1. Volkswagen: “Think Small”
Americans always had a propensity to buy big American cars, but even 15 years after WWII ended, Americans really didn’t buy small German cars. So what did this Volkswagen advertisement do? It played right into the audience’s expectations. You think I’m small? Yeah, I am. They never tried to be something they were not -- and that's the most important lesson we can learn from this campaign. Don’t try to sell your company, product, or service as something it’s not. Consumers appreciate honesty just as much as they appreciate hot girls in beer commercials.
2. Miller Lite: “Great Taste, Less Filling”
Speaking of beer commercials, how does creating a whole new market for your product, and then dominating that market sound? The goal of this Miller Lite campaign was getting "real men" to drink light beer. The common misconception was that you couldn’t drink a light beer that actually tasted good. So Miller Lite took on the debate, and in every ad featured two manly idols declare which was better -- "Great Taste" or "Less Filling."
And with Miller Lite, you could have both! For decades after this campaign aired, Miller Lite dominated the light beer market they essentially created. What’s the lesson we as marketers can learn? Strive to be different. If people tell you there isn’t room for a product, make it your own and define the category so you can quickly become the leader.
3. Nike: “Just Do It.”
The campaign was a hit. In 1988, Nike sales were at a measly (hah) $800 million; by 1998, sales exceeded $9.2 billion. "Just Do It." was short and sweet, yet encapsulated everything people felt when they were exercising -- and that feeling remains the same today. Don’t want to run 5 miles? Just Do It. Don’t want walk up 4 flights of stairs? Just Do It. It's a human truth we all could relate to, that drive to push yourself further.
So when you're trying to decide the best way to present your brand, ask yourself what problem are you solving for your customers. What solution does your product or service provide? By hitting on that core issue in all of your marketing messaging, you will connect with consumers on an emotional level that is hard to ignore.
4. Absolut Vodka: The Absolut Bottle
Absolut made their very boring, basic bottle the most recognizable bottle in the world. It was so successful they didn’t stop running it for 25 years, is still the longest uninterrupted ad campaign ever, and comprises over 1500 separate ads. I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
When the campaign started, Absolut had a measly 2.5% of the vodka market; when the campaign ended in the late 2000s, they were importing 4.5 million cases, or half of all imported vodka in the US according to d. drew design. So what’s a marketer's lesson here? No matter how boring your product looks, it doesn’t mean you can’t tell your story in an interesting way. Let me repeat: Absolut created 1500 ads of one bottle. Be determined and differentiate your product in the same way!
5. Marlboro: “Marlboro Man”
The Marlboro Man ads were the epitome of what a brand could do if it created a lifestyle around its product. You want to be free. You want to be a man. You want to be on the open range. Well, that’s a Marlboro Man. The ads were effective because they captured that dream lifestyle that we all wish we could escape to someday. So what's the lesson? It's not to have an addicting product. But when you are creating content for your product, remember that it must fit into a person’s lifestyle, even if it's an idealized lifestyle. As cigarettes themselves have proved, it's easier to create a lifestyle than to change one.
6. Apple: “Get a Mac”
While there have been many great Apple campaigns, this one made the list above all others because no campaign has captured a consumer group's persona quite like "I’m
a Mac." You know that guy; you know exactly who they were talking about as soon as they came on the...
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