Modern History's 6 Most Effective Ad Campaigns

Advertising is a powerful thing. The fact that an image, a slogan or a catchphrase, dreamed up in a room by a couple of people, can have an impact on millions of others may have once seemed mindblowin

Advertising is a powerful thing. The fact that an image, a slogan or a catchphrase, dreamed up in a room by a couple of people, can have an impact on millions of others may have once seemed mindblowing. But today, in the age of viral social media advertising campaigns, we're better understanding more and more the power of the 'catchphrase', aptly named because it so accurately catches the public imagination.

There's no denying the fact that advertising is an art, and some people out there are true artists. One ingenious idea can make millions for companies, or can skilfully win the hearts of many, guaranteeing brand recognition and even brand loyalty in the process.

Advertising can be truly groundbreaking and can even, at its most influential, change the fabric of society. A great example is Always' recent campaign. 'Always', producers of feminine hygiene products, recently dealt with the place of women in society by drawing attention to the stigma attached to the phrase 'like a girl'. They filmed a number of people's responses - males and females of different ages - when asked to run, throw and fight 'like a girl'. By demonstrating the intuitive negative stereotyping attached to the phrase, 'Always' had people all over the Western world reconsidering what equality between the sexes really means. The advertisement has clearly struck a chord with many people all over the world, with over 33 million Youtube hits since it was posted a few weeks ago. It's advertisements like these that are worth their weight in gold, bringing ingenuity and creativity to new heights.

With this in mind, let's take a look at some of the best advertising campaigns of all time, from how they were dreamed up to the incredible reception they received.

6 Coca Cola's "Share a Coke with...."


One of the most recent and most impressive global advertising campaigns took advantage of our narcissistic and selfie-obsessed culture by allowing the public to inadvertently do most of the brand's promotion themselves via photo sharing on social media.

5 Oreo's "You can still dunk in the dark"


This is a rather different one, as this advertisement by Oreo isn't exactly traditional (in the sense that it was posted on Twitter rather than airing on television or appearing in a magazine). However, it deserves to be included in this list because it is perhaps the greatest example of real-time marketing, a craze that is set to become much more widely employed in the future.

4 "Got Milk?"


3 Volkswagen's "Think Small"


Volkswagen's "Think Small" campaign is regularly cited as the greatest advertising campaign of all time. The planning and execution of this campaign was incredibly clever and careful - something which can only be appreciated fully when you look at the economic environment in which this ad found success. It was the 1950's, and America had become a commercial hub thanks to the economic upturn. However, many people were still harbouring uncomfortable feelings about the war, which had only just begun to become a memory. Imagine then, being given the task of promoting a car designed by Adolf Hitler and other Nazis in North America. That's a tough one...

2 "Take This Lollipop"


1 "5-A-Day"


5-A-Day is a term used when giving dietary advice. Many people believe that 5-A-Day is a reference to nutritionists telling people to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day. However, it may shock you to learn that 5-A-Day is actually an advertising campaign, not a nutritionalist's warning. The phrase was born from the "National five-a-day for better health" campaign which began in California in 1991. The campaign was run by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to try and convince people to eat more fruits and vegetables. Although advising people to eat healthier make sense, five portions of fruit and vegetables a day isn't defined by nutritional science as the 'perfect' amount of healthy foods to be eating. The number was just used for the slogan. In fact, many nutritionalists now recommend 7-8 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Despite this, many people believe that '5-a-day' is some sort of nutritional fact, when in reality, it's just the magic of advertising. To say the campaign spread like wildfire is an understatement: it's now used in over 25 countries.

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Modern History's 6 Most Effective Ad Campaigns