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10 Best Advertising Campaigns



There used to be a time when Television networks, radios, and newspapers were the platforms used for advertising, one of the most competitive industries that gave the world some of the most entertaining marketing campaigns that went down in history.



Today we have a data-driven world where the medium may have changed, and where there are more opportunities for campaigns to reach their targeted audiences, but they need to grab the attention of the audience, the drive towards a purchase, and the process involved with shifting impressions of a brand or company is still alive and well.



Businesses and brands that create iconic marketing campaigns today may go viral but the basic elements surrounding a good marketing campaign have not changed.


Nike: Just Do It

Ad Campaign: Print, Television, Internet

The products that Nike manufactured used to only cater for marathon runners. However, with the emergence of fitness crazes around the world which became widespread, the marketing department of Nike decided to take advantage of this to surpass their largest competitor, Reebok.

This led to the “Just Do It” campaign that Nike is now famous for during the late 1980s and it was an absolute hit. By 1988, Nike sales skyrocketed to over $800 million and a decade later, sales exceeded $9.2 billion.

The “Just Do It” campaign was simple and short, yet it encapsulated everything that people felt when they were exercising, and people still feel the same way about it today. It takes away from overthinking and motivates people to “just do it”, no excuses. It has remained a slogan that people can relate to, a drive to push ourselves beyond our limits.


The Lesson behind it

When a business tries to decide what the best way would be to present their brand, the question that they must ask relates to the problems that they try to solve for customers, and what solution their product or service provides.

By hitting on core issues in all messaging, businesses can connect with their consumers on a more emotional level which cannot be ignored.


Coke: Share a Coke

Ad Campaign: Print

Some of the largest brands in the world are hard-pressed to do something ground-breaking because it is expected of them. So, what exactly did Coca-Cola do to appeal to its worldwide audience? They appealed to individuals, by putting names on cans and bottles.

The Share a Coke campaign started in Australia in 2011 when Coca-Cola personalised cans and bottles with 150 of the most popular names in the country. Following this, the United States followed suit, printing first names across the front of bottles and cans in the branded font of Coke.

There was even the option to order custom bottles from Coca-Cola’s website to request nicknames and even college logos. This initiative was a breaking story across the advertising and marketing industry, with many consumers enchanted by it.

However, there were some consumers who were confused by the campaign in making temporary items so personal and sentimental. Competitors such as Pepsi even made counter-ads shortly after the Share a Coke campaign launched.

Despite this, Coca-Cola received a significant portion of attention for its campaign.


The Lesson behind it

Coca-Cola fans are regular buyers and the company leaned into this sense of individual ownership without hesitating. People were excited about the prospects of getting a can with their name on it or buying a can or bottle of Coke for someone special and “Sharing” it with them.


Anheuser-Busch: Whassup

Ad Campaign: Television

When was the last time that an advert changed the way that people talk to one another? This can be answered easily with another question: “Whassup?!”.

There are many people who remember the iconic series of commercials, which first appeared late in 1999, featuring a group of friends who were connected on a group phone call while drinking beer and “watching the game” on TV.

The advert starts gently with one person asking another what they are doing, the response being that they are “watching the game”.

As more friends pick up the phone, there is hilarity which ensues with “WHASSUP?!” being yelled back and forth, becoming a classic catchphrase which became an icon of beer-drinking culture which ran across sports networks for years after it was launched.


The Lesson behind it

This advertisement campaign took pop culture by storm, especially during the Super Bowl in 2000 and it can still be heard today, even as just an echo. Why? Anheuser-Busch showed the world how silly and informal an advertisement can be without going off-brand or rubbing people the wrong way.


Volkswagen: Think Small

Ad Campaign: Print

There are many marketing and advertising professionals that refer to the “Think Small” campaign of Volkswagen as a gold standard. It was created in 1960 by an advertising group at Doyle Dane & Bernbach (DDB).

The advertisement campaign set out to answer one important question: How would you change the perceptions of people not only about a product, but also about a group of people as whole?

Americans have always had a propensity towards buying big American cars and even after 15 years had passed since WWII ended, Americans were still not convinced to consider buying German cars.

This Volkswagen advertisement played straight into the expectations of the audience and the band never tried to be something that they are not. Volkswagen embraced its products for what they are and made it a strength instead of defending it as a weakness.


The Lesson behind it

Never try to sell your company, product, or service as something that it is not. Customers will always recognize honesty and they will appreciate it for what it is.


Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Ad Campaign: Television, Internet

Created by Wieden and Kennedy, this campaign was launched in February 2010, and it became a viral success overnight. The YouTube video featuring the ad has more than 59 million views at the time of writing, a phenomenal amount for an advert that is 11 years old already.

