It's Rewind Time! 10 Most Iconic Examples of Quality Marketing
It is often said that we should draw lessons from the past. Although this is a piece of solid advice regarding human wellbeing, it can easily be implemented in any situation or industry, including marketing.
We worked on many campaigns, keeping with all the trends while trying to implement them in our work in the best way possible. Nevertheless, we don't neglect the most iconic marketing campaigns that left a trail in our lives. They set the foundations of our work, and although we entered a new era, time of digital marketing, we like to remember the classics.
1. Budweiser – Frogs
This campaign started in 1995 and featured three frogs who croaked "Bud..Weis..Er" in front of a giant neon Budweiser sign. Short and funny, the campaign went viral, and only that did it become the whole series. The frogs became so popular that they got to the point of being more than just a Budweiser ad. They had turned into toys, t-shirts, posters, you name it, and it probably had frogs. It is often listed as one of the most lavish Super Bowl commercials in history.
In all honesty, if we look at the whole thing, there is nothing "extra special," three frogs in front of the bar with the Budweiser sign. But what is interesting is that it caught the eye of the audience, which made the Frogs one of the best and most successful marketing campaigns of all time.
After initial success, new characters began to be introduced, most notably chameleons Frankie, voiced by Danny Mastrogiorgio, and Louie, voiced by Paul Christie. Loue had a Brooklyn accent and was jealous that three frogs had such a massive success. So much so that he hired a Ferret hitman (another character) to get rid of the frogs. The story went further and further, keeping the humour and interest factor of the original series.
2. Dos Equis - The Most Interesting Man
One of the most popular memes originates in 2006, with Dos Equis, the most interesting man, and his famous line: "I don't always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis. "
Simply genius, isn't it? They went in a different direction with their approach, which was undoubtedly brave, risky, but very creative. Instead of showing their ideal marketing persona, they decided to show someone who doesn't drink beer at all, but when he does, his choice is Dos Equis. This brought the product closer to the casual drinkers because the main character was also one of them. Furthermore, even though it was risky, if you look at the bigger picture, this type of consumer was not targeted by any beer brand, so they tried to be different and succeeded.
During this time, imported beer in the U.S. had a tough time due to the rising popularity of craft beer. Every brand suffered from declining sales, but Dos Equis managed to increase theirs by 22 %. From 2007 to 2016, they experienced a total growth of 34,8 %. Even better, the most interesting man become one of the classic and most popular memes on social media, keeping the campaign live forever in a way.
3. KFC – FCK
This is one of the recent ones, but it showed how to turn failure into success creatively.
KFC, most known for their chicken, changed the supplier for the mentioned ingredient and almost ended up in a catastrophe. Delivery couldn't keep up, so the stock went low, closing hundreds of restaurants in the U.K. Things got out to the public, quickly becoming big news. One of their competitors, Burger King, even tweeted the picture with their products and the title "We don't chicken out."
All mentioned above put KFC in a challenging position, and the public waited for their side of the story. They were aware that these things tend to leave a mark on the brand, so first, they wanted to apologize to their customers and explain what happened. This approach turned out to be very efficient, and not only did it remove the stain but also humanized the brand. KFC apologized to their customers and employees, acknowledging the problem and taking full responsibility.
Unlike other campaigns, this one doesn't have the numbers to measure success, but the FCK campaign solved this crisis without lasting damage. Their apology caught more attention than the initial controversy, so much that the brand removed all negative public opinion. Therefore, it is an excellent example of good marketing in crises.
4. De Beers - A Diamond is Forever
Old but gold, or should we say a real jewel. This campaign is a true meaning of a lasting trendsetter. Firstly, let's put this campaign in its timeframe. It started around the 1940s, and before that, a diamond ring was not necessary to get married until the De Beers started its campaign. It was around the time of The Great Depression, and people had just started to come out of their financial troubles. Minding that, diamond engagement ring and jewelry of any kind was undoubtedly not on the shopping list.
Where others saw a problem, De Beers saw an opening for an excellent way to sell their diamonds. Many people get married, so they decided to present a diamond as something everlasting. Putting it like that, the ring seems like a lifelong investment, so there is no reason not to buy an expensive diamond one. Simply put, it became a necessary luxury. The slogan became so much more as it grew into so much more. As a result of this campaign, in the next 40 years, their diamond sales increased from $23 million to $2.1 billion
5. Coca-Cola - Advertisement Made By Pigeons
Inspired by the Assicurazioni Generali, an insurance company from Venice, Coca-Cola decided to spread birdseed at St. Mark's Square in Venice. They arranged them in the shape of their logo. When the pigeons came, they gathered up, shaping the logo at the center of the Square. The photo became iconic, and their idea, although not original, is a creative way to raise brand awareness.
