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The world’s best marketing campaigns

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Competition in business is fierce, but one way to get ahead of the pack is to come up with an incredible marketing campaign. Unfortunately, this is far easier said than done.

If you’re on the hunt for marketing inspiration for your next advertising campaign, Where the Trade Buys, a leading UK printing company, has gathered the world’s best marketing campaigns to discover why they achieved such phenomenal success.

Think Small: Volkswagen

Although print continues to be a lucrative and popular platform for marketing material, the world of print was especially big back in the 1960s. At a time when households were beginning to rely more on cars to get to work and socialise, motoring ads and promotional pieces were found everywhere.

The 1960s’ US population only wanted big cars,and sales of small motors from German manufacturers were low. To skirt around this issue, Volkswagen played right into the audience’s hands. It created banners and newspaper ads with lots of white space to highlight the compact feature of its vehicles. So, when other car brands were packing their ads from border to border with copy, colour and imagery; Volkswagen stood apart from the crowd and was noticed for its ingenuity and honesty — its cars were small, and that’s what it told you.

Think Small and your marketing campaign

Honesty is integral to a solid marketing campaign. Advertising is believed by many to put an unrealistic spin on reality to sell its customer a dream, so any brand that focuses on being truthful is sure to achieve credibility and help diversify your brand.

Absolut Bottle:Absolut

The vodka brand, Absolut, was established in Sweden in 1879. However, it wasn’t until decades later that it created one of the world’s best print marketing campaigns. In a nutshell, this strategy consisted of banners, billboards and ads portraying an Absolut bottle outline in various real images. This included a Christmas advert depicting a woman carrying stacks of gifts in a bottle formation (tagline: ‘Absolut 24th’) and an aerial shot of NYC’s Central Park shown with an added section at the top to create a bottle neck and cap shape (tagline: ‘Absolut Manhattan’).

Before this marketing idea, Absolut had less than 3% of the vodka market in the US. By the end, it was the brand-of-choice for half of all the country’s imported vodka. Amazingly, Absolut used this simple idea — shuffling around mundane objects and scenes to create a vague bottle outline — for more than 25 years.

Absolut Bottle and your marketing campaign

Managing a good marketing campaign is tough enough, but coming up with a stand-out idea is a completely different ball game. Some marketers take months to even begin nurturing a possible idea, so don’t fret —simply go back to basics. Study your products and see how you can incorporate the feel, look and shape of them into your campaign. Large outdoor banners and billboards offer the opportunity to capitalise on colours, textures and silhouettes, which helps your turn something simple into something intriguing — pick your brand apart and diversify what you have.

Just Do It:Nike

Desperate times calls for desperate measures — or in Nike’s case, highly profitable measures. The iconic Just Do It strategy was created by this renowned sportswear brand began at a time whenNike was lagging far behind Reebok in shoe sales.

In 1988, Nike employees were looking for an eye-catching idea that could transform the brand’s profits. The famous ‘Just Do It’ slogan was soon seen on outdoor banners and billboards everywhere. Why? Because it was clear, concise and emotive. Can’t be bothered to run? Just do it. Don’t think you can handle an hour at the gym? Just do it. Within ten years of its launch, the campaign had boosted Nike sales from $800 million to $9.2 billion — all due to a tagline thought up in around 20 minutes.

Just Do It and your marketing campaign

Simplicity is key to marketing — don’t confuse your audience with unnecessary images and words. The three-word ‘Just Do It’ slogan was seen on various banners depicting a range of sports people performing multiple exercises. The tagline, not the video or image, was the crux of the campaign.

Concise and emotive taglines work amazingly well when hosted on print marketing platforms. Using banners, posters and billboards means your slogan won’t vanish until it’s taken down, unlike video or other types of advertising. If you want this type of success, perhaps adopt this strategy by concentrating on a solid slogan — that encapsulates your brand and speaks directly to your core audience — and building out from there.

Real Beauty:Dove

More recently in 2004, we saw a phenomenal campaign created by personal care brand, Dove. A series of outdoor banners and ads were designed around a social experiment, where an FBI-trained sketch artist was asked to draw two images of a woman: the first as she described herself and the second as a stranger described her. The outcome was that these images looked completely different, and Dove combined this result with thestatistic that a mere 4% of women find themselves attractive to create a hugely successful marketing campaign that truly resonated with its audience.

What Dove did next transformed the campaign. The brand chose to release a series of banners and billboards portraying regular women next to two checkboxes: one complimenting the woman and the other detailing a disparaging remark (e.g. ‘fat’ and ‘fit’ or ‘wrinkled’and‘wonderful’). It incited a debate about female beauty standards that went viral across digital media. Dove’s advertising strategy was insightful, inspiring and sensitive; encouraging women to see themselves in a different light. To date, Dove’s Real Beauty campaign has been seen in around 110 countries.

Real Beauty and your marketing campaign

Study your target audience — find out what worries or pleases them and build an idea around that. Dove focused on a real problem concerning its key demographic and turned it into something positive, which not only helped women feel better about themselves, but also reflected positively on the brand.

Got Milk?:California Milk Processor Board

Although this is US born and bred, the Got Milk? marketing campaign has been recognised across the world for decades.Essentially consisting of images depicting celebrities with milk moustaches next to the tagline ‘Got Milk?’, the campaign boosted milk sales in California by 7% within its first year. The success of the campaign in the Golden State meant that the strategy started breaking borders, and soon Got Milk? posters and banners were spotted in stores and on highways across the country before moving to television and the internet.

Got Milk? and your marketing campaign

Unlike many marketing campaigns that strive to pull in more customers, the Got Milk? strategy focused on targeting people who were already drinking milk. What we can take from this is that not all advertising strategies are looking to attract a fresh demographic. If one of your products is dropping in sales, or a service you offer isn’t performing as well as before, your marketing strategy could be aimed at reconnecting with customers. The Got Milk? strategy is just one example of how even everyday items can be injected with humour (i.e. the milk moustache) and glamour (i.e. use of celebrities).

These are just a handful of the range of successful marketing campaigns that have stuck in our minds for years. If you want to come up with something big to boost your brand and profits, let them inspire your next campaign.

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