Several months after the campaign’s launch in June 2010, Old Spice followed up with a second commercial which featured the same actor, Isaiah Mustafa, resulting in Mustafa becoming the “Old Spice Guy”, a nickname that Wieden and Kennedy capitalised on with an interactive video campaigns.

The campaign was launched on Facebook, Twitter, and several other social media platforms and featured Mustafa responding to fans’ comments with 186 short, personalised videos. These videos saw more than 11 million views and resulted in Old Spice experiencing a surge in Facebook and Twitter fans and followers.


The Lesson behind it

If you find that your campaign has gained momentum with fans and followers, do everything that you can to keep them engaged while ensuring that your message is true to the image and voice of your brand.


De Beers: A Diamond is Forever

Ad Campaign: Print, Television

During 1999, the “A Diamond is Forever” advertisement campaign from De Beers was declared the most memorable slogan of the twentieth century. However, the campaign, which proposed the idea that no marriage is complete without a diamond ring, was not just riding on the coattails of the existing industry.

De Beers built the industry and presented the idea that a diamond ring is a luxury which is necessary. The idea behind it was to create a situation where every person who pledges marriage feels compelled to acquire a diamond engagement ring.


The Lesson behind it

A successful advertisement campaign can make a product which is inexpensive seem both luxurious and essential.


Apple: Get a Mac

Ad Campaign: Television

There have been countless great Apple advertisement campaigns, but the “Get a Mac” campaign launched in 2006 is the most successful yet. The video is a series of iterations of the campaign and the Mac versus PC debate resulted in being one of the most successful campaigns in history, even for Apple.

As result of its successful ad campaign, Apple experienced a 42% market share increase in its first year. The series of commercials tell Mac’s audience everything that they must know about the product, all without being overt.


The Lesson behind it

When you have a successful product that is versatile and features amazing specs, you can afford to be subtle and avoid proverbially hitting your audience over the head with it. Explain your product’s benefits in a relatable way so that your audience can imagine themselves using it.


Metro Trains: Dumb Ways to Die

Ad Campaign: Internet, Radio

In Melbourne, Australia, Metro Trains wished to emphasise a simple message to prohibit people from messing around near train tracks. Disorderly conduct is known to lead to injuries, and even death, and Metro Trains put a creative twist on this important message.

The advertisement campaign did not show typical warning signs or announcements inside train stations. Metro Trains developed the “Dumb Ways to Die” song which has more than 215 million views at the time of writing since its debut in 2012.


The Lesson behind it

The beloved and now-famous campaign communicates a simple idea and message in a creative and memorable way without nagging its audience. If companies have a subject matter that is either grim or boring, they can consider using a creative way to get the message across.


Google: Year in Search

Ad Campaign: Internet

This may not be as old or well-known as other advertising campaigns, but it is one of the most powerful ever created.

“Year in Search” was launched in 2009 as “Zeitgeist”, which is a written report of the most common Google searches over the previous 12 months. The following year, Google adapted it for a three-minute video and since then, it has been a bold yearly reminder of how much reliance there is on Google for information on news and events which give the entire world pause.


The Lesson behind it

It is important to remind your customers how much you care that they care, and these stories are known to elicit a range of emotions, but more importantly, they unite everyone.


Dos Equis: The Most Interesting Man in the World

Ad Campaign: Television, Pre-roll

The most interesting man in the world, thanks to Dos Equis beer, who has become an integral part of a strong campaign for an indulgent vice. The man in these commercials is one of the most prominent that there is in the world today, and he has also become the face of many memes that are still making the rounds on various social media platforms.


The Lesson behind it

The success behind this advertising campaign shows brands that they can have a lasting impact by making it memorable whenever someone buys their product.




What is a marketing campaign?

They promote products through several types of media including television, radio, print, and online platforms.


Can a marketing campaign determine the success of a brand or business?

Advertising and marketing campaign are a vital component towards sustainable success of a brand and a business.


Why is marketing important?

It ensures that a larger audience can be reached with a specific product or service. It also helps businesses maintain long-lasting and ever-present relationships with consumers.


Which are the best marketing campaigns of all time?

There are many advertising campaigns that remain popular today, some of which are provided in the article.


Are our marketing campaigns expensive?

Some campaigns may be expensive, depending on the effort and resources necessary to ensure that it reaches a wider audience. However, if a business has an effective campaign, it will be spread across platforms by consumers who share it with others.


Why is it a good idea to use multiple platforms for a marketing campaign?

With the online community spread across several platforms, and not only one, but it is also imperative to reach a wider audience by using all available platforms.


Is it worth it to still use TV, newspaper, and radio for a marketing campaign?

Even if online platforms are more popular than conventional channels, there are still consumers who make use of TV, newspapers, and radios as they may not have access to others.


Author Details

Louis Schoeman

Louis Schoeman

Featured Forex and Stocks writer

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