The 20 Best Advertisement Campaigns Of All Time

The 20 Best Advertisement Campaigns of All Time

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Product, audience, target, means – these are important ingredients for any advertisement campaign. However, for a great and successful ad campaign, the right combination of these ingredients is necessary for a decade-long impact.

Advertisement creates an opportunity for additional information to be shaped in a manner that the audience would like, and would make them act. Usually, this action could be to buy a product or check out a website. Thus, it is, therefore, important that the advertisement is lasting enough to make the target audience carry out the action.

The best commercials involve a great product, a well-thought audience, a specific target, and the right and effective means. Often, many ads draw attention to the content created and not the product, the best advertisements balance both.

Types of Advertisement

Since the internet, advertisement has not been the same. The internet opened up a lot of channels for companies to access their audience with quick roundabout feedback. Before the internet, TV and mainstream media were the medium to run an ad campaign. Before the TV and even during the big era of the TV, print media has made its make on the advertisement space. In between these periods, outdoor, public service, campaign events are alternatives and advertisement types companies use.

Digital or Online or Internet advertisement involves using web traffic to drive awareness and possibly sales. Platforms such as Google AdWords and Adsense allow companies to use other well-visited websites and apps to reach their expected audience. Though most entities are very specific to a target audience, they often fall into a trap to the vague application of ad campaigns.

TV commercials and Radio gingles gave room for companies to access the audience pretty quickly, since many people are always on the airwaves constantly. Print media is another big driver of sales and awareness. However, the internet has made it seem obsolete except for smaller and local audiences.

Outdoor and Public Service such as billboards, transit adverts, campaign events are still a big advertisement avenue, especially in high population density areas such as New York. A local beauty salon franchise, Johnny Andrean, made use of train handles to advertise their new hair strengthening product. Spotify enormous billboards are a big driver in the music industry. Campaign events such as the #MeToo movement were used to address gender equality and sexual harassment.

What is Advertisement Campaign

Ad campaigns are a series of advertisement with the same theme and focus with an organized aim to communicate a central message about a product to the consumers. Some popular ads we have all come to love and cherish are part of a series of communication workflow and process to help achieve the set objectives intended by the ad agency.

From here on, we would discuss some of the best advertisement examples, or to be more precise best ad campaigns of all time. These ads campaigns have advertisement examples that not only create sales or increase in awareness but an increased marketing communication channel or means.

The Best Advertising Campaigns of All Time

  1.  Just Do It

Company: Nike

Year: 1988

Means: Print, Television, Internet

Effect: Motivation, Empathy

It is almost impossible to say the short phrase, Just Do It, without the famous sportswear brand, Nike coming to mind. The ad agency in charge of creating an exceptional narrative for Nike was looking to spark motivation and link it with the sportswear themselves. For the most part, the new slogan helped Nike to inspire positive feelings in customers in and out of the sportswear space. Thus, making it a successful campaign which has since evolved with big stars such as Serena Williams and Tiger Woods using the slogan as backstories. Introducing the slogan via a TV ad featuring Walt Stack, an 80-year-old man, Nike hit the mark.

The impact of the slogan increased the sales of Nike sportswear to over $9.2 billion in 1998 from $800 million in 1988. Nike struck the empathy chord, making it one of the best marketing campaigns. With the last decade, more people have joined the Just Do It campaign via social networks reaching more and more individuals.


  1. Share a Coke

Company: Coca-Cola

Year: 2014

Means: Print and Internet

Effect: Personalization

Starting in Australia for a personalized effect on the customer, Coca-Cola sought to inspire empathy among people and increase the love for the drink. To begin with, Coca-Cola started with just 250 of the most common names with expanded to 1000 names. Then song lyrics from popular songs and nicknames. The anticipation for the name you might get on your bottle drove the effectiveness of the ad campaign. Besides, the emotional advertisement videos that accompanied the campaign, Share A Coke, Share A Feeling, boosted the decline in Coke consumption. Also, the custom-made coke bottles hit the home run for Coca-Cola on their ad campaign.

The campaign had an instant impact and buzz. According to Ogilvy, the ad agency responsible for the campaign, Coke’s category share increase by 4% and young adults’ consumption by 7%. Also, the campaign pushed its online presence with the #ShareACoke hashtag. Hence, the call to action was the big selling point. Consumers were asked to share a coke with a special person or a loved one or a John or a David. Besides, the effect of the campaign is still being felt.


