The ten most successful marketing campaigns of all time (2023)

"The best plots in the world aren't going to change one person's mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story."

— Writer and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers,top story

Effective marketing campaigns are just that: powerful stories. As marketers, we can learn from the most successful marketing campaign examples to deliver fun, moving, engaging, and memorable ads that resonate with customers and build brand reputation. Marketing pioneers are going beyond intelligent data analytics and cutting-edge technology to find ways to bring insights together in creative and imaginative ways.

The best marketers know how to create a campaign vision, develop a strategy, develop impactful visual and written content, analyze data and measure success; Marketers learn these skills and more in aMaster of Arts in Communication. If you're passionate about telling brand stories, discover some of the most successful marketing campaigns and how you can use similar strategies to improve your company's marketing efforts.

The 10 most successful marketing campaigns

  • 1. Nike
  • 2. Pepsi
  • 3. California Board of Milk Processors
  • 4. Paloma
  • 5. Ancient Spice
  • 6. Cola
  • 7. Laughter
  • 8. GoPro
  • 9. Apple
  • 10. Heineken

1. Nike: "Just do it" campaign

One of the most famous examples of marketing campaigns is Nike's "Just do it" campaign. Nikestarted the campaignin 1988 and featured professional and amateur athletes sharing their achievements and inspiring viewers to do the same. One of the campaign's first television spots featured an 80-year-old marathon runner named Walt Stack, a dedicated athlete who runs 17 miles every morning.

After the campaign launched, thousands of people submitted personal stories about times they've decided to take the leap and 'just do it', from quitting their job to losing over a hundred pounds. The line became Nike's iconic catchphrase and continues to represent the brand.

What made this marketing campaign successful?

Nike made an emotional connection with its audience, connecting meaningful stories to its core values ​​of motivation, inspiration and healthy living. Nike's decision to incorporate the company's value proposition with an emotional message made the marketing campaign a smashing success.

Key takeaways for marketers:

Outline your value propositions and connect emotionally with your audience to make them feel connected to your brand.

Related course:

Marketers can take the COM 540 course titledEmbracing the Brand: Brand Development, Strategy and Executionto learn how to build brands that people recognize, remember and respect.

(Video) Best Marketing Campaigns of the Last Decade: 2010 - 2020 - Digital Uncovered

2. Pepsi: The "Is Pepsi okay?" Bell jar

During Super Bowl LIII, Pepsi debuted a TV commercial that people would keep talking about. He"Is Pepsi okay?"The commercial starred Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe winner Steve Carell, Grammy-nominated artist Cardi B and Grammy-winning artist Lil Jon in a funny and hilarious skit. In the ad, a waiter asks a customer ordering a Coke, "Is Pepsi okay?" and Carell clarifies in his monologue that Pepsi is "more than fine." This ad plays on the typical scenario where people order a coke and the waiter assumes Pepsi isn't their first choice. The announcement was coupled with the Pepsi-sponsored halftime show, a "Planet Pepsi" after-party, limited-edition cans, and the Pepsi Rookie of the Year award. The iconic brand used America's number one sporting event to start a conversation about why Pepsi is better than average.

What made this marketing campaign successful?

The key to the success of the Pepsi campaign was confidence. Marketers used real scenarios that their customers have in restaurants when they find their product. Every time a waiter asks a customer, "Is Pepsi okay?" The customer will inevitably associate the statement with the overwhelmingly positive marketing and campaign message.

Key takeaways for marketers:

Find out how your consumers perceive your brand and use it to your advantage in confident marketing campaigns.

Related course:

The COM540Embracing the Brand: Brand Development, Strategy and ExecutionThe course also helps students understand brand perception and positively position new and existing brands for specific audiences.

3. California Milk Processors Board: "Do you have milk?" Bell jar

Few campaigns have used influencer marketing as effectively as the California Milk Processor Board."Do you have milk?" Bell jar. In 1993, a focus group led by a partner at San Francisco-based advertising firm Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, named Jon Steel, asked respondents to avoid consuming milk for a week before participating in the study. The study aimed to collect dairy habits to help Steel pitch creative strategies to a new client, the California Milk Processor Board. Participants discussed the importance of not consuming milk. How would you eat your cereal? What would you dip a cookie in? Why was life without milk so boring?

The concept "Do you have milk?" it was about the fear you feel when you run out of milk. This seemingly simple concept has been reinforced by the connections between celebrities and pop culture. The ad ran for more than two decades, running about 70 commercials in California alone and about 350 milk mustache ads nationwide in print media and on television. The campaign tapped into a time when celebrity influence was at an all-time high, and as a result, the ads were particularly visible and influential.

What made this marketing campaign successful?

