While the exact number of advertisements and marketing messages we see on a daily basis seems to vary across the board, it’s safe to say, we are surrounded (and often overwhelmed) by the quantity of messages. These messages can be in the form of social media campaigns, online advertisements, magazines, billboards, videos or direct mail. With such a massive amount of marketing stimulation, we love seeing brands creating iconic marketing campaigns that stick with us at the end of the day and even years later.
This month, our team thought about our favorite marketing campaigns. Those we feel are iconic in some way shape or form. Here is part 1 of our favorite marketing campaigns:
Melissa Harrison, Allee Creative founder & CEO
I based my favorite campaigns off those that I remembered before I even became a marketing professional—iconic campaigns that, years and years later, I still remember.
Budweiser Frogs circa 1995
In 1995, Budweiser’s main competitor, Miller Brewing Company, was gaining market share and Budweiser was not finding success with new beer drinkers between the age of 21 to 30. They decided to take the risk of moving away from their iconic Clydesdale horses and pitch a silly ad with 3 frogs sitting in a swamp sounding off “bud” “wei” “ser” for their Super Bowl commercial. The risk paid off when the commercial rated #1 for a consecutive 3 months and led to an increase in sales from the younger market.
It’s simple, yet catchy and it’s a commercial I still remember. It was a spoof on many shows—everyone knew what you were talking about when you said, ‘Bud-Wei-Ser’ or the Budweiser frogs.
Check out the original commercial here.
McDonald’s Menu Song circa 1989
The McDonald’s Menu Song was an instant-win promotion created as part of an advertising campaign, which ran from 1988 to early 1989. You were told to listen to the album and if it played all the way through, without the singers making an error, you won! The song was distributed on flexi-discs and the lyrics included all of the items from the McDonald’s menu.
Not only was it in commercials, it was sent out on floppy records and kids all over were learning it… I can still sing the first half! McDonald’s, healthy or otherwise, is always great at catchy campaigns that people can remember—“I’m lovin’ it” was another iconic campaign that people associate with McDonalds.
Check out the song here, and tell me – do you remember all the words?
Kris Adkins, analytics specialist
Oreo’s “You can still dunk in the dark” Tweet
My favorite all time spot is Oreo‘s ‘you can still dunk in the dark’ when the electricity went out during the 2013 Super Bowl. It seems like each Super Bowl, something iconic happens, whether good or bad. During Super Bowl XLVII the Baltimore Ravens were facing the San Francisco 49ers, when suddenly the power went out, halting play for a full 30 minutes. Oreo was quick to react with a simple tweet that read, “Power out? No problem, you can still dunk in the dark.” Attached was a hastily-put together image of an Oreo cookie with a black background and a tagline that read, “You can still dunk in the dark.”
Oreo had already aired a great TV ad during the Super Bowl, but their quick reaction to capitalize on social media while the lights were out and to go a little off-script was what led many to call them the “real winners” of the 2013 Super Bowl.
Check out Oreo’s Tweet here.
Coca-Cola’s “Have a Coke and a Smile”
Coca-Cola is considered one of the most iconic brands, so it’s no surprise that many of their campaigns have also been iconic. Coca-Cola started using the slogan “Have a Coke and a smile” in 1979. Since then, it’s become a key phrase people associate with Coca-Cola. Their “Have a Coke and a Smile” commercials showed friends and family having fun and drinking Coca-Cola together.
Check out the 1980’s “Have a Coke and a Smile” commercial here.
Alyx Grabinger, marketing manager
I chose to stay a little closer to home with a few of my other favorite campaigns that have stuck out to me.
Minnesota Humane Society’s “Take Me Home” campaign
The Minnesota Humane Society’s latest campaign featured advertisements with cute animals and lines such as, “Think about the hilarious videos we could make…” and “I’m playful. You?” I thought it was a refreshing approach for a nonprofit to have a positive message versus the normal nonprofit ads that guilt you into giving. That’s not to say the guilt-trip approach doesn’t work – the A.S.P.C.A.’s TV ad featuring heartbreaking photos of sad cats and dogs while Sarah Machlachlan croons her song “Angel” in the background raised roughly $30 million. For me, it was just refreshing to see the variety and positive message that the Minnesota Humane Society shared.
MN Department of Health Colonoscopy campaign
My current favorite campaign is the MN Department of Health’s campaign for getting a colonoscopy. March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and commuters in the Twin Cities metro area were getting daily reminders of why they need to get tested with humorous and slightly edgy billboards. This campaign was proof that anything – no matter how mundane – can be promoted successfully. Seriously, who thought one of my favorite ads would be about getting a colonoscopy?! It made the news all over when it came out a few years ago.
Check out the attention-grabbing colonoscopy advertisements here.
Abigail Crider, marketing specialist
Metro Trains’ “Dumb Ways to Die” PSA
Released sometime in the fall of 2012, I still remember a college friend asking me if I had seen this ridiculous video and I can still sing the catchy little tune. Melbourne Metro Trains combined two universally lovable elements: catchy music and cute cartoon character, then they threw really dark humor in the mix to create this bizarre video and song that is ultimately a PSA to be safe around trains. Within 24 hours of its launch, the song was on the iTunes top 10 chart, but the Youtube video was the biggest hit, with currently over 111 million views.
The adorable characters meet their fate in some bizarre and slightly graphic ways, but ultimately the goal was to encourage safety around trains and to get riders to take a pledge to be safe. Cuddle toys were created based off the characters as well as a mobile interactive game app. The campaign went on to become the most awarded in the history of Cannes. It was also effective: Metro Trains noticed a 21% reduction in accidents and deaths on its network as a result of the campaign.
These are just a few of our favorite iconic marketing campaigns. We will be sharing a few more with you in part 2 of our blog post. Tell us – what are your favorite iconic marketing campaigns?