  1. #LikeAGirl

Company: Always; Procter & Gamble

Year: 2014

Means: Television, Internet

Effect: Cultural Shift, Penetration

With a TV ad and a hashtag, Always intended to connect and relate with the teen and young adult bracket from a cultural standpoint. Hence, the campaign, #LikeAGirl did justice to creating awareness about what females face and how gender affects their view to life, self-esteem and confidence. The #LikeAGirl campaign became a famous advertisement that resonated with both genders and increased their media placement and brand exposure. With over 90 million views and over 150k tweets and massive followership, Always saw their sales increase over 50% with the 16- to 24-year-old age group. Subsequently, engagement increased alongside penetration, Always used the campaign to set up a good sales foundation.


  1. Get a Mac

Company: Apple

Year: 2006

Means: Television

Effect: Understanding the Product

Competing with another top brand within a category? Why not explain why you are better? That might work. And it did work for Apple. Apple started a series of TV ads which ran for about 4 years, 2006 to 2009, to simply make a fair comparison of both the PC and the Mac. The ad showed the Mac to be more relatable and useful for the actual personal task rather than the nerdy PC.

Singularly, the ‘Get a Mac’ campaign increased the Mac sales by over 39% with over 1.3 million Macs sold by July 2000 end. Pure understanding and effective comparison that resonates worked for Apple and did for a long time.


  1. Dumb Ways to Die

Company: Metro Trains

Year: 2012

Means: Internet, Radio

Effect: Information and Awareness

Understanding the dangers around us and in the train station was the goal for Metro train, and Dumb Ways to Die did just that. It became a hit due to the comical and animated approach used. For the most part, The internet video explained in simple terms dumb ways people could die and the dumbest way to die at a train track. Besides, the song used in the ad to pass the message was loveable, catchy and became a radio jingle and was even available on iTunes to reach an even wider audience.

According to the ad agency, McCann, who ran the ad campaign, $50 million worth of global media value was generated and a massive 30% drop in “near-miss” accident around train tracks. Afterward, a game resulted out of the massive success of the awareness campaign.


  1. The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Company: Old Spice

Year: 2010

Means: Television, Internet

Effect: Desire

Named as one of the best ads campaigns of the 21st century by Ad Age, The Man Your Man Could Smell like raised body wash sales for Old Spice by over 60%, and created a very interactive campaign. In this case, Wieden+Kennedy targeted the ad towards couples jumpstarted what would help define Old Spice as a body wash brand. In addition to using various short interactive video responses, the buzz about the campaign grew more and more. Furthermore, the response videos were based on common questions on social media platforms, giving the advertisement a unique and more personalized touch.


  1. You’re Not You When You’re Hungry

Company: Snickers

Year: 2012

Means: Television

Effect: Funny and Impactful

The “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” is hat off Snickers best marketing campaign in a long time. The catchphrase has soon become a household slogan today. Drawn from a comical standpoint, Betty White who plays a young man named Mike’s alter ego during a game of football who returns to himself when his girlfriend gave him a Snicker. The sequences and the star made it the best ad for the Super Bowl, which saw Snickers increase sale by 15.9% in the first year. After two years, the company made $376 million. In short, the beauty of the campaign is the simple and small variations to the initial Hungry Betty White version which made it run for years. This resulted in internal engagement and increase penetration with over 80 countries.



Company: United State (or Uncle Sam)

Year: 1916

Means: Print

Effect: Personalization, Recruitment

It might have been on print alone, but it can be said to be the biggest ad campaign in Americans History. This famous advertisement drove motivation and resilience and belief. Consequently, the popular ad sought to bring young men to fight for America in World War I. Particularly giving the young men a sense of a higher purpose. Four million of the ‘I Want You’ copies were printed and were largely successful that during the Second World War, it was used. 

  1. We Can Do It!

Company: Westinghouse Electric

Year: 1942

Means: Print

Effect: Inspire motivation among women in the workplace.

Now a sign for feminism, self-empowerment, advocating for women’s right, the “We Can Do it” poster was an internal motivation poster. To begin with Howard Miller developed the poster alongside a series of posters to raise worker morale, reduce absenteeism, eliminate strike. After, the now-famous ad was used in February 1943 to motivate women who worked for Westinghouse to work more and harder. Finding its way to the National Archive, in 1982, the poster was released via a Washington Post article. From here on, women will soon use it as a symbol for belief and motivation including celebrities and politicians such as Beyoncé, Pink, Hillary Clinton driving the notion that women can do just what anyone can do.

