Key Takeaways From 5 of the Most Successful Ad Campaigns of All Time

Conceptualizing and strategizing a promotional campaign is easily the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking part of raising brand awareness. Thousands of marketing campaigns get launched all around the world every year, but only a small fraction sticks the landing in creating unforgettable ads that cement the legacy of the brands they’re promoting.

Apple commercial 1984 (Anya Major)

Apple iconic commercial 1984

To increase your chances of coming up with high-impact ads that would stand the test of time, we have compiled lessons from some of the most enduring and successful ad campaigns of all time.

The Product: Nike

The Ad Campaign: ‘Just Do It’

After the rollout of its massively successful “Just Do It” campaign, Nike was able to increase sales from an average of $800 million in 1988 to over $9 billion just a decade later.

So what made this tagline campaign such a hit?

The Takeaway: Keep taglines short yet impactful

Never say in a paragraph something you can say in three words. All creatives are well-versed about the core message their brand wants to send out, but the real challenge is packaging such a message in an easy-to-digest tagline that is short and impactful, yet says it all.

Nike could have said, “Believe that you can do whatever you set your mind to do,” or “Fight your doubts and believe you can.” Instead, they encapsulated all of that and more in a simple three-word tagline that no one will have any trouble remembering.

The Product: Absolut Vodka

The Ad Campaign: The Absolut Bottle

Through the Absolut Bottle print campaign, the vodka-maker was able to corner half of the market, which is an incredible feat after spending its first few years with just a 2.5% market share. More importantly, the ad campaign, which ran uninterrupted for 25 years, created a legacy by making Absolut bottles the most recognizable alcoholic bottle in the world.

The Takeaway: Make everything about your product completely yours

The lesson here is that there’s always a way to make your product more your own. Personalizing your product, the packaging it comes in, as well as any promotional materials is always a good idea, but you have to do it intentionally. If Absolut can personalize the most common of bottles to make it their own, surely you can think of ingenious ways to personalize your product and merchandise as part of a bigger marketing campaign to raise awareness about your brand.

The Product: Always

The Ad Campaign: Like A Girl

The Always brand ran the most remarkable commercial in the 2015 Super Bowl. It changed an entire generation’s idea of what it means to throw or play sports and do all sorts of things ‘like a girl.’

The Takeaway: Champion the struggles of your target audience

When trying to find a core message for your ad campaign, look for something that your target market can easily repeat. Aside from brevity, you have to find a powerful sentiment that people will have no trouble repeating. Look for a message or a tagline that empowers or inspires the population you’re trying to reach.

The Product: Apple

The Ad Campaign: 1984 Super Bowl Ad

Would you believe that Apple’s most successful ad was a commercial that ran once during the 1984 Super Bowl? Featuring images from George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four masterpiece, this ad introduced the Macintosh computer to the world. It has since won countless awards and has been cited several times as the single most effective ad of all time.

The Takeaway: Do not shy away from politically relevant and striking visual content

Visual content is no doubt the most important component of your marketing strategy, especially in this day and age. When harnessing the power of visual content, don’t be afraid to go hard with striking visual cues that draw parallels with important, politically-charged events. Even without its recent remake, Apple’s 1984 ad remains as vivid to many minds as it did more than 25 years ago. If you could develop visual content that’s half as powerful as this was, you know you’re on the right track.

The Product: Coca-Cola

The Ad Campaign: Share a Coke

Personalized Coke bottles have been in circulation since 2014, but they’re still generating quite the buzz. The appeal of seeing one’s name on a Coca-Cola bottle is simply irresistible, and for all the right reasons.

The Takeaway: Customizable products never go out of style

As you plan to customize your products, try to also think of ways to have them personalized for the benefit of consumers. Personalized products make your customers feel closer to your brand, allowing you to create deep emotional connections, which always play an integral part in establishing your brand.

Final Thoughts

These examples barely scratch the surface of all the lessons you could learn from the most successful ad and marketing campaigns of all time. As you embark on your own journey towards the top of mind of your consumers, make sure you learn everything there is to learn about sending out a message and doing it well.

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