tool.
An effective marketing campaign aims to evoke emotion in the intended audience and get them to buy the product. Over time, ads went from print to radio to TV, and they became more sophisticated.
In the decades since, it has become an online marketing tool and is now even considered a “techie” website component. Advertisements that are memorable and profitable contain universal truths and themes that endure even after they are initially broadcast.
Ads that are most memorable use the specific characteristics of advertising to convey their message clearly and effectively. The world’s most recognizable brands are characterized by commercials that are instantly recognizable by both young and old. Let’s review some of the most powerful and influential advertisements ever produced.
- 1. Share a Coke:
- 2. Real Beauty:
- 3. Find Your Greatness:
- 4. Invisible Car:
- 5. Christmas Miracle:
- 6. Thank you, Mom:
- 7. Man Your Man Could Smell Like:
- 8. Like a Girl:
- 9. Whassup:
- 10. Think Small:
- 11. Have You Had Your Break Today:
- 12. Gimme a Break:
- 13. Got Milk?:
- 14. Think Different:
- 15. Don’t Leave Home Without It:
- 16. A Diamond Is Forever:
- 17. Terry Tate, Office Linebacker:
- 18. Bear:
- 19. Hungry Betty White:
- 20. Dumb Ways to Die:
- 21. Back to the Start:
- 22. Paper:
- 23. Bear And The Hare:
- 24. Kenya Bucket List:
- 25. A Boy and His Dog Duck:
- 26. Unsung Hero:
- 27. Hey Kid, Catch!:
- 28. When I Grow Up:
- 29. Happy Moving Day:
- 30. Happy Diwali:
Coca-Cola launched the Share a Coke campaign in 2013 and 2014. A few of the most popular names were replaced with their original logo, which was then printed on the Coca-Cola label.
The idea behind the campaign was to encourage people to share a Coke with someone they like. The aim was to create a closer relationship with consumers and to inspire “shared moments of happiness“.
2. Real Beauty:
With the launch of Dove’s “Real Beauty Campaign” in 2004, the company changed its marketing strategy and introduced the concept of portraying “Real Women” in its advertisements.
The project aimed to change society’s perception of beauty by subverting traditional beauty representations and presenting images of realistic-looking women instead. It was developed to promote self-esteem and fight against peer pressure and unrealistic ideals of beauty espoused by pop culture.
3. Find Your Greatness:
Nike released an advertisement called “Find Your Greatness” during the London Olympics opening ceremony in 2012. To create awareness and encourage young people to become involved in sports, this campaign seeks to evoke a sense of motivation in consumers.
Throughout the campaign videos, non-athletes were featured to demonstrate that anyone can be great, regardless of their physical limitations.
4. Invisible Car:
Mercedes-Benz created a commercial promoting its hydrogen-powered F-CELL eight years ago. Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity to power the F-Cell cars of the future, which can reduce carbon emissions almost to zero.
It was designed to capture consumers’ attention and draw attention to cars that don’t negatively impact the environment, using a camera and LED stunt mounted on the left side of the car. This makes the car appear invisible as the light is perfectly refracting what is behind the car.
5. Christmas Miracle:
During the Christmas holiday, WestJet is one of Canada’s favorite airlines. They surprised unsuspecting travelers by delivering personalized gifts to guests at Calgary airport as part of a true “Christmas Miracle.”
In days, WestJet’s video holiday ad became one of the top five most-shared viral ads globally and became the most shared viral ad in Canada in 2013. The video shows how a realistic and imaginative representation of Christmas will touch people’s hearts, spreading goodwill near and far.
6. Thank you, Mom:
Cincinnati, Ohio, has been the home of P&G since 1919. Iams, Bounty, and Olay are among their products.
The goal was to make all women around the world feel proud to be mothers. In their commercials, they used athletes from different countries. The image of the mother’s love in these commercials touches each person’s heart, recalling their own experience. Their target market is women, especially moms.
7. Man Your Man Could Smell Like:
“Smell like a man, man” is a campaign slogan used by Wieden+Kennedy as part of their Old Spice marketing campaign.
The company entered a campaign in February 2010 to develop a new marketing approach for its line of male grooming products to counter perceptions that such products appeal only to women. Humorous monologues about manliness were delivered throughout their commercials.
8. Like a Girl:
In 2014, this campaign was launched to make sure girls all over the globe maintain their self-confidence through sports and to prove the phrase “like a girl” is not an insult but a celebration of strength and determination.