  1. When I Grow Up…


Year: 1999

Means: Television

Effect: Motivation

Powered by Mullen Advertising, used the reality of life that many people realize when they start their careers. Starring young kids stating that they want to be lowly management and have lowly jobs sparked an unconventional and motivating conversation on how people fail to get their dream jobs. As a result, according to Ad Age, there was a 66.6% increase with web traffic to the monster platform every month after the commercial. The ad hit the fear factor of people with a balanced approach to motivation. With such a concept in place and a growing disbelief in Corporate and Mainstream America, Monster got the prize.


  1.  Whassup

Company: Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser)

Year: 1999

Means: TV

Effect: Define Culture

This ad campaign redefined the way we talked to one another. It created a new craze. People especially young adults loved and used the catchphrase, Whassup! In addition to becoming a pop culture, the ad made Budweiser more popular and reinstating its name as a cool beer company. The short film or ad focused on the true nature of friends and how friends tend to have weird catchphrase and common denomination, which in this case was the Bud and the phrase, Whassup. Particularly, It ran from 1999 to 2002 and won the Cannes Grand Prix and Grand Clio award. Even during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, a remake of the whassup was made to let people know to stay connected over a bud regardless of the distance. It’s a classic and one of the best commercials of all time.


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  1. Thank You, Mom

Company: Procter & Gamble

Year: 2012

Means: Television

Effects: Emotions and Motivation

For the most part, some of the best advertisements come from a place of emotions and identification of actual situations. Intending to increase its global audience, the Olympics seemed a perfect medium. But how? With P&G, Wieden+Kennedy used the story of the mums behind all the athletes. Such as the emotional struggle and push that they continuously give became a centre point of the campaign. Together with a great tagline, “P&G, Proud Sponsor of Moms” people had a nostalgic feeling and connection to the brand, allowing them to be part of something big. Besides, with every Olympics, the campaign becomes bigger.

Furthermore, the emotional connection created by P&G increased their sales by $500 million and 76 billion global media impressions. Using a large platform such as the Olympic, P&G used something that connected all of us, our Moms. The Unsung Heroes.


  1. The Absolut Bottle

Company: Absolut Vodka

Year: 1986

Means: Print, Internet

Effect: Distinction and Variety

Becoming the longest ad campaign in the world, Absolut Vodka didn’t sell as many bottles as it sells now. From the mind of Andy Warhol, he used the artfulness of the Absolut bottle to create a distinct class for the brand. In addition, collaboration and creativity take center stage in depicting the Absolut bottles. As far as the ad campaign was, Absolut was practically selling the bottles rather than the drink.

With 1,500 separate ads over 25 years, Absolut Vodka could create a unique brand. Within the 25 years, they have introduced other advertisement means such as Absolut Night, Absolut deadmau5 to create unforgettable experiences with the bottles at the centre. With all the approaches in place, Absolut was importing 4.5 million cases per year as to the 10000 cases they sold before the campaign. As a result, Absolut bottle is one of the top famous ads that created unforgettable brand experiences and related to the consumers.


  1. Great Taste, Less Filling

Company: Miller Lite

Year: 1974

Means: Print, Television

Effect: Distinction

Developed by McCann-Erickson, the Miller Brewing Company introduced a light beer into the market and created its own very own distinction, less filling but with Great taste. “Taste Great…Less Filling!” campaigns portrayed the beer as everything the consumer wanted with a beer but with less filling.  To get more and more base with the consumers, they introduced more athletes and celebrities to the campaign with the same theme, Great Taste, Less Filling.

Since the begin of the campaign up until now, Miller Lite has dominated the light beer market they created. Having left the campaign in 1999, in 2008, the company revisited the campaign to help with falling market share. Thus, the campaign depicted the difference between their brand and others alongside everything everyone loved about beer . According to the Ad Age, it was the eight-best ads campaign in advertisement history.


  1. Back to the Start

Company: Chipotle

Year: 2011

Means: Television

Effect: Motivation, Cultural Shift

This award-winning ad promoted sustainable practice within farming with some bit of emotion. Together with the video, the song used, the Willie Nelson’s cover of the Coldplay’s “The Scientist”, set in motion the atmosphere of change as the farmer’s life progress from a natural farming practice to an industrial phase back to a natural and sustainable practice. However, it’s the scene where the farmer was alone in the winter that has the epiphany that strikes the chord. The advertisement gives a notion that chipotle use these sustainable measures and also makes consumer believe in demanding for such measures.


