10 Legendary Examples of Effective Marketing Campaigns

Closeup of people sitting at a table with a large flow chart that says 'marketing strategy' Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

A good marketing campaign can increase brand awareness, drive sales and connect the brand to a broader audience. And over the years, we’ve seen a number of great ad campaigns do all of the above with both online and offline marketing.

And although there’s been a shift in the way companies market their brand, with more and more going viral, the essence of marketing campaigns hasn’t changed much.

Here we’ve uncovered the best examples of marketing campaigns and explained why they were so successful.

1. Google

Google’s ‘Year in Search’ advert has been going strong since 2009, reminding all users just how powerful the search engine tool is. Every year, Google puts together a well-thought-out ad campaign, highlighting the most commonly searched terms and questions over the past year. By doing so, they highlight important topics and events that happen across the world.

2017’s video featured catastrophic events, politics, family, day-to-day living and, most importantly, ‘how to make a difference’. At the end of the two-minute clip, you’ll be left feeling emotional and hopeful for the future, even though we live in a world full of catastrophe – the video highlights the fact that your life can be beautiful, even though it’s surrounded by all these tragic events.

Why it works: This advertisement instantly makes a personal connection with every audience member. It highlights real-life events, pulls on our heartstrings and makes us thankful to have a service like Google that gives us the opportunity to learn about all these life events.

2. Sephora

As brick-and-mortar shops are slowly going out of business and their sales are declining, Sephora realised that they needed to up their digital game and interact with their customers online, bringing the birth of their Virtual Artist app. Virtual Artist uses augmented reality and artificial intelligence that allows users to try different makeup products that they can then purchase online or in-store.

TechRepublic reported that since launching the app, Sephora Virtual Artist has seen 200 million shades tried on and over 8.5 million visits to the feature.

Why it works: Sephora has found a great way to connect with customers and effectively move with the times of digital marketing. By launching this clever campaign, they’ve managed to attract a wider audience and increase online sales.

3. Procter & Gamble

Household cleaning products company Procter & Gamble launched this successful ad campaign in 2012 which managed to tell a story of how their brand relates to mothers all over the world and, more specifically, how it helped them push world-class athletes through their lives.

Initially, you might question what it has to do with the P&G brand – but the message is that these products helped them get through their lives as they must have logically had a lot of laundry and cleaning up to do after training and competitions.

Why it works: This advert shows how you need to have a bigger picture behind your product, something that customers can see and feel emotional about. Once you’ve managed to form an emotional connection with your consumers, they’ll be more inclined to remember your product and pick that one up when they’re next in the shopping aisle.

4. De Beers

De Beers two monthsHubSpot

In the 1980s, the diamond trading company De Beers released this powerful ad campaign that effectively changed the history of purchasing engagement rings forever. With a simple, bold statement (‘2 months’ salary showed the future Mrs Smith what the future will be like’), De Beers managed to turn an engagement into a multimillion-dollar industry.

Why it works: This one simple advert managed to build an entire industry, making both men and women across the globe believe that no marriage is complete without a diamond ring. And if you’ve ever been told that a ring should cost at least two months’ salary, now you know how it came about!

5. Nike

When you think of Nike, you’re likely to automatically think of the ‘Just Do It’ slogan, which was first used in the late 1980s. Before then, Nike was a company that exclusively catered to marathon runners.

Nike eventually realised that they needed to cater to a broader audience and started using the famous slogan to market all their products. Luckily, this idea paid off, and sales rocketed within a year, taking the company to a whole other level.

Why it works: These powerful three words send a powerful message that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything. It helps the client solve a problem by simply putting on a pair of trainers. For example, if you can’t be bothered to go to the gym, Nike is telling you to put your sports gear on and just do it. By establishing such a strong emotional bond, consumers will think of Nike when they need some active wear.

6. Budweiser

This TV advert appeared in late 1999 and shows a group of friends talking on the phone, watching a game, drinking beer and repeating the catchphrase ‘Whassup’ to each other. But this short clip took the world by storm and had everyone using the Budweiser phrase, too. Everyone was able to relate to this simple advert and enjoyed watching it when it popped up during halftime.

Why it works: Budweiser cleverly established its brand around a cool phrase that everyone adopted at the time. Even to this day, people around the world still use ‘Whassup’ in conversation, taking us back to this awesome advert.

7. Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers recently released a digital campaign featuring celebrity record producer DJ Khaled. The ad shows DJ Khaled’s entire eating habits, explaining how the weight-loss programme works and showing how easy it is to follow.

DJ Khaled then shared the advert on all his social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), helping Weight Watchers reach an entirely new audience to their regular clientele.

Why it works: This advert shows how important it is to partner with the right type of influencers. DJ Khalid naturally embodies the brand showing men that it’s ‘cool’ to diet and showing younger people that want to lose weight how easy it really is.

8. Amazon

Another company that recently tapped into influential marketing is the tech pioneer Amazon. Their ‘Alexa Loses Her Voice’ ad aired during Super Bowl LII and featured a cast of familiar faces from Rebel Wilson to Anthony Hopkins and Cardi B to Gordon Ramsay. The message was clear: nobody can replace Alexa.

The success of the video was massive, It reached over 49 million views online and went viral within a few hours, proving just how powerful influential marketing can be.

Why it works: Not only did this campaign attract the interest of people of all ages with the inclusion of different celebrities, it also helped boost sales showing that they too are fans of Alexa. It also showed how much we rely on similar devices in our day-to-day lives.

9. KFC

KFC 11 herbs and spices tweet@edgette22 / Twitter

In 2017, the KFC social media team made a bold move by following only 11 people: all 5 Spice Girls and six random men all named Herb. One eagle-eyed Twitter user read between the lines and pointed out they were 11 herbs and spices, a nod to KFC’s original recipe ingredients.

Why it works: What’s so great about this campaign is that it’s mysterious – it was just a matter of time before someone discovered what the marketing team at KFC had done. It also cost KFC absolutely nothing to get everyone everywhere talking about them!

10. Domino’s Pizza

The Domino’s AnyWare Party campaign lets users know they can order from a broad range of devices, more than any of their competitors, including Google Home, Alexa, Slack, Messenger, Zero Click, text message and tweet.

Why it works: This campaign works so well because Domino’s solved a problem by making its services easily accessible. No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you’ll have a device near you to place an order in just a few clicks. It also shows how important digital marketing is and how it can drive sales and increase brand awareness. You simply need to consider what communication channels are most effective for your brand and your audience.

While all these campaigns differ in style, they all share one similarity: the ability to connect with their audience. By being authentic and creative as an entrepreneur, you too can be inspired to create effective marketing campaigns of your own.

Which is your favourite campaign from the list above? Join in on the conversation below and let us know!