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5 of history’s most effective marketing campaigns

Marketing is a vital way of earning success as a business, whether you are promoting a high-end fashion brand, a fast-food chain or a new podcast.

Making people aware that you have a new product or service – or simply that your business exists! – is a crucial step to securing sales and making a profit.

There are so many channels to choose from today: broadcast, print media, social media and many more.

Here are five memorable campaigns that may help to inspire your next strategy.

The Blair Witch Project

This horror classic was renowned for its realism, shot on handheld camcorders to give the impression that the footage had been found and released after its creators had gone missing among the paranormal goings-on in the Black Hills. 

That blurring of reality and art extended to the film’s advertising as missing posters featuring the cast were put up and interviews with ‘family members’ were released. The use of traditional media such as printed posters added to the mystique surrounding the film, rather than the traditional glossy broadcast advertising that a box-office smash would expect.

Dove: Campaign for Real Beauty

A simple premise: create advertising featuring real women and not airbrushed models to promote the benefits of using these cosmetics. This was reportedly created off the back of a study which found that only 2% of women would use the word ‘beautiful’ to describe themselves

The campaign was a commercial smash, helping Dove’s revenue soar and scooping a number of awards, as well as leading the way for the flurry of ads we see today featuring user-generated content. 

Metro Trains: Dumb Ways to Die

This campaign was designed to promote safety on Melbourne’s Metro Trains in an indirect way, not in keeping with the typically stuffy tone of such commercials. 

A folksy song brought to life by cartons both cute and gory in equal measure carried the crucial messages in an almost disguised way. Its popularity was so vast that it has spawned spin-off cartoons and mobile games!

Nike: Just do it

A marketing slogan that has become synonymous with the sporting goods company’s swoosh logo. It began life as the payoff to the brand’s first ad campaign aimed solely at women in 1991, which read: “Sooner or later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about, and what to get rid of. And you know when it’s time to take care of yourself, for yourself. To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete. Because you know it’s never too late to have a life. And never too late to change one. Just do it.” 

Rivals have tried to follow suit. Adidas has ‘Impossible is nothing’ and Puma carries ‘Forever Faster’ on many of its products – but neither are as inextricably linked to the brand as Nike and ‘Just do it’. 

Spotify Wrapped

A marketing ploy for the social media age. Spotify Wrapped sees huge numbers of customers do the music streaming platform’s advertising for them at the turn of each year as other social networks are flooded with rundowns of what we have been listening to for the previous 12 months. 

The shareable nature of the content prompts other people to follow suit and has kept the Swedish brand at the top of the streaming charts for years.