The "Do you have milk?" The campaign creators used consumer research, direct writing, and influencer marketing to create an impactful ad series. Since the ad's client was the California Milk Processor Board, it made sense to include Hollywood stars and celebrities. It soon became fashionable to flaunt a milk mustache on a billboard.

Key takeaways for marketers:

Gather insights into pop culture trends from your consumers to develop relevant stories for the right audiences.

Related course:

Courses like COM 520Embrace Research: Market communication researchHelp marketers develop the skills to conduct the research and data needed to inform current trends, target demographics, and more.

"Do you have milk?" advertising over the years

4. Pigeon: Real Beauty campaign.

People want to hear stories that matter, and Dove's Real Beauty campaign delivered a moving and authentic message that the beauty industry desperately needs.The Dove real beauty campaignwas launched by Unilever in 2004 to empower women and children. The first campaign involved research and reported that only 2% of women consider themselves beautiful. The next phase involved a series of billboards featuring real women instead of models. The campaign was well received and expanded into other forms of media to promote aging, different body types and transparency around wigs, blemishes and so-called 'blemishes'. The mission of the ads was to highlight how damaging the beauty industry can be to young women and to redefine beauty.

(Video) Top 10 Companies with the Best Advertising Campaigns

What made this marketing campaign successful?

The Dove Real Beauty campaign was celebrated for using marketing to positively impact the cultural landscape, industry and consumer lives. The campaign continues today to break down #BeautyBias and help "make beauty a source of confidence, not fear". This campaign is coupled with change initiatives like The Dove Self-Esteem Project, which is helping children redefine their definition of beauty. .

Key takeaways for marketers:

Pick a real issue that aligns with your organization's values ​​and use marketing efforts to positively impact your community.

Related course:

Courses like COM 580Embracing the Audience: Empathy and EthicsDemonstrate how to combine social justice initiatives with an organization's value proposition and purpose.

5. Old Spice: "The man your man can smell like" campaign.

It's hard to forget a funny story. In this powerful example of a marketing campaign, Old Spice uses humor to engage its audience and position its brand as the top choice for men's grooming. The original television commercial features a man and a 30-second monologue. In this clip, actor Isaiah Mustafa, now known as "Old Spice Man," addresses a female audience and says, "Hello ladies. Look at your man, now come back to me, now come back to your man, now come back to me. Unfortunately he is not me. But if I stopped using women's scented shower gel and switched to Old Spice, I could smell like me." He's conceited, over the top and direct in his manner of speaking. The general reception of the commercial was positive; the ad boosted that Brand awareness for Old Spice's range of men's grooming and hygiene products.

What made this marketing campaign successful?

The Old Spice Man commercial is fast-paced, punchy, and funny. The ad was theatrical and easy to recite over and over with friends. The commercial also plays with the notion of identity, hinting at a broader message that Old Spice allows its consumers to be closer to the type of man they want to be.

Key takeaways for marketers:

Don't just identify what your customers want; identify who they want to be and build a brand personality that embodies that character. When used correctlyHumor is related to a larger memory, making your ad and brand more memorable.

Related course:

The COM 540 is naturally calledEmbracing the Brand: Brand Development, Strategy and Executionteaches students how to set the right tone and message for a marketing campaign based on each individual brand.

6. Coca-Cola: “Share Cola” campaign.

In a hot summer, Coca-Cola launched its famous“Share Coke” campaign.through various channels in Australia to encourage people to come together and share a Coca-Cola. It wasn't long before the movement spread internationally. The campaign printed various names on Coca-Cola bottles with the phrase "Share a Coke with...". Although the ads ran in print ads, commercials, bus wraps and billboards, the most successful distribution platform was social media. Consumers bought their own branded Coca-Cola bottles and shared a picture of the names online. Consumers tried to find their names and searched for the names of their friends and family. The entire campaign was about personalization and connection.

What made this marketing campaign successful?

To develop the Share a Coke campaign, Coca-Cola and advertising agency Ogilvy teamed up to capitalize on the popular behavior of their desired audience; Millennials and sharing on social networks.

Key takeaways for marketers:

Conduct research to determine how your target market behaves online and market to them in a familiar manner on the relevant channels.

(Video) 10 of The most successful marketing campaigns of all time

Related course:

of COM520Embrace Research: Market communication researchThe course is designed to teach marketers how to conduct relevant consumer research and use data to personalize the customer journey.

7. Snickers: "It's not you when you're hungry."

Celebrity appearances continue to capture viewers' attention at Snickers"It's not you when you're hungry" campaign.Snickers recruited everyone from Steve Buscemi to Betty White to act like ordinary people, disturbed by their hunger, behaving in unlikely ways in this unforgettable move. The ads begin with celebrities in unexpected settings, such as: B. Betty White being approached on a soccer field, ending with the celebrity taking a bite out of a Snickers bar and reverting to her true form. The catchphrase "You're not when you're hungry" refers to the common human experience of becoming excited and angry with hunger.

