3 of the Biggest Marketing Campaigns That Worked (And How You Can Learn From Them)
Back when there were only three real forms of marketing,TV networks, AM radio, and newspapers, advertising was a competitive industry that gave us some of the most entertaining marketing campaigns the world has ever seen.
In today’s world, the medium has changed, but the want of companies to get attention, convert a sale, and change people’s perception of a brand or business is alive and well.
Creating iconic, instantly recognisable marketing campaigns today can mean going viral, but the basic fundamentals of good marketing haven’t changed as much as you may think.
Here are 3 of our top three favourite that caught the world’s attention:
1. Nike – Just do it
It’s difficult to remember that one point time Nike didn’t dominate the world of athletic clothing and footwear, but they almost exclusively manufactured products for marathon runners. Reebok were their main competition, who were leading the market in selling footwear, selling more than any other sports brand. To rival Reebok, Nike came up with the “Just Do It” campaign in the 1980’s. It was a time where the world was really getting into fitness and it became a trendy/hip thing to do. The slogan “Just do it” was graphically super simple, but easy for everybody to take inspiration from and use it day-to-day to push their boundaries on what they can achieve.
Nike used huge sports stars such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Charles Barkley, Maria Sharapova, Kobe Bryant, Wayne Rooney and many more to showcase this simple statement. The world stood and listened and this slogan became one of the most recognisable advertising campaigns in the world. The numbers spoke for themselves, in 1988, Nike’s sales were at $800 million. By 1998, they had surpassed $9.2 billion.
What we all can learn: Always think and approach what problems your product can solve. When you can consistently convey that through your marketing campaigns, it’s bound to be successful.
2. Budweiser: Whassup
Beer brands have based their advertising campaigns around humor forever. But it’s fair to say that nobody to this day has done it better than Budweiser’s with their “Whassup” commercial in 1999. This single-word catchphrase set new levels for silly humour that just works so well.
The origin of that ad was based on a short film called “True” by Charles Stone III that featured friends and their unique greeting. It aired into a Budweiser ad in late 1999, but it really hit the mainstream after it appeared during the Super Bowl in 2000. The ad was AGAIN very simple and had friends repeating the hilarious catchphrase to each other over the phone as they drank Budweisers and watched a football on TV. It actually went ‘viral’ (before viral was even a thing) with many people reporting it themselves and posting it online and it even would an award including a Cannes Grand Prix.
Digitally, the campaign was ahead of its time: The brand directed viewers to Budweiser.com, where they could learn how to say “Whassup” in more than 30 languages. As you can imagine, the web traffic was crazy.
Surprisingly, Budweiser moved away from the campaign just 2 years after it launched and defended the decision by saying “You don’t want people to say this isn’t cool anymore.”
What we can learn: Humour is amazing at capturing audiences, some of the biggest facebook pages online strictly just post pure humorous videos. Combining humour with a catchphrase can be very challenging as they don’t all work or come along all too often. Bottom line, who doesn’t like funny!?
3. Marlboro Cigarettes – The Marlboro Man
The most powerful — and in some parts of the world, the most hated brand image of all time, the Marlboro Man stands worldwide as the ultimate American cowboy and masculine trademark, helping establish Marlboro as the best-selling cigarette in the world.
The figures were beyond anyone at Malboro’s wildest dreams. By the time the Marlboro Man went national in 1955, sales were at $5 billion, a 3,241% jump over 1954.
They created the Marlboro Man to show that “real men” smoked Marlboro cigarettes. He was a free roaming cowboy who didn’t have a care in the world. It was the lifestyle that men at the time wanted, which resulted in skyrocketing sales.
What we can learn: Understanding your target audience is a key tool in advertising. With more touchpoints than ever through tools built into Facebook, Instagram and Google Analytics, knowing who your target audience is, gives you a huge advantage.By using clever marketing, you can create and manipulate what customers associate with your brand.