The Best Advertising Campaigns From Past and Present

Love them or hate them, advertisements are an important part of our modern world. Businesses use them to let potential customers know about their products and explain the benefits of their offering compared to alternatives.

Ads pay for most of the TV shows you watch, your free Spotify account, the social networks you use, and even help to subsidise your fares on public transport.

While some advertising campaigns may be a little annoying, there are many that are iconic sticking with us for years. Here are some of them.

Coca Cola – Share a Coke

It’s difficult to put together a selection of great ad campaigns without including Coca Cola in it somewhere. The American company has had countless campaigns that resonated with the public and got people talking. Ad executives have even somehow managed to get people to believe (incorrectly) that Coca Cola is the reason that Santa Clause wears red.

Coca Cola’s Share a Coke campaign is a little more recent though. It began in Australia in 2011 but quickly spread around the world. It was simple too, they just printed common names from each region on their bottles and cans, along with the words “Share a Coke with”.

It was supposed to encourage people to see Coca Cola’s drinks as a product to be enjoyed with friends and loved ones, but mostly just resulted in people rummaging through shelves of Coke bottles to find one with their name on. Either way, Coca Cola sold more of its fizzy liquids.

Pokerstars – I’M IN

Playing poker online became popular in the early 2000s during a period known as the “Poker Boom”. Players like Chris Moneymaker, who had been working as an accountant before he qualified for the World Series of Poker through an online poker site, made this possible. He went on to win the main event, inspiring many others who wanted to follow in his footsteps.

Today, poker is played by millions of people worldwide and one of the biggest and most popular platforms among players is PokerStars. The company recently refreshed its brand, launching its I’M IN campaign which is designed to “capture the essence of PokerStars” as a safe and trusted environment for adventure-seeking people.

After conducting extensive research among the PokerStars community, the company created I’M IN as a way of recognising its importance to the brand.

As part of the campaign, a 60-second TV ad and a range of digital assets were created for each of the brand’s markets around the world.

California Milk Processor Board – Got Milk

Milk is a staple product that is nearly always in your fridge. Getting people to buy more is a difficult challenge for any ad executive, but those at Goodby Silverstein & Partners who were working for the California Milk Processor Board rose to the challenge.

It didn’t try to encourage new people to drink milk. Instead, it focused on those that already did. The TV ads featured people in different everyday situations, such as people eating foods that are often paired with milk. When they reached for a carton in their fridge they would find there was no milk left.

The slogan, which was designed to stick in people’s minds while out shopping for groceries, was so successful that it is still in use today. According to its own website, the Got Milk? campaign is recognised by over 90% of Americans.

California Milk Processor Board - Got Milk

Apple – Get a Mac

Mac and PC users have debated for years over which computer system is better. In 2006, Apple embraced this as part of its ad campaigns. It ran for four years, using two people to represent the differences between the two systems.

The man representing a Mac was younger and dressed in casual wear, showing him to be “cooler”, while the PC man was older and dressed more formally.

One of the most famous showed the PC man sneezing because he’d come down with a virus. He warns the Mac guy to stay away from him, but he responds to say that Macs don’t get infected by most viruses before the PC man faints to simulate a computer crash.

The campaign was a huge success, increasing Mac sales by 39% in the first year.

Microsoft even responded to the ads with the “I’m a PC” campaign, showing the different personalities of people that use its products, contrasting against the rigid persona depicted in the Apple campaign.a