It is a campaign that celebrates the strength and courage it takes to be a girl and one that shows just how strong and resilient girls are.
Whassup?!’’ is a signature phrase of the Budweiser campaign aired in 1999-2000 to advertise the Budweiser brand of beer. With almost double the sales of the leading beer, Coors Light, it is among the largest domestic brands in America.
Charles Stone III wrote and directed the commercials. The original spot, entitled ‘Whassup True,’ featured four male friends calling each other and greeting each other with the slang phrase ”Whassup?!” in a fun way.
10. Think Small:
In 1959, the Volkswagen Beetle automobile manufacturer introduced the advertising slogan “Think Small“. Advertising firm Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB) was trying to market a small, economical foreign car to American motorists.
Its quirky, witty print ads featured an oversized picture of the car parked in front of a normal-sized one. The copy read, “Think small,” and ended with the question, “What does it take to buy a small car these days?”
11. Have You Had Your Break Today:
McDonald’s rephrased their previous slogan: “You Deserve a Break Today” in 1995 with a simple question: “Have you had your break today?”. The main idea of this campaign was to give mothers a break from cooking at home.
They wanted Moms to relax and feel good about their family being taken care of, even just for one meal. It was all about giving “her” a break. So grabbing a McDonald’s deal was the best option. It could be a place for people to escape and enjoy some time off with their families.
12. Gimme a Break:
A popular Kit Kat jingle is “Gimme a Break“. It is a variation of Kit Kat’s 1957 slogan, “Have a Break … Have a Kit Kat.
The concept was presented in a series of commercials that were both entertaining and effective, in which people sang as they worked while cracking pieces of chocolate bars. This was a simple concept of associating the need for a break from a long day.
13. Got Milk?:
In 1993, 850 dairies and 7,500 dairy farmers, together with California Milk Processor Board and Goodby Silverstein & Partners, developed an advertising campaign that aimed to increase Americans’ milk consumption.
During the campaign, it was emphasized that milk complements a variety of foods. A TV spot of people tasting various foods that match with milk was created, with the tagline Got Milk?. Several memorable television ads with celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ray Charles, Jaleel White, and Cindy Crawford were made.
14. Think Different:
On August 8, 1997: At Macworld Expo, Steve Jobs introduces the world to Apple’s new slogan, “Think different.” Fans are reassured by Apple’s catchy marketing and once again making products customers will love.
It was a line of print advertisements, television commercials, and posters used by Apple Computer from October 1997 to 2002. One of its commercials showed pictures of famous historical personalities and cultural icons that had been said to “think different”.
15. Don’t Leave Home Without It:
American Express launched the campaign in 1975 and began using the ‘Don’t Leave Home Without Them‘ tagline in 1977. The campaign ran for almost 20 years and was one of the longest-running ad campaigns of its time.
Karl Malden, the late actor who appeared in American Express television advertisements during the 1970s, promoted the card as invaluable in 1974, concluding the advertising with the message “Don’t leave home without it.”
16. A Diamond Is Forever:
Jewelry retailer De Beers and the shrewd creatives at N.W. Ayer & Son have unveiled the Brilliant campaign “A Diamond Is Forever”. This campaign has been a cornerstone of the marketing strategy used to promote diamonds.
The advertisement would tell about the rarity and value of diamonds and how if they waited long enough (and saved their money), they could give their true love a diamond ring. The purpose of this was to instill in people a romantic view of diamonds.
17. Terry Tate, Office Linebacker:
Former NFL linebacker, Terry Tate, starred in an advertisement for Reebok in this series. The commercials showed him tackling employees who were not working to their full capacity and returning them to the office.
He becomes the secretary for Reebok’s Human Resources department to help employees with problems they may have in the office. He is tasked with enforcing the policies and procedures set forth by management and motivating them to increase their productivity.
U.K. seafood company, John West has been stealing fish from unsuspecting bears who are just trying to enjoy a meal.
A man steps into the advertisement and disturbs the bears as they fish for salmon, and starts fighting one of the bears for rights to the fresh fish. The bear, as portrayed on screen, was a stuntman dressed in a 7ft bear suit from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
19. Hungry Betty White:
During the 2010 Super Bowl, Snickers launched the “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign. Betty White’s social media power reshaped the brand and made her a brand spokesperson for years.
In the commercial, actor Betty White turns into a man after eating a candy bar. It showed a little old woman playing in a pickup football game is a thought that can make one cringe and how weak and brittle someone can become when they are hungry.
