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Get Inspired:
15 Best Digital
Ad Campaigns of
All Time

5-JULY-2024

get-inspired-ad-campaign-tips

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

The memorable nature of ads that create a lasting impression on our minds is such a vibe of its own! The iconic ads, with their iconic shine, have made a name for themselves in the history of advertising. With digital becoming popular, the era of digital advertising has taken a whole new level in the world of advertising, with campaigns that truly make us feel jaw-dropped. 

 

Some of the most iconic ads come from the most iconic brands and the innovative people behind them. This article lists the 15 Best Digital Ad Campaigns of All Time and highlights the key lessons of what made them a huge success. Digital marketing campaign examples like these provide invaluable insights and inspiration.

In this article, you will find innovative ideas behind the world’s most iconic campaigns, why they became successful, and how you can use such tips to elevate your brand to new heights.

What makes a digital campaign successful?

The success of a digital marketing campaign can be measured through various perspectives. Of course, achieving the goals set by a brand remains one of them. Still, the most common themes include creativity, emotional connection, engagement, shareability, a clear message, and a strong content strategy in digital marketing. 

 

The iconic world of ad campaigns, in which companies spend billions of dollars every year to drive sales and achieve their goals, isn’t filled with all glitz and glam – every move can make or break a brand, and playing safe isn’t always the deal when it comes to creating something unique.

The Best Digital Ad campaigns of all time

Below, we have outlined some of the best digital ad campaigns ever created to help you #GetInspired.

1. Cheers to All by Heineken

When it comes to breaking stereotypes, Dove is the first name that we get in our minds. In 2020, the beer brand Heineken took a similar approach by breaking stereotypes around genders and their drinking preferences. The campaign features a montage of men and women being served the wrong drink, a Heineken, or a cocktail, respectively, when, in fact, they had ordered inversely. The bartenders awkwardly realize the mishap and swap drinks to enjoy their beverage of choice. The video received nearly 800,000 views on YouTube.

Lessons Learned:

Heineken

2. Stratos by Red Bull

Red Bull is known for adventure and extreme sports. In 2012, it did something incredible – the Stratos campaign that pushed the boundaries well. Red Bull live-streamed a video where a man jumps from the edge of space. Yeah, you heard that right – space!

 

When he jumped, he fell faster than the speed of sound. That’s faster than a jet plane! He broke the world record for the highest skydive ever. It’s like being the fastest runner in your school but for the whole world. This digital marketing campaign was all about surpassing human limits, but it also exceeded the brand’s expectations. Stratos generated an impressive 7 million views on YouTube.

Lessons Learned:

redbull

3. Old Spice

Some brands remain synonymous with masculinity and masculine charm. Old Spice is one of them. In 2010, the funny and engaging campaign – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like – helped Old Spice rediscover its mojo. The use of sharp, witty dialogue and the charismatic Isaiah Mustafa proved to be a magic formula that aligned Old Spice with the young generation of buyers and surged its sales drastically. Old Spice wanted to rebrand itself for a younger audience. Observing that women made 60% of body wash purchases, it shifted focus to young females instead of young males. This shift was key to success, as they were targeting the wrong demographic. Old Spice became men’s top body wash in the USA, gained 1.2 billion earned media impressions, doubled sales in July of the same year, and saw a 300% increase in website traffic.

Lessons Learned:

5. Breaking2 by Nike

Nike, with its iconic tagline, Just Do It, truly walks the talk when it comes to its marketing campaigns. This is portrayed by the way its campaigns go viral and become iconic. In 2017, Nike started a fantastic project called Breaking2. The goal? Break the two-hour barrier for a marathon.

 

Nike worked in collaboration with three phenomenal runners: Eliud Kipchogui, Zersenay Tadese, and Lelisa Desisa. The project has all creative resources at full tilt with the use of advanced technology, scientific research, and specialized training techniques to push performance limits to the extreme. Although this record was not officially broken during the event – Eliud Kipchoge finished at 2:00:25 – interest in the campaign went through the roof. Millions of viewers followed the event live. The hashtag #Breaking2 – which was deployed 407,000 times during the campaign – trended globally.

Lessons Learned:

6. Swiggy

In 2019, Swiggy launched its Voice of Hunger campaign in a bid to entice more engagement and to bask in an unforgettable brand experience, making the campaign one of the most creative ad campaigns in India and the globe. 

 

The campaign was simple – use innovative ways to mimic food sounds and shapes to win free food from Swiggy. Swiggy collaborated with over 100 comedians, musicians, rappers, actors, and DJs to drive engagement and participation in the campaign. 

