From the papyrus wall posters of the ancient Egyptians to sales messages found in the ruins of Arabia and Pompeii, purveyors of goods and services have always tried to find ways to advertise their wares. Today, easy access to cheap advertising via the Internet and social media means that consumers are exposed to constant marketing messages.
Just because you see the advertisers’ messages, however, doesn’t mean that you’re going to run out to buy a specific item of clothing, play a particular cash slots or travel on a certain airline. The brand has to entice you to want to purchase their service or product through their marketing efforts.
Many marketing campaigns are dull and uninspiring but in recent years there have been a number of efforts that stand out because of their creativity. Some of the best include:
Nike: "Just Do It"
Nike’s “Just Do It” advertising campaign is an example of how a company can draw in the public to accept that they can be part of a movement that they may not have felt a part of before.
The company, which sells fitness gear, featured star athletes and others in promoting their message of how physical fitness and fashion can go together. The 1988 ad aimed to show how “Doing It” could be both “universal and intensely personal.” The campaign targeted all American, regardless of physical fitness level, age or gender by showing how their fashionable sneakers could be worn as fitness gear or as casual wear.
In addition to its landmark video which featured well-known athletes such as NBA stars Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, NFL players Bo Jackson, Ronaldinho, and Wayne Rooney and tennis stars Rafael Nadel and Roger Federer – along with 80-year-old marathoner Walt Stack --the campaign expanded to other types of media including outdoor billboards, print media and graffiti art.
Nike, in general, doesn’t mention outright in any of their advertising that they sell sports clothing but the “Just Do It” campaign, as well as other Nike advertisements, have been successful because their message resonates with viewers’ values and desires.
Apple: “Get a Mac”
The 'Get a Mac' campaign was instrumental in helped to shape Apple's reputation with consumers. The campaign was Apple’s way of showing the Mac’s softer, more human side and after years of declining sales the campaign revived Apple Mac sales.
The heart of any advertising campaign is to try to determine what the public wants or needs and then show how the product meets that need. Sometimes the public isn’t even aware of what they might be lacking but campaigns like “Get a Mac” identify the need and then show how their product meets that need.
The ad showed two individuals, one representing a Macintosh computer and the other representing a PC. The PC guy spent the time on-screen sneezing, explaining to the Mac guy that he had caught another “virus.” “Stay away” he warned Mac but Mac was ready with tissues and comfort, explaining that he didn’t catch any of the 140,000 viruses that were circulating in the PC world.
Throughout the “Get a Mac” campaign, Apple looked for ways to demonstrate consumer dissatisfaction with PCs and consumer satisfaction with their Macs. The campaign worked – within a year Apple sales had increased by 39% and their sales continued to climb throughout the course of the 4-year campaign.
Where’s the Beef?
Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” campaign spoke directly to every fast-food eater in America. The campaign started in 1984 and featured a little old lady who had only one question when she was served her non-Wendy’s hamburger – “where’s the beef”.
The narrator went on to discuss the percentage of beef in the Wendy’s hamburger as opposed to other brands’ hamburgers and it was a success – all over the country, the phrase” where’s the beef” popped up…..sometimes in contexts that had nothing to do with beef such as in the 1984 presidential campaign.
Wendy’s reported a 31% increase in annual revenue during the campaign, demonstrating that even a one-line commercial (it was the only line spoken throughout the entire ad while Clara and her elderly friends searched the bun for the beef) can make a point succinctly.
Share a Coke
Coca-Cola has been at the top of the soft drink industry for over 100 years so instead of trying to come up with a commercial that would entice more customers, they sought to meet a need that customers didn’t even know that they had by customizing their bottles with popular names. That meant that each coke drinker could search their supermarket for a bottle or can of coke that featured their name. The campaign started in 2011 in Australia. Coke printed 150 popular names on the bottles/cans and also gave customers the opportunity to order bottles with custom names, nicknames and logos.
The Coke campaign was more of an attention-getting gimmick than anything else but it worked. The summer following the campaign’s launch 1.25 million additional teens tried Coke and sales of the personalized Coca-Cola packages rose by 11% in the U.S.