What marketing campaigns have changed the course of history? What was the most successful campaign ever?
Marketing campaigns are often considered the lifeblood of businesses. They are responsible for bringing new customers into the fold, increasing sales and driving profits.
Some inventions have had a lasting impact on society and marketing campaigns. Some of these include the printing press, the introduction of television, and even the creation of the Internet itself.
What campaigns would you choose as the best marketing campaigns of all time?
In the past, television, radio and newspaper were the media of choice for campaigns. In today’s data-driven world, though the medium may have changed, the essential elements of a good marketing campaign have not changed.
According to AdAge, in the last 15 years, advertising and marketing, and the media it used to get out its messages, have experienced an incredible upheaval as digital media and interactivity changed how consumers see and pay attention to brand messages.
The article notes that control shifted from marketers and traditional media timing their messages and forcing consumers to see ads as a trade-off for the content they wanted to see to the consumer wielding remote control and computer mouse.
Traditional media scrambled to stay relevant as digital media wreaked havoc with the guarantee that consumers were likely to see ad messages.
Expensive journalism distributed free online amassed an audience but not ad dollars and wiped out an entire generation of magazines and newspapers. At the same time, DVRs, podcasts, and streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu challenged TV and radio models. Out of this massive shift, marketers and agencies got very innovative in leveraging these new tools.
Today, brands are still using marketing campaigns to get the attention of their target audience, drive purchases and leave people with a positive impression of their brand. These days it’s all about creating a campaign that’s going viral. Live video has become a trend in the digital world.
If viral marketing has taught advertisers anything, it’s that the biggest celebrity in the world means nothing compared with your close friends and family.
The reason, as noted here, is that 81% of customers make purchase decisions based on recommendations from their friends.
What Are The Best Marketing Campaigns of All Time?
In today’s world, there are many ways to market your business. Discover some of the most famous ones below.
Below are some of the best marketing campaigns (in no particular order). Some of these campaigns go as far back as the 20th century! If you disagree with the campaigns mentioned below, please let me know which campaigns you feel should make a list.
Nike: Just Do It (1988)
This iconic campaign was introduced in 1988, and its core message, “Just Do It”, still works 30+ years later. According to The Atlantic, the campaign positioned Nike as an innovative marketing company that just happened to sell shoes.
Apple: Get a Mac
This Apple campaign ran from 2006 to 2009. It helped to create the iconic brand that Apple is today. It’s simple, powerful and informative.
According to Wikipedia, the ads play on perceived weaknesses of non-Mac personal computers, especially those running Microsoft Windows, of which PC is intended to be a parody, and complementary strengths possessed by the Mac OS (such as immunity to circulating viruses and spyware targeted at Microsoft Windows).
Red Bull: Stratos (2012)
The Red Bull Stratos campaign is said to be one of the most live-streamed events in the history of the internet. There was so much buzz about Red Bull that people were eager to taste and experience it.
DeBeers: A Diamond is Forever (1947)
A famous saying is that if something isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it. It’s the case with the A Diamond is Forever campaign, an uninterrupted ad campaign running for over 70 years! It is said that only 10% of engagement rings contained diamonds before they created this slogan.
Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty (2013)
Do you consider yourself beautiful? What’s your definition of beauty? This campaign went viral on YouTube and has helped to change how we all look at beauty.
Old Spice: The Man, Your Man, Can Smell Like (2010)
My grandad loved Old Spice! So I always considered it an ‘old’ man’s brand. Then in 2010, this campaign went viral on social media.
Despite the product’s target market is male, the campaign targets female viewers, as the company determined that women frequently make purchasing decisions regarding hygiene products, even for male household members. So based on the performance of the campaign, it is safe to say that women truly wanted their men to look and smell like the guy in the ad.Many of these campaigns are big-budget campaigns. But it does not mean that the average business cannot borrow ideas from them. Click To Tweet
Coke: Share a Coke (2011)
The Share a Coke campaign began in Australia in 2011 when Coca-Cola personalised each bottle with the 150 most famous names.
Since then, the U.S. has followed suit, printing first names across the front of its bottles and cans in Coke’s branded font. You can even order custom bottles on Coke’s website to request things like nicknames and college logos.
KFC: “FCK” (2018)
In February 2018, when KFC’s business in the U.K. ran out of fried chicken in Central London, they created this campaign to halt the PR crisis. They took out full-page ads in the Metro newspaper and rearranged the letters in their name to make an explicit apology and acknowledge that they messed up!
It is worth noting that a major brand could be humble enough to own up publicly and admit that they messed up. It goes to show that nobody is perfect.
The creative manner in which their rivals capitalised on the situation is worth mentioning. You should always look for how to make the best of a crappy situation.
Guinness: Made of More (2013)
Guinness’ wheelchair basketball ad in its “Made of More” campaign is my personal favourite of all the marketing campaigns. It portrays a group of athletic, beer-drinking men defined by their kindness and physical strength.
It is unique because it encourages non-disabled people to try to experience the world from the perspective of persons with disabilities and not the other way around. It is what friendship, empathy, and love are all about—cudos to Guinness.
Star Beer: “Sunrise to Sunset” (2010)
They commemorated 50 years of Nigeria’s Independence and 60 years of Star’s presence as the nation’s premier drink. At the time, the advertising campaign claimed to be the most expensive and ambitious advert ever shot in Nigeria; from the looks of it, you cannot doubt it.
The way they blended the old (old delivery trucks, drink cartons, scenery) with the new to create feelings of nostalgia; is impressive.