20. Dumb Ways to Die:
Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia (2012) created a safety promotion campaign and video called “Dumb Ways To Die” to warn people against certain risky behaviors around trains.
Steven, the anthropomorphic dog, signs a safety message about how to be careful around trains with six of his “mates.” Each of his “mates” represents how passengers might become injured by trains and offers safety advice. Train accidents happen because of distractions and are preventable.
21. Back to the Start:
Chipotle wants to provide consumers with a greater understanding of the origins of its products and launched a campaign called ‘Back to the Start ( 2012).
In this short animation, whimsical characters convey a serious message about sustainable farming. It succinctly explains Chipotle’s mission to source humanely raised, naturally grown ingredients. An old-time farmer is shown in this film as he moves toward mechanized, industrialized farming, only to regret his choice and long for the days of old.
The world-renowned stop-motion artist PES created an ad for Honda in 2015 and named it Paper. The paper campaign was introduced by American Honda Motors …, and features stop-motion animation.
It displays Honda’s cars and motorcycles using an unconventional method of displaying 3,000 hand-drawn illustrations created with stop-motion to take viewers on a paper-flipping journey. In the video, we learn about the history of Honda while also being able to learn about the company’s inner workings.
23. Bear And The Hare:
“Bear And The Hare” Is John Lewis’ best Christmas ad ever (2013). It depicts a hare trying to make sure a bear does not miss out on Christmas.
Although they were friends, the bear was quite grumpy. He is always late and forgets important things. Hare decided to purchase her bear friend a clock so he can wake up before it’s too late and they can celebrate Christmas together before it’s too late.
24. Kenya Bucket List:
WATERisLIFE and DDB New York have developed a campaign titled, “Kenya Bucket List”. The campaign depicts the effects of drinking unclean water in certain sub-Saharan African regions.
This campaign features Nkaitole, a four-year-old Maasai boy who’s never been outside his remote African village, taking part in an adventure to achieve all his dreams before he dies. One in five children does not reach their fifth birthday due to unsafe drinking water.
25. A Boy and His Dog Duck:
lAMS highlighted the unique relationship between dogs and humans. The commercial tells the story of a boy and his dog growing up together. As the boy ages, so does his dog.
Whenever he can, he encourages his dog to jump into the back of the car as he did in the past. The idea of this campaign is that the dog has grown up on Iams nutrition his entire life, so he can do it. For every stage of your dog’s life, choose IAMS.
26. Unsung Hero:
The unsung hero is a campaign that revolves around a young man who performs selfless deeds without expecting anything in return. Thai Life Insurance’s “Unsung Hero” commercial strives to convey a sense of emotional connection to the viewer.
The campaign highlights the sacrifices that people make for others daily. It aims to inspire consumers to do good deeds, helping others to be their “unsung heroes”.
27. Hey Kid, Catch!:
“Hey Kid, Catch!” is a 1979 advertisement for Coca-Cola produced by BBDO, New York. The commercial was filmed on 14 August 1979 in Houston’s Astrodome.
The commercial shows an injured Greene along with a kid fan who shared a Coke with him and in the end, Greene threw his jersey to the boy and said “Hey Kid, Catch!”. Both Greene and the boy concluded that smiling even if you are sad or hurt makes one feel better.
28. When I Grow Up:
Monster.com’s “When I Grow Up” ad, produced by Mullen Advertising in 1999, was shown during Super Bowl XXXIII and features young people talking about their goals.
With its depressing tone, this campaign generated conversation about the importance of following your passions and living according to your dreams, instead of settling for jobs you hate once you’re older.
29. Happy Moving Day:
One of the most iconic fast-food restaurants in the world celebrates the many reasons that families around the globe move homes and apartments throughout the year. Ad agency Cossette worked with McDonald’s to create an eye-catching campaign built around a strategically timed delivery system.
To promote the McDelivery service, they have created a series of print ads that feature a moving truck to illustrate, it is easier than ever for people to get their hands on its fast food.
30. Happy Diwali:
Yellow Ad Agency in Mumbai India launched the “Happy Diwali” campaign in 2019. The idea was to use animals as ambassadors to combat noise pollution.
These festivals are filled with deafening sounds and obnoxious light shows that render the common animals helpless. These print ads depict how each animal reacts to any sort of noise they hear. The campaign generated an overwhelming response with the images making their way to various social media platforms.
Which one of these uber-famous and creative commercials is your favorite, and why?
Let us know in the comments.