What made this marketing campaign successful?

This Snicker campaign is effective because it uses comedy to highlight how their product, a quick and easy candy bar, is the perfect solution to the ubiquitous problem of "hunger." The brand identified a customer pain point and positioned Snickers as a viable solution.

Key takeaways for marketers:

Audiences respond well to clever ads that feel both surreal and relatable; Work with well-known influencers to create high-impact ads that can do this.

Related course:

Students can explore the use of social media influencers in COM 640Integration of digital media, mobile and new technologiesCourse.

8. GoPro: "Awards" Campaign

Die GoPro-AwardsThe campaign markets content creators to submit their best GoPro videos, clips and photos for a chance to be featured and paid. The campaign features multiple ways to win, including the Photo of the Day Challenge, the Anything Awesome Challenge, and the Be a HERO Challenge. Each challenge caters to a different type of content creator, from professional photographers to philanthropists. The genius behind the GoPro campaign is that it encourages people to use the product and fosters a community around photography. Following its continued success, the GoPro team recently celebrated five years of the GoPro Awards.

What made this marketing campaign successful?

This inspirational photo contest succeeded in building a community, inspiring consumers and publicizing the highest capabilities of the GoPro product. As photographers compete to share the best possible photos and videos, the GoPro device is also seen as a desirable tool for other content creators who want to do the same.

Key takeaways for marketers:

Marketers can refer to this example marketing campaign to inspire campaigns that leverage customer experiences successfully. Encourage user-generated content by incentivizing consumers to use and share their personal experiences with your products or services.

Related course:

On the COM 640, students can also learn how to use user-generated content on all platforms.Integration of digital media, mobile and new technologiesCourse.

(Video) Top 10 Bizarre Advertising Campaigns That Worked

9. Apple: "Creativity Continues" campaign

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Apple released theCampaign "Creativity goes on". The commercial brings together individuals and families at home during lockdown, who are using their Apple devices to record videos, snap photos, stream content and engage in other creative activities. In the words of Apple: “We have always believed in the power of creativity. Now more than ever, we're inspired by people from all corners of the world who are finding new ways to share their creativity, ingenuity, humanity and hope." Set to a moving piano soundtrack, the commercial demonstrates the simple Joys people experience while confined to their homes at a strange time.

What made this marketing campaign successful?

In this example of a successful marketing campaign, Apple behaved like a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds of the pandemic. Apple also promoted positive AppleTV shows, like John Kransinki's "Some Good News" special and Oprah's live shows, to energize its audiences. As a result, Apple created a connection with its brand as a genuine, uplifting, and supportive presence during difficult times.

Key takeaways for marketers:

Break through the market noise by tackling a hotly debated topic differently than your competitors.

Related course:

Students can enroll in the COM 590 courseEmbrace strategic thinking: marketing strategy and planningto learn how to effectively plan marketing campaigns to stand out.

10. Heineken - "Worlds Apart" campaign

In times of division, Heineken did its best to investigate and conduct its own case study on human differences, openness and determination. The brewery company consulted with doctors and researchers to see if interacting with another person might make people more open; this was the beginning of theWorlds Apart campaign.Heineken has joined forcesthe human library, an organization that challenges prejudice and stereotypes through conversations with real people and their personal stories about being transgender, living with mental illness, navigating new environments as refugees, and more. This campaign elicited more than just an emotional response from its audience; it provided real solutions between people with opposing worldviews.

What made this marketing campaign successful?

Getting caught up in divisive conversations can be challenging for businesses, especially when it comes to marketing initiatives. Heineken conducted the necessary research and sought expert advice to address sensitive issues such as feminism, transgender rights and climate change. The campaign was moving because it highlighted very real issues in the geopolitical and public spheres. The campaign felt more like a case study in human behavior than a beer ad.

Key takeaways for marketers:

Don't be afraid to participate in the important conversations. If you're unsure how to approach a sensitive topic, consult experts and work with third-party organizations and research teams to get your message across.

Related course:

The COM580Embracing the Audience: Empathy and EthicsThe course demonstrates how to combine social justice initiatives with a company's value proposition to deliver a powerful message to audiences in a sensitive and respectful manner.

Build a powerful marketing campaign with a Master of Arts in Communication

Learn how to use conceptual thinking to tell stories consumers love. In a rapidly changing communications and marketing landscape, the online Master of Arts in Communication program at St. Bonaventure University gives you the tools to create a campaign vision, design a strategy, develop high-touch content for target audiences to analyze data and measure success.