6. Volkswagen - Think Small
Volkswagen had a problem with their Beetle, being recognized as just a car that was a product of Nazi Germany. Naturally, they wanted to remove that stain and present the Beetle in the best way possible. The result – A marketing campaign that changed the whole automotive industry.
Nazi relations aside, they faced other obstacles. As it is today, and also then, cars were not just a tool that helped you to get from point A to point B. They were a way to show your taste and, more importantly, your social status. So they were built to be big, fast, and good-looking. In other words, everything Beetle was not.
So, to make it simple, they had to sell a small and ugly German car with Nazi ties in a post-WWII world to the people in the American market. Wow, we got a headache just writing this, so we believe the marketing team hadn't gotten much sleep those days. All jokes aside, Volkswagen managed to complete its mission. Since they promoted their car in the USA, they used only their initials "V.W." instead of their full name, which was hard for Americans to pronounce. The next step was a bold one because they decided to point out their flaws but at the same time present them as advantages.
"So you can easily break almost any speed low in the country in a V.W., and you can also cruise right past gas stations, repair shops, and tire stores. The V.W. engine may not be the fastest, but it's among the most advanced."
Before the "Think small" campaign, the car industry created ads bragging about their performance and features, followed by a bunch of images emphasizing lifestyle. Volkswagen took a different route with minimalistic design and honest copy. They didn't hype up their product like others, making them stand out from their competitors. It indeed had a significant impact on their brand, automotive, and event marketing industry.
7. Mountain Dew - Hello Sunshine, Hello Mountain Dew
In 1973, Mountain Dew decided to expand their market. Regarding that, with existing drinkers, they wanted to attract new ones. They first tried the "Put a Little Yahoo in Your Life" campaign but had little success due to targeting the wrong audience. Luckily that didn't discourage them from keeping trying. Soon after, they dropped "Hello Sunshine, Hello Mountain Dew." They included a new catchy theme song and targeted young people looking for some fun.
The trickiest part was describing their unique flavor. But this was nothing good copywriting can't solve. Something like "The Lemony Taste Of Sunshine "and "Just This Side Of Joy" tackled the problem quickly. Although the initial campaign was a failure, this time, they did it! In the next few years, Mountain Dew became the fastest growing drink in the USA, with over 137 million products sold.
The moral of the story is – Know your target audience!
8. Harley Davidson – Selling Lifestyle, Not Bikes
The company, founded in 1903 by two childhood friends, became an iconic motorcycle brand. They sell lifestyle around their brand, not bikes. Although the brand survived the Great Depression, as a matter of fact, Harley was one of only two motorbike manufacturers that survived. Nevertheless, the next few years were not so gentle. The import of cheaper Japanese bikes cut their market share in half, so they had to develop a marketing strategy that would keep them alive.
Instead of focusing on the bikes, the marketing team emphasized the lifestyle around the brand itself. This way, they established a loyal community that made them a cult brand and synonym for freedom, individualism, and rebellion. You don't have many brands where people tattoo their logo on their arms, backs, and other places.
Through their community building and proper branding, Harley Davidson managed to position itself as an industry leader that survived two world wars and two global recessions, and it's only growing more and more.
9. Rolex – Perfect Product Placement
Among many luxury Swiss watch brands, Rolex is the first that comes to mind. But among watch collectors, Rolex is a truly polarizing brand. While some consider it a true example of a price-quality ratio, others are disappointed and consider it an overpriced mainstream brand.
Nevertheless, Rolex managed to demonstrate its quality many times throughout its history. In 1927, Mercedes Gleitze decided to swim across the English Channel. Rolex saw it as a perfect opportunity to promote their new waterproof Oyster line. So, they gave her a watch under the condition that she wears it during swimming.
Unfortunately, Mercedes didn't manage to swim across the Channel, but she spent more than 10 hours in the cold water, and the watch kept working normally. Rolex hadn't stopped there with their product placement. In 1953 Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay began their expedition to Mount Everest, and Rolex caught another chance by providing once again their watch. The journey was a success, and so was Rolex, who stood the test of Mount Everest. The following year they created the "Explorer" line.
On January 23, 1960, Lt. Don Walsh decided to reach the deepest point of the earth – Challenger Deep. Can you guess what was attached to the outer part of the submarine? Of course, the "Rolex Deep Sea" model made for diving to the far depts. Rolex once again took part in human history by providing their watch to the U.S. Navy, demonstrating their quality.
Success after