The 12 Most Innovative Advertising Campaigns Ever Seen. From Detail and Avedia

A Look Back at the 12 Most Innovative Advertising Campaigns Ever Seen

Global brand campaigns come and go in the world of advertising. But some stick. And they remain culturally impactful to the point that they are not only etched in the minds of other marketers but also become a source of inspiration.  

It is for this reason that we’ve decided to throw it back to the twelve most innovative advertising campaigns that are still relevant today.

We hope you’ll find one or more of these relatable and inspiring.

In no particular order, here are the ad campaigns that history will forever be kind to:

1. Nike – “Just Do It”

Nike Just Do It Image
Source: HubSpot

On any list of the best campaigns ever seen in history, Nike’s Just Do It will be found sitting pretty. And that’s because it was a remarkable campaign that had many spin-offs over the years. It also skyrocketed revenue for the footwear brand. 

HubSpot describes the campaign as a hit and that’s not all: the campaign launched in 1987 made the company over a billion dollars in less than ten years — they moved from $800 million to over 9.2 billion dollars by 1998.

2. California Milk Processor – “Got Milk?”

Source: HubSpot

This print ad campaign launched in 1993 was effective because, in just one year, milk sales in California rose by 7%. This is one of the most successful campaigns ever seen in history, spanning 21 years and spawning over 70 spin-off TV commercials in California alone. 

And to think that the California Milk Processing Board (CMPB) hired an agency to advertise milk owing to the public disinterest in what should be a regular staple food in homes — well, we are glad they made that decision.

3. Apple – Get a Mac

Apple has launched several campaigns but a memorable one remains the Get a Mac campaign launched on television in 2006. 

This was a successful campaign because it helped to spark conversations on the distinctions between the PC and Mac, resulting in a 42% increase in market share for the tech giant.

4. Coca-Cola – Share a Coke

Despite being an industry leader, Coca-Cola devised a new way to connect with people with the “Share a Coke” campaign and this amounted to nothing short of a smashing success. 

Sharing photos of themselves with a bottle they had purchased because it had their name on it caused social media to go crazy when the Share a Coke campaign spread from its initial launch in Australia in 2011 to the United States in 2012 and finally to Nigeria in 2015. It wasn’t merely a campaign; it became a movement.

5. Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Old Spice released the commercial “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa in 2010. And in less than a month, the video amassed over 51 million views online. 

The commercial was so successful that Mustafa was later dubbed the “Old Spice Guy” and became the campaign’s face. Following the success of the first commercial, an interactive video campaign was released featuring Mustafa and it quickly became a viral sensation online.

6. Always – “Like A Girl”

This campaign was launched on the Internet and television and it resonated with millions of individuals who have always looked for a way to express their beliefs regarding gender discrimination.

The fact that the commercial was able to go viral after it was aired at the 2015 Super Bowl shows how remarkable it was. Always passed an important message that girls are just as skilled and qualified as boys, especially during puberty and till today, the #LikeAGirl hashtag is used on social media. Talk about real impact.

7. Dove – Real Beauty

Dove’s “Real Beauty” ad campaign was revolutionary because it challenged the beauty industry’s long-held, unattainable ideals of what constitutes beauty. 

The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty exemplifies the potential of advertising to inspire positive societal shifts. It proved that marketing has the power to change people’s lives for the better. The campaign’s message remains timely because beauty standards are changing and people want to see more genuine and diverse portrayals of people in advertising.

8. KFC – “FCK”

This campaign was an apology for when KFC ran out of chicken in February 2018. It was shocking and so what did they do? They released a print ad rearranging the initials of KFC to FCK. 

A good way to apologise to your customers? They did well. And this ad goes down in history as one of the most compelling and authentic campaigns ever seen in advertising.

9. Snickers – You’re Not You When You’re Hungry

This campaign is regarded as innovative and successful because it was able to form an emotional connection with the target audience. It also used celebrities to drive home the point. This campaign is well-known for its longevity and it’s a good example of how celebrity endorsement can boost the success of a marketing campaign.

10. Gillette – The Best Men Can Be

Gillette’s ad campaign is unlike any other because it focuses on men and encourages them to be themselves while also standing up for what they believe in. In light of the #MeToo movement and other recently exposed systemic issues, the commercial demonstrates that Gillette appreciates men’s influence and the positive role they can play in shaping the future.

The fact that Gillette is willing to acknowledge its own mistakes and accept responsibility for its role in the problem is what makes this commercial stand out. The advertisement takes a risk by referencing the old slogan “The Best A Man Can Get” before turning the question around and asking if they have achieved that goal.

11. Absolut Vodka – The Absolut Bottle

Absolut Vodka’s “The Bottle” advertising campaign featured a series of print ads that demonstrated the wide variety of ways in which the vodka bottles could be put to use. The ads were striking in their visual appeal and successfully communicated the message that Absolut Vodka is not your average spirit.

The unconventional method of marketing was a major factor in the campaign’s success. The campaign, rather than relying on more conventional forms of advertising, crafted striking visuals to catch people’s attention.

Adopting the iconic Absolut vodka bottle as a central motif in the campaign was a brilliant move that served to both set Absolut apart from its rivals and make the brand instantly recognisable.

12. Wendy’s – Where’s the Beef?

Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” ad campaign from the 1980s is still one of the most famous and effective in history. The campaign, dreamed up by choreographer Fitzgerald Sample, aimed to set Wendy’s burgers apart from the competition by emphasising their use of fresh, high-quality beef.

Actress Clara Peller was the face of the campaign; she appeared in commercials asking, “Where’s the beef?” in response to the size of burgers offered by competing fast food restaurants. This catchphrase became an instant hit, giving Wendy’s an edge in the crowded fast food market.

The campaign’s success can be traced back to its all-encompassing appeal to customers. The ads were effective because of their memorable catchphrase and the clever way in which it was presented. The “Where’s the Beef?” ad campaign has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon and a paragon of successful marketing.

Wendy’s continues to update the slogan for a new generation of customers by using it in advertising. The “Where’s the Beef?” campaign has left a lasting impression on popular culture; the slogan is often referenced in films, TV shows, and even political speeches.

Final Thoughts

Ads permeate our daily lives and shape our opinions about everything from specific products and services to the value of our own identities as consumers. We remember every one of these campaigns because of how much they impressed us.