In our flexible, fully online program, you choose one of two specializations – Integrated Marketing Communications or Content Marketing – that best suits your professional interests. Our alumni are among the most forward-thinking professionals in their fields, working at Fortune 500 companies, using their cutting-edge knowledge and creativity to create change. We are also one of three schools offering ACEJMC accredited online graduate programs.

(Video) The Best Marketing Ever | Art Of Selling | NEURO MARKETING | SHOT BY SHOT

Learn how to design the next impactful marketing campaign with an online Master of Arts in Communication.


Was the Scream VI marketing campaign a success? ›

Scream VI, the latest installment in the iconic horror franchise, has been a box office success, grossing over $120 million worldwide so far. The film's marketing campaign played a significant role in its success, with Paramount Pictures using a variety of tactics to reach audiences in unexpected ways.

What is the campaigns greatest success? ›

  1. Nike: "Just Do It" Campaign. ...
  2. Pepsi: The "Is Pepsi OK?" Campaign. ...
  3. 3. California Milk Processor Board: "Got Milk?" Campaign. ...
  4. Dove: "Real Beauty" Campaign. ...
  5. Old Spice: "The Man Your Man Can Smell Like" Campaign. ...
  6. Coca-Cola: "Share a Coke" Campaign. ...
  7. Snickers: “You're not you when you're hungry.” ...
  8. GoPro: “Awards” Campaign.
Jun 7, 2022

What is successful marketing campaign? ›

A marketing campaign is essentially a promotion created to reach a specific goal with a beginning and an end date. Planning is everything and, while no two successful marketing campaigns will be exactly the same, they all follow a fairly logical and predictable set of characteristics: The audience. The content.

Was Scream 1996 successful? ›

The film received positive reviews and was a financial success, earning $173 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing slasher film until the release of Halloween (2018). It still remains the highest-grossing slasher film in adjusted dollars.

Is The Scream stolen? ›

The 1910 version of The Scream was stolen on 22 August 2004, during daylight hours, when masked gunmen entered the Munch Museum in Oslo and stole it and Munch's Madonna. A bystander photographed the robbers as they escaped to their car with the artwork.

What was the most expensive marketing campaign ever? ›

1) Apple's “Think Different” advertising campaign cost $137 million. The campaign was launched in 1997 and featured black-and-white photos of famous historical and cultural figures, such as Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Bob Dylan, and Martin Luther King Jr.

What is the longest running ad campaign in the world? ›

The world's longest running TV commercial is the Discount Tire Company's Thank you commercial, produced by Swartwout Productions (Arizona, USA) and first aired in 1975. The same commercial has been aired continuously every year in parts of the USA.

What is the most powerful advertising strategy? ›

Most effective marketing strategy: Content marketing

If you are looking for the overall most effective marketing strategy for small business, content marketing is the winner.

Why was the Nike Just Do It campaign so successful? ›

The campaign embodied Nike's image as an innovative American icon associated with success through the combination of professional athletes and motivational slogans emphasizing sportsmanship and health. This led to customers associating their purchases with the prospect of achieving greatness.

What are the 5 most important aspects of successful marketing? ›

That being said, these are the 5 most important aspects of successful marketing for any business.
  • Define your target audience. ...
  • Care about what your customers care about. ...
  • Become a resource. ...
  • Get your reviews up. ...
  • Be accessible online.
Jul 24, 2015

What are the 4 types of marketing? ›

What are the 4Ps of marketing? (Marketing mix explained) The four Ps are product, price, place, and promotion. They are an example of a “marketing mix,” or the combined tools and methodologies used by marketers to achieve their marketing objectives.

What are the 5 essential parts of a marketing campaign? ›

The components of a marketing campaign include a planning stage, evaluating how the results of the campaign will be measured, determining a target market, how the campaign will be delivered, how to achieve results, and finally, to assess how well the campaign did.

Why is The Scream franchise so successful? ›

Of the various reasons behind the original film's success, Craven and Williamson's meta approach to the slasher genre quickly made Scream a horror classic, finding a way to expertly balance a self-aware sense of humor for the issues plaguing the subgenre while also playing out many of its tropes.

Was Scream 4 successful? ›

Box office. Scream 4 grossed $38.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $59 million in other territories, for a total gross of $97.2 million, against its budget of $40 million. The film was released in 3,305 theaters on 4,400 screens and grossed over $1 million in its midnight previews.

Did Scream 5 make money? ›

Box office. Scream grossed $81.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $57.2 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $138.9 million. Deadline Hollywood estimated the net profit of the film to be $56.7 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues.

How successful was Scream 5? ›

Ghostface and Jenna Ortega in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group's "Scream." Scream (aka Scream 5) pulled something of a box office miracle this long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. The R-rated slasher movie topped the charts with a robust $30.6 million Fri-Sun/$35 million Fri-Mon domestic debut.


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