Do you like to learn by studying examples of others work? We certainly do. So in this series of best marketing campaigns and examples, we will do just that.
In each example, we will state what we liked in the campaign and why we thought made the campaign successful.
Keep learning: Successful Advertisement Design … 12 Best Examples of Study
This is the first of a four part series. Here are all the parts and their titles:
Part 1: Classic campaigns
Part 2: Best marketing campaigns
Part 3: Very unique marketing campaigns
Why are these marketing campaigns some of the most popular of all time?
Because of the impact, they had on the growth of the brand, and because they manage to hit on some universal truth. This truth allows us to remember these campaigns years after they first began.
In fact, some of us might not have even been alive when these campaigns first aired!
But first … what is a marketing campaign?
A marketing campaign is a group of ads centralized around one message. They often use many different marketing channels to get this idea across.
The timing of these campaigns is also very clearly defined.
So here they are, in no particular order (but feel free to let us know which one is your favorite in the comments) – many of the most popular campaigns, and the lessons we can learn from them.
Marketing campaigns … Absolut Vodka: The Absolut Bottle
Despite having no distinct shape, Absolut made its bottle the most recognizable bottle in the world.
Their campaign, which featured print ads showing bottles “in the wild,” was so successful that they didn’t stop running it for 25 years.
It’s the longest uninterrupted ad campaign ever and comprises over 1,500 separate ads. I guess if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
When the campaign started, Absolut had a measly 2.5% of the vodka market.
When it ended in the late 2000s, Absolut was importing 4.5 million cases per year or half of all imported vodka in the U.S.
So what’s a marketer’s lesson here?
No matter how boring your product looks, it doesn’t mean you can’t interestingly tell your story. Let me repeat:
Absolut created 1500 ads of one bottle.
Be determined and differentiate your product in the same way.
Miller Lite: Great Taste, Less Filling
Think it’s easy to create a whole new market for your product?
The Miller Brewing Company (now MillerCoors) did just that with the light beer market — and they dominated it.
The goal of the “Great Taste, Less Filling” campaign was getting “real men” to drink light beer, but they were battling the common misconception that light beer can never actually taste good.
Taking the debate head-on, Miller featured masculine models drinking their light beer and declaring it great tasting.
For decades after this campaign aired, Miller Lite dominated the light beer market they’d essentially created.
What’s the lesson marketers can learn?
Strive to be different. If people tell you there isn’t room for a product, create your category so you can quickly become the leader.
Volkswagen: Think Small
Many marketing and advertising professionals like to call Volkswagen’s “Think Small” campaign the gold standard.
Created in 1960 by a legendary advertising group at Doyle Dane & Bernbach (DDB), the campaign set out to answer one question:
How do you change peoples’ perceptions not only about a product but also about an entire group of people?
See, Americans always had a propensity to buy big American cars — and even 15 years after WWII ended, most Americans were still not buying small German cars.
So what did this Volkswagen advertisement do? It played right into the audience’s expectations. You think I’m small? Yeah, I am. They never tried to be something they were not.
This happened when the American automobile industry was flooded with long and big cars.
Long cars were a symbol of magnanimity and prosperity. It was a huge paradigm shift to promote cars that were much smaller than the ones then running.
They also came up with great campaigns for parking assist etc. but “Think Small” particularly was a huge success.
That’s the most important takeaway from this campaign: Don’t try to sell your company, product, or service as something it’s not.
Consumers recognize and appreciate honesty.
Volkswagen’s came up with the following campaign:-
(often referred to as “Think Small”)
Marlboro: Marlboro Man
The Marlboro Man ads, which began running as early as 1955, represented the power of a brand when it creates a lifestyle around its product.
Want to be free? Want to be a man? Want to be on the open range?
That was the very definition of a Marlboro Man.
The ads were effective because they captured an ideal lifestyle to which many men aspired at the time.
The lesson here?
Remember that whatever you’re selling needs to fit somehow into your audience’s lifestyle — or their idealized lifestyle.
Marketing campaigns … Bounty
Here’s a fun fact about your neighborhood marketing blogger: I. Spill.
Everything. Coffee? Check. Olive oil? You got it.
I am simply a mess and like to have paper towels nearby at all times.
Naturally, I couldn’t help but be impressed by this guerilla marketing installment from paper towel company Bounty.
By installing life-sized “messes” throughout the streets of New York — a giant, knocked over a coffee cup and a gigantic melting popsicle — the brand found a unique way to advertise its product and the solution it provides, with minimal words.
You might ask, “Wouldn’t a concise billboard ad accomplish the same thing?”
Well, not really. Culturally, we’re starting to opt for every possible way to eradicate ads from our lives.
This campaign, unlike an ad, isn’t as easy to ignore.
After all, if you stumbled upon a melting popsicle the size of your mattress on your way to work, would you stop and look? We would.
The big takeaway
Identify the biggest problem that your product or service solves.
Then, find an unconventional way to broadcast that to the public — preferably without words.
Marketing campaigns … Nordstrom
American fashion retailer Nordstrom began collecting examples of great customer service from its employees.
They called them Nordy stories.
For example, a customer comes into the store, laden with items already purchased from rival store Macy’s.
The customer shops in Nordstrom comes to the till and takes advantage of Nordstrom’s gift wrap service.
The Nordstrom employee obliges and then, to the surprise and delight of the customer, offers to wrap the Macy’s gifts too for no extra charge.
In another example, a customer comes into Nordstrom wishing to return a $17 tire iron. They don’t have a receipt.
Nordstrom doesn’t sell tire irons. The employee gives the customer a full refund.
That employee knows full well that the Nordstrom customer has an average lifetime spend of $8,000. What’s $17 compared to that?
Keep learning: Use 8 Breathtaking Commercials That Employ Emotional Appeal
By publishing these stories, Nordstrom gives not only concrete examples of how great their service is to customers but also to new employees as well.
Your employee handbook might say ‘give great customer service’ but to the average employee that just says ‘smile, make eye contact and tuck in your shirt.’
Nordy stories give concrete examples to the employees to show them exactly how good customer service is given.
The bottom line
To be effective in this new era, we as marketers need to see our jobs differently.
No more just focusing on metrics like clicks, video views or social media shares.
We must successfully integrate our function with other business functions to create entire brand experiences that serve the customer all the way through their experiences throughout the business.
We can do better. Much better.
But first, we need to stop seeing ourselves as crafters of clever brand messages and become creators of positive brand experiences.
There can never be enough focus on continuous improvement on brand marketing, independent of how well the business is doing.
It seems we all are looking to take our success to a new level. This is an excellent time to make a statement with their brand marketing.
Changing before you have to is always a good idea.
Need some help in capturing more customers from your advertising? Creative ideas to help the differentiation with your customers?
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Call Mike at 607-725-8240.
All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas.
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Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.
Are you devoting enough energy improving your advertising design?
Do you have a lesson about making your innovation better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?
Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he writes about topics to help improve the performance of the small business. Find him on G+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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Great Marketing Campaign Examples … Part 2 Best Marketing Campaigns