Volvo: Epic Split (2013)
“The Epic Split,” in which Jean-Claude Van Damme performs a split between two reversing trucks to demonstrate the stability and precision of Volvo’s dynamic steering. The ad showed that emotion is a powerful way to convey product benefits to the general public and truck experts.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (2014)
According to this article, they attributed the campaign’s origin to Pete Frates, a Boston College alumnus diagnosed with ALS in March 2012. The Ice Bucket Challenge is a campaign to promote awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
In the challenge, a person is filmed as a bucket of water and ice is dumped over the individual’s head. The individual then nominates a minimum of three people to do the same thing, having only a 24-hour time frame to complete the challenge and donate to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association.
It went viral in July and August 2014, using social media as a platform to reach a worldwide audience. Lots of celebrities and influential personalities across the globe participated in the challenge.
Pepsi: We Will Rock You (2010)
Imagine a commercial featuring six living legends, i.e. Britney Spears, Beyonce, Pink, Enrique Iglesias, Brian May and Roger Taylor. It’s an epic movie. It can only take a global brand like Pepsi to pull this off.
The first time I saw this, I was scared for Britney Spears and Beyonce because they were no match for Pink! The budget for this must have been something. ?
The takeaway for SMBs is that having celebrity influencers as brand ambassadors and a catchy tune in your ad can do wonders for your brand.
Careem Human Slingshot
If you’re looking for how to launch a new logo and a re-brand with a bang, then this is it! The ad nearly gave me a heart attack! I watched it over ten times in a row. It shows what excellent campaigns you can produce with just your imagination and a bit of CGI. After several years, I’m still very impressed with their crazy creativity.
How Do You Create a Unique Marketing Campaign?
To create a unique marketing campaign, you must ask yourself many questions and provide candid answers. You might ask yourself, what is the purpose of this campaign? How will you achieve your business goals with the campaign?
Another thing you need to consider is how you will measure the campaign’s performance. Depending on the nature of your campaign, you can use any of the following metrics: Pre-orders, sales, upsells, sentiment, social mentions, press mentions, social mentions, engagement, leads, sales, upsells, blog shares, social shares, email interactions, ticket sales, vendor or entertainment bookings, etc.
Next, you will need to define your target audience. The following questions still need to be answered: What are the general interests of my audience? Are they readers of any particular magazines? What are their favourite TV shows? What do they do in their spare time? Are they on social media? What is their favourite online destination? Do they respond to straightforward sales messages, or would they instead consume witty, humorous content? What cultural references would they understand? What problems do they have that my product, service, or brand could solve?
To answer these questions adequately, you must be well acquainted with your audience.
After you’ve defined your target audience, you need to define your strategy for your campaign and harness the right team to help you successfully implement your campaign. Your team will help you flesh out your campaign’s mission, vision, and visual identity and the channels you will run.
You need to look at the current media channels used to promote your company and ask yourself some more questions! For instance: which ones perform the best? Which ones allow you to pay for advertisements? Which ones have the best engagement? Where are your customers hanging out?
Answers to these questions will help you set a timeline for your marketing campaign. Visually mapping your marketing campaign to a timetable will help you evenly disperse your campaign promotions and publish equally on each medium.
You must ensure your campaign is driving users toward a desired action. It would help calibrate your marketing efforts and channels to lead your customers to your desired goal. This is done through your conversion assets, e.g. calls-to-action (CTA), landing pages, lead forms, etc.
Be sure to measure the right metrics when determining your campaign’s performance. You will track different campaign effectiveness metrics depending on the type of marketing campaign and the channels you choose.
You will need to establish benchmarks which you will use in gauging the success of your campaign. Understanding whether you met the goals you set up before launching your campaign makes it easy to know whether the campaign was successful. If it did, great! If it didn’t, you need to look into the data to find out why.
What will you do with all the campaign data you’ve acquired at the end of your campaign? You must realise the campaign isn’t over once you’ve pulled that final report!
You need to spend time with your team at a review meeting. Look for areas to improve on. Are there ways to save money? Why might something have gone wrong? What kind of feedback could we gather from participants or customers?
Try to create marketing campaigns that emulate your brand goals and visions, rather than what promotional channel is hot. Monitor current memes and trends, jump on those that work for your brand and use them to highlight the key benefit of your product or service.
What Is the Most Successful Ad Campaign of All Time?
In my opinion, it’s neither easy nor proper to classify any particular campaign as the most successful campaign of all time! This is because there are several factors to be considered. So it is highly subjective. That’s why I listed several campaigns.
What Are Marketing Campaign Examples?
An organised or strategised marketing campaign aims to promote a specific company goal, such as increasing awareness of a new product or collecting customer feedback. They usually use a combination of media to reach consumers, including but not limited to email, radio, TV, and print advertising, pay-per-click, and social media. Several examples of marketing campaigns, such as those mentioned here, went global and others specific to a state, country, or region.
Many of these campaigns are big-budget campaigns. But it does not mean that the average business cannot borrow ideas from these. Marketing is not all about money. You need to be creative. Know what appeals to your target audience. Companies can create a successful marketing campaign using video content, social proof, and a clever marketing strategy.
Some companies can even use a print ad to create an inspiring campaign. You can even use user-generated content to make a clever marketing campaign with some creativity in your social media campaign. Some companies can even pull off a successful digital campaign alone using their email marketing campaign!
So, there you have it! These are (in my opinion) the best marketing campaigns. Is there any successful advertising campaign you feel should be on this list? Let me know.
Do you need help with your digital marketing campaign? Outsource it to a digital marketing agency in Nigeria.
Further Reading: How to Make Your Marketing Campaigns More Appealing
Disclaimer: These are my choice of best marketing campaigns of all time, campaigns that appeal to me. I do not mean it as an exhaustive list.
- 5 Ways to Use Visual Storytelling in Your Marketing
- Guide to the Best Ads That Work for Your Business
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