  1. Where’s the Beef?

Company: Wendy’s

Year: 1984

Means: Print, Television

Effect: Distinction

Starring three elderly ladies who receive a burger with big bun expecting to see a sizeable amount of beef, only to be disappointed by a little beef size. After, Clara Peller, one of the elderly ladies, asks the soon-to-famous catchphrase, “Where is the Beef?” The famous advertisement and following marketing campaigns focused on giving the notion that Wendy’s had more beef than its rivals, and that its rivals focused more on the buns.

Subsequently becoming a catchphrase, Wendy’s sales increased by 31% in the same year the ad campaign started. Due to some controversy involving Clara Peller in an ad for Prego, the campaign ended in 1985 and this resulted in a dip in sales for Wendy for 5 years. This goes to show how powerful the campaign was for Wendy’s.


  1. Think Small

Company: Volkswagen

Year: 1960

Means: Print

Effect: Distinction, Honesty, Perception

To make America like or lovethe Volkswagen brand, the ad agency, DDD, intended to change people’s perceptive about the brand and the cars they made. Instead of using catchy phrases, DDD used the core properties of the car to create some advantage as to why it was a good option. Not better than other brands. Just good. And it worked. Simplicity, Honesty, Humour.

The series of ads showed how something which could be viewed as a disadvantage can be turned to advantage especially with the size of the car. One of the print ads had the header, “And if you run out of gas, it’s easy to push.” The print ads hook you with the headers or titles and make you read every line to end. Soon, it became the best-selling import car in America within the decade the campaign started. Finally, the AdAge named it the best advertisement of the 20th century.

  1. Got Milk?

Company: California Milk Processor Board

Year: 1993

Means: Print, Television

Effect: Advocacy and Appreciation

Intending to make current milk lovers increase their love and usage of milk, the California Milk Processor Board started the Got Milk? ad campaign which increased milk sales by over 7% in the year it started. The first poster which was released in 1993 alongside a captivating TV ad has continued till date and is associated with an increase in milk sales across California. In the meantime, the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign has been licensed and used in many celebrity print ads and even by other boards. 


  1. Does She or Doesn’t She?

Company: Clairol

Year: 1957

Means: Print

Effect: Projection

Considered as one of the best marketing campaigns, Clairol ran one of the most iconic and best ads campaign for 15 years which increased sales by over 413% in the first 6 years holding a 50% market share and changing the social norms. At the DMW in some states, it was no longer required to state hair colour especially when 1 in every 2 women used artificial hair colour as to 1 in every 15 before the campaign. Generally, the campaign aimed and delivered at making artificial hair colour a part of every woman’s life without a distinguishable difference. This query effectively showed how the product worked without having to say how it worked.

  1. Oh, What a feeling!

Company: Toyota

Year: 1979

Means: Television

Effect: Objectivity, Understanding and Branding

Just like the Apple ‘Get A Mac’ campaign, the Toyota campaign stressed quality and comfort over the ‘nerdy’ features and specifications. Incidentally, the campaign worked alongside what we say to be the iconic Toyota Jump. For the most part, the ad campaign created a feel-wonderful connection between the buyer and the company, Toyota. Consequently, the six-year campaign became a part of the American lexicon. The campaign might have ended a long-time ago, but the feeling of connection and the essence of quality over overbearing performance is still being a powerful part of its brand. Though Toyota was already a best seller, it created a brand image that has stuck with people over the years. Comfort.


What makes a great TV commercial or video ad?

As stated earlier, a great product, a specific audience, and a target, effective means make a great advertisement. Thus, if any of this is lacking, you might want to rethink how you approach the whole ordeal. Therefore, a careful analysis of the above advertisement examples should give a good understanding of the whole process. Alongside, these things and concepts come consistency and focus. Also, cultural sensitivity and brand authenticity come to play well within the confines of a good ad campaign. Famous ads put all these into consideration.

In 2018, H&M made an embarrassing mistake of placing an African-American child with a green sweatshirt that had a slogan, “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”, which made users call the company out for lack of cultural sensitivity. Every company should, therefore, be careful of what they put out to represent their brand and should do so consistently. Finally, every one of the famous ads you know in the background keeps these concepts at heart.

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The Lesson

Every company has its product, and its product has its features, and those features attract a specific set of consumers. Therefore, target your ad campaigns and shape them towards such a demographic and just be sure to join a long list of popular ads.

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