In the modern age, people often talk about going viral—having a post of theirs hit the mainstream, receiving anywhere from thousands to millions of views and engagements. While this can make a Twitter user’s day, going viral for a business can mean everything. Marketing campaigns are finely tuned to garner as much attention as possible, targeting a core audience to have people engage with the brand and purchase their products and services. Yet, sometimes, a marketing campaign can exceed expectations, becoming intertwined in popular culture. Here are 6 unforgettable marketing campaigns that have writhed their way into the public consciousness.
In 2014, Coca-Cola launches its wildly successful “Share a Coke” campaign, which replaced the iconic brand logo on personal bottles with popular American names in Coca-Cola font. Starting with 250 popular names and eventually expanding to 1000, Americans rushed to corner shops and grocery stores to find a 20-ounce bottle featuring their name or the name of a personal friend. To improve the campaign’s success, the company encouraged people to share their bottles by using the hashtag #ShareaCoke.
As iconic as the Nike swoosh, “Just Do It” has become synonymous with Nike and its products, featured on T-shirts, adverts, bags, and soccer balls since first emerging in the 80s. In 1987, Wieden + Kennedy created the memorable tagline to complement a number of advertising spots for Nike’s first major television campaign. Wieden + Kennedy ran with the tag after they found that it spoke to every sport and every athlete, no matter their level of intensity or commitment.
The campaign struck the public once it landed, and it quickly became a mantra for athletes and non-athletes alike. To this day, the slogan remains on Nike advertisements, and people around the world still use it to motivate themselves through stressful times, whether related to work or sport.
Campaign for Real Beauty – Dove
While Dove, owner Unilever, and advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather won’t directly claim credit for it, Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” changed the beauty industry. Where beauty products were once marketed to belittle women, making them feel as if they needed products to make themselves “beautiful,” Dove decided to instead focus on what attributes already made women beautiful.
Featuring real women in their advertisements and avoiding the use of photoshop and makeup, women shown throughout the marketing campaign spoke of how they were beautiful as they were. The beauty market has shifted to meet this expectation over the last decade, shifting from products critical of beauty to services that support self-beauty—e.g., “Anti-aging” products soon became rebranded as “skin-nourishing” instead.
A company driven by affiliate marketing, TripAdvisor exists to make it easier for you to find the right travel brand when you need it, all at no added charge. Their noteworthy commercials, including the companies trustworthy, sophisticated anthropomorphic owl, show customers the value of their website as clear as day: You’ll never know if you’re getting the best price out of what you’re paying for unless you use an aggregate site like TripAdvisor to compare all your options before settling.
The site works thanks to generous affiliate partnerships garnered through fellow travel agencies and brands, allowing customers to weigh their choices with a succinct amount of information. While the commercials might not be quite as significant as some other campaigns mentioned, the company’s outreach has made them one of the most trusted companies when trying to find the right travel agency that works for you.
The Man Your Man Could Smell Like – Old Spice
Since 2009, Old Spice’s marketing campaigns and videos have captivated people around the world, more often than not leaving them doubled over with laughter. The campaign, particularly supported by crisp, humorous visuals and gags, was birthed from a concept that Old Spice’s marketing agency and account team discovered: Women were buying the majority of Old Spice body wash products; men were simply using whatever their girlfriend or wife bought for them.
In the age where the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was targeting women to love themselves, creative agency members thought they could use the wave to their advantage, targeting women to transform their men into the idyllic men of their dreams. Over a decade later, it made for a remarkable, memorable meta campaign aimed at women while humorously mocking tired conventions to make people interested in their brand and products. Whether it’s the “Hello, ladies” intro or the outro whistle, it’s a campaign that has become part of popular culture.
Beer campaigns of decades past tended to revolve around similar tropes: sports, people hanging out at parties, or bros being bros—e.g., The Budweiser “Whassup” campaign. In 2007, the once low-profile beer company Dos Equis broke the mold for beer advertising to come, creating a campaign that would turn the company into a mainstay beer in the age of microbreweries.
With gray-haired, suave actor Jonathan Goldsmith, Dos Equis embarked on its “Most Interesting Man in the World” marketing campaign. Beyond the funny quotes and scenarios presented in each video, the closing tagline of “I don’t always drink beer but, when I do, I prefer Dos Equis … stay thirsty, my friends” became an instant classic, making it one of the most significant campaigns of this century.
The campaign worked perfectly to draw in interested customers, as Goldsmith’s debonair character was the man every man hopes to be, the man every woman wants, and it suggested an air of class and sophistication around a lager—this was a beer meant to be enjoyed, to support an enriching life, rather than needing to be involved in a sports or party fantasy.
A lot of work goes into crafting a genuinely impressive marketing campaign. Sometimes they don’t land the way an agency might expect them to. But, whether you’re trying to go viral or not, the above campaigns show that the right insight can craft a marketing campaign that will stand the test of time.