 

The campaign got so viral that Instagram had to block Swiggy’s account 11 times, driving even more PR and buzz around it. The results were outstanding – The campaign went viral, generating over 16 million social impressions and over 150,000 voice note entries from users. 

 

The activity increased Swiggy’s Instagram followers by 40%, boosted Instagram reach by 7,700%, and pushed a 2,100% spike in traffic going to Swiggy from Instagram. The campaign led to a 24% average increase in orders for food items resembling the popular voice note creations. (Source)

Lessons Learned:

7. Fuelled by Love by British Airways

Emotions remain one of the most significant factors in driving the success of a brand. Marketing using emotions can be risky, but if the brand knows how to use them well, it can champion the game. That is what British Airways did. British Airways released an ad, “Fuelled by Love,” stitched to the narrative of a real-life story involving a flight attendant, Helena Flynn, making friends with an elderly passenger on her first-ever flight to India. It’s a six-minute short film released on YouTube and other social media sites, with a focus on digital and outdoor advertising.

 

The campaign featured real-life crew stories, showcasing how Helena Flynn formed a bond with an elderly Indian woman traveling by airplane for the first time. Helena later traveled to India, where she enjoyed the food and culture. The film concluded with the message, “Loving India back since 1924.” 

 

It leveraged social media platforms to promote the ad and engage with viewers. British Airways collaborated with local talent and Indian filmmakers, shooting the ad in London, Mumbai, and Hyderabad. The campaign generated significant buzz and an estimated PR value of $4 million.

Lessons Learned:

8. I Will What I Want by Under Armour

For a long time, people thought Under Armour was mostly for boys and men. It’s as if everyone thought your favorite ice cream shop only made flavors boys like. But Under Armour wanted to show that their stuff was for everyone – girls and women, too.

 

So, they came up with a fantastic idea called “I Will What I Want.” They featured some amazing women to help them spread the word. These women weren’t just regular people – they were superstars in sports and other fields, like: 

Misty Copeland, an incredible ballet dancer

Gisele Bundchen, a famous model

Lindsey Vonn, a super-fast skier

Sloane Stephens and Kelley O’Haraextraordinary athletes

Brianna Cope, a talented surfer

 

Each of these women shared stories about how they worked really hard to achieve their dreams. It’s like when you practice and practice to get better at a video game or learn a new trick on your bike. Their stories showed other girls and women that they could do amazing things, too, if they didn’t give up.

This idea worked really well! It received around 3.5 billion in media impressions and earned media worth $20 million. The work produced a 28% increase in women’s sales, a 42% rise in traffic to ua.com, and 35 million earned media impressions.

 

Lessons Learned:

under-armour

9. ALS Ice Bucket

One of the most nostalgic internet-related campaigns is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. This fun campaign was for a serious cause: ALS (also called Lou Gehrig’s disease).

Here’s how it worked: People poured ice water on themselves, and they shared videos online. Then, they challenged their friends to do it, too. It was a clever way to get people talking about ALS, raise money for research, and bring friends together for a good cause. Over 17 million people, including famous celebrities around the globe, dumped ice water on their heads and donated to an ALS association, raising $115 million in total in just six weeks.

Lessons Learned:

10. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches

With its famous and most iconic campaigns, Dove, with its campaigns like Real Beauty, aims to make women feel worthy of themselves and see themselves as beautiful as they are and not think of themselves as someone else would like to see them. For its campaign called Real Beauty Sketches, Dove, in 2013, hired Gil Zamora, an artist trained by the FBI. He drew women based on how they described themselves. Then, he drew the same women based on how strangers saw them. The results were eye-opening! It quickly garnered over 50 million views within 12 days of its release, promoting self-acceptance, and won the Titanium Grand Prix at the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Lessons Learned:

11. Google #BestPhonesForever

Lessons Learned:

Let’s revisit the Google vs Apple campaign! In the highly competitive realm of advertising, Google’s friendly approach sets a positive example. That, combined with wit, humor, and creativity, creates an impactful impression.

 

The campaign launched with a series of viral videos showcasing Pixel phones playfully and humorously, garnering over 177M+ views on YouTube and 3M+ engagements since June 2023. Google’s #BestPhonesForever campaign cleverly anthropomorphized phones as best friends, highlighting their features and unique selling points with engaging, relatable content that captured the audience’s attention.

google

12. Amazon Alexa loses her voice by Amazon

It seems that brands become extremely creative during the Super Bowl. It is the time when their creativity is at its peak, and creating masterpieces is a piece of cake for them. Amazon’s Alexa Loses Her Voice remains one such campaign. During the 2018 Super Bowl, Amazon aired a funny ad.

The idea: What if Alexa lost her voice? Famous people tried to replace her humorously: Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, Cardi B, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and more. The campaign effectively showcased Alexa’s capabilities while entertaining viewers. The star-studded ad generated significant buzz and reinforced Amazon’s innovative image. It earned over 1.5 billion total media impressions and 720k mentions on Twitter (source).

Lessons Learned:

amazon-alexa

13. #WeAccept by Airbnb

Inclusivity, acceptance, diversity – who doesn’t love these themes? Airbnb used them to shape its “#WeAccept” campaign, promoting a message of embracing different cultures and backgrounds. The ads featured real hosts and guests, highlighting stories of acceptance and community within the Airbnb network. On Twitter, #weaccept was the #1 advertiser hashtag during the Super Bowl, with over 33k tweets in the first half, the most among advertisers, and overwhelmingly positive sentiment (85% based on Airbnb’s tracker). Post-Super Bowl, site visits increased by 13% (US and Canada) in the first week and 7.2% in the following month. Most importantly, the campaign led to 15.4K volunteer host signups to date, supporting displaced populations (source). It is one of the most impactful digital marketing campaign examples of how aligning campaigns with societal causes can enhance brand image and deeply resonate with the audience.

Lessons Learned:

airbnb

14. Deez Nuts by Frontier Airlines

Who doesn’t go nuts over cheap airfares? Those cheap airfares that Frontier Airlines created made people go absolutely nuts in 2016. In 2016, the marketing campaign Deez Nuts” by Frontier Airlines came across as a humorous, eye-catching means of promoting their low prices. The campaign was followed by a series of videos and social posts using the term “Deez Nuts” that really took the internet by storm. The cheeky yet offbeat angle was an advantage in creating a younger target group and immense online buzz. The campaign was a significant success, driving increased traffic to Frontier Airlines’ website and boosting ticket sales. It demonstrated that humour and viral content could effectively engage potential customers and differentiate a brand in a competitive industry.

Lessons Learned:

15. #ShareTheLoad by Ariel​

You might have asked this question yourself several times – Is laundry only a woman’s job? In 2015, Ariel took this question to create an iconic campaign, #ShareTheLoad, that addressed the unequal distribution of household chores in Indian households. Ariel found that 2 out of every three women felt there was inequality in the home, while 76% of men believed laundry was a woman’s job. The campaign, conceptualized by BBDO India and directed by award-winning Neeraj Ghaywan, led to over 1.5 million Indian men pledging to Share The Load. On Twitter, #ShareTheLoad trended with 8 million impressions; on YouTube, it gained 6.8 million views and earned 1.6 billion free impressions.

Lessons Learned:

ariel

4. #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola

The iconic brand Coca-Cola is known for its iconic campaigns. One of the key drivers for its continued success is the in-depth research they do, which is evident from the success of one of its most iconic campaigns, “Share a Coke.” Launched in 2011, it was one of its kind that used debranding for its success. The brand name Coca-Cola was replaced by the names of people and even words like “bro” or “Mama.” 

The campaign had consumers sharing their own names on Coke bottles across social media under the hashtag #ShareACoke, which rapidly went viral and created a splash in social media engagement. First labeled ‘uncool’ by Australian youth, “Share a Coke” rebranded Coca-Cola by personalizing and emotionalizing the brand with the youth. From Australia to over 70 countries, this campaign harnessed the power of personalization and social media engagement to raise the bar for creative ad campaigns globally.

 

The campaign generated 500,000 photos with the #ShareaCoke hashtag and significantly increased Coca-Cola’s social media following. It increased Coke’s share of the category by 4% and consumption by young adults by 7% in Australia. Rolled out in over 80 countries, including the United States, the campaign increased sales by more than 2% and reversed a decade-long decline in Coke consumption.

Lessons Learned:

Bonus: Tips to create ads that matter

Creating impactful digital ads requires more than just a good idea. Here are some tips to ensure your campaigns resonate:

Lessons Learned:

In the world of digital marketing, content is king. The quality and relevance of your content play a pivotal role in capturing and retaining your audience’s attention.

Wrapping UP

Therein lies the power of creativity, emotional connection, and intelligent execution among these iconic digital ad campaigns. By learning from such campaigns, a brand can go on to create their own memorable and impactful campaigns. The duration you have spent running your business is immaterial; the most important aspects are constant innovation, audience engagement, and the memory etched forever. 

 

Ready to create your own iconic marketing campaign? Contact Sage Titans today for expert guidance on crafting impactful marketing strategies, branding solutions, and memorable ad campaigns tailored to your business needs.

Happy campaigning!

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