Higher Education

Top Ten must watch ad campaigns

Advertising is the best tool to introduce and sell your product in the market. Best advertisements are those which create a long lasting impression in the viewer’s mind and also motivate and influence the buyer’s choice. Here is a list of ten best ad campaigns ever made.
Nike, “Just do it”- In the year 1982, Nike started airing its ad campaigns which were created by the new ad agency Wieden+Kennedy. The collaboration between Nike and W+K has remained intact after all these years. The Cannes Advertising Festival named Nike its Advertiser of the Year in 1994 and also in 2003. The advertisement “The Morning After” won Nike the Emmy award for best commercial. It is a satire at what a runner might face on the morning of January 1, 2000 if every dire prediction about Y2K turns out to be true. Nike’s slogan “Just do it” is mighty popular. The slogan is not only appropriate but also quite encouraging.

Coca-Cola, “The pause that refreshes”- Coca-cola is the most known for its slogans. “The pause that refreshes”, “Coke it is” and “Thirst knows no season” being the famous ones. Coca-cola with its advertisements, by D’Arcy co., had major affects on American culture. In 1971 a song from a Coca-Cola commercial called “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”, produced by Billy Davis, became a hit single. Coke also made popular the use of ‘Santa Claus’. Coke soon became a necessity. It was needed to chill and relax all the time. It is the ‘pause that refreshes’. Coke enjoys huge popularity and world-wide demand.

Marlboro, “The Marlboro Man” This largest cigarette selling brand has the most popular advertisement campaign too. Named after the Great Marlborough Street in London, ‘The Marlboro Man’ was the iconography used in its ads. Created by Leo Burnett is 1954, it features men pretending to carry out cowboy tasks. Sales increased from $5 billion to $20 billion within two years of use of this ad campaign. The rugged Marlboro Man, thus, created huge business. It was much adopted in popular culture too. You really need a cigarette after watching such influential advertisements.

Volkswagen, “Think Small”– This legendary campaign was made by Julian Koenig (Doyle Dane Bernbach agency) in the 1950s. Created for the Volkswagen beetle, this was ranked as the best campaign ever in twentieth century by Ad Age. The campaign boosted sales, customer loyalty and brought a whole new revolution to the genre of advertising. The campaign was very informative and innovative. DDB had “simplicity in mind, contradicting the traditional association of automobiles with luxury”. Having a small car was suggested to be quite advantageous by this ad campaign and no wonder it became intensely popular.

Absolut Vodka, “The Absolut Bottle”- Absolut Vodka is the third largest brand of alcoholic spirits which is produced in Sweden. Its ad campaigns, created by advertising agency TBWA, picture a distinctive shape bottle. It is the longest running ad campaign. Absolut ads have focused a lot on gay community, realizing them as significant buyers. Dropping the ‘e’ in Absolute has made this vodka brand achieve huge success. The ads try to visualize absoluteness and perfectness. No doubt that this ad campaign created history.

De Beers, “A diamond is forever”- De Beers is a name to reckon in the diamond industry. Just like their world class diamonds, their advertisement campaigns set the standards for diamond ads. They have mightily increased customer demand. They use the diamonds as a symbol of happy loving marriages and this works well for all societies. N.W. Ayer & Son, in 1947, coined the famous ad slogan ‘A diamond is forever.’ Their ads show successful couples expressing their love to each other by gifting diamonds. With such powerful lines, this campaign was bound to be successful.

McDonald, “You deserve a break today”- When numbers of workers are shown cleaning and sweeping the floor for you, you feel special. And when the same number come out and declares that you deserve a break; then really feel that indeed you deserve a break. McDonalds have always indulged in extensive advertising. This has helped them to become a requirement for all. This ad, produced in 1970s was much in vogue and gives a clear message. You do need McDonalds for a break.

Avis, “We try harder”- Avis was totally in the red even after 13 years of its start. They had to do something. DDB (Doyle Dane Bernbach agency) was contacted and the ad campaign they created was much impactful. During those first meetings between DDB and Avis, a simple question was asked by DDB, “Why does anybody ever rent a car from you?” The reply is what made advertising history: “We try harder because we have to.” This ad campaign changed the fortunes of the company. Huge profits were made and Avis’s market share increased tremendously in just one year of the campaign launch. It was a hard hitting truth that created miracles

Wendy, “Where’s the beef?”- This advertisement line is used by one and all in a sarcastic manner. It was bought up by Wendy’s chain of hamburger restaurants in the year 1984. The ad features three elderly women examining hamburger buns only to find minuscule beef in them. This campaign was witty and effective. It showed that at Wendy’s, you’d always get much beef. This phrase became a much used catchphrase in United States and Canada depicting the popularity of this advertisement.

Clairol, “Does she or doesn’t she?”- Clairol brought a revolution in hair coloring industry. 70% of women were coloring their hair within six years of the launch of its advertisement campaign. It had the most catchy slogan of all times, “Does she… or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows the truth.” Clairol feminized the era. They worked upon feminine sensibilities and we do love the results. Its legacy still continues.


By, Shreya Gupta, New Delhi based research associate for CEOWORLD Magazine, with strong attention to detail, organizational skills and capable of working in a fast-paced environment.

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Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj
Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj is the CEO and editorial director at CEOWORLD magazine, the leading global business magazine written strictly for CEOs, CFOs, top managers, company directors, investors, senior executives, business leaders, and high net worth individuals.
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