5 Old Brand Ad Campaigns We Still Love

There are many ad campaigns from the yore that nobody remembers now although they might have worked back then. But then there are some classics that are still remembered due to their sheer creativity, execution and impact. They were so successful that they became a part of the branding pop culture. Here are a few great campaigns that are our favorites. As you start a new week, think about the simplicity and the impact these campaigns bring before you design your own new content campaigns! 🙂

5 Old Brand Ad Campaigns We Still Love

1. Marlboro Man

The Marlboro Man was first conceived by Leo Burnett in 1954. These ads started in the 50s, ran for several decades and always featured major Hollywood stars, mostly seen outdoors, dressed like cowboys and riding horses. It was just the perfect example of understanding the aspirations of target consumers. Most urban middle and upper class males idolized these stars and aspired to live such rugged, outdoorsy existence.

It went well and far beyond what the product/brand offered and instead gave them something totally aspirational to think about!

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2. De Beers “Diamonds are Forever”

This punchline was so popular that it entered pop culture and lent its name to a James Bond film. Why is it considered to be so great? Well, simply because it not only increased sales but created an entirely new market. It convinced everyone that without a diamond no marriage proposal is complete and the customers believed them. It cemented an enticing culture of purchasing diamonds for special occasions even if they are expensive.

3. Absolut

Absolute ran a series of print ads for 25 years and they did not have too much going with them. They just played with the word Absolut (sounds like absolute) and then started using the unique shape of their bottles in the visuals. They found out a way to present the bottles that made them a cultural phenomenon and sky-rocketed the market share. What you need to realize here is that you do not always need something exceptional or bank on celebrity endorsers. Even the simplest things can be used to your advantage if you are creative enough.

Absolut has gone ahead and created art out of its bottle shapes and branding. They have had several limited editions, including the Andy Warhol Edition converting a Warhol painting onto the shape of a bottle. Also in contention was the Absolut Unique which took personalization to the absolute maximum by featuring four million unique bottle designs.

5 Old Brand Ad Campaigns We Still Love
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4. Apple 1984

The 1984 MacIntosh advert by Apple was not a mere ad but an epoch-making event. While their product was still being fine-tuned, this ad referred to a futuristic novel at the perfect time (Orwell’s 1984) and made the point that the future has well and truly arrived. It was actually a subtle dig at IBM, the market leader (Big Brother) at that point. The look, tone and feel was way ahead of its time and no wonder that it was directed by Ridley Scott,  whose sci-films were a rage at that time. If you have a budget and really want to make something big, this is how it should be.

5. Google Doodles

Well, Google Doodles are not exactly ads but if the point is to grab the attention of people and get them talking about the brand, they are as effective as any classic advert. Also, they have been running for more than a decade now and there is no sign of stopping. They make a doodle every now and then to comment on important events in the world. Some of them are informative some others are amusing. Basically they work because they engage audiences with snippets running around the Google logo itself. It’s not common for a brand to have its brand name being used as a verb. This really is affective! The branding happens automatically here and more often than not the doodles make it to the newspapers and media creating free PR.

What are some of your favorite brand campaigns?  Please do share them with us!

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Enakshi Sharma

Digital Storyteller at Brandanew
Enakshi is a storyteller, curator (India Art Fair, 2015), anchor (May Queen, 2015), research associate (Centre for Civil Society, India), a travel writer and a blogger. She's a Digital Storyteller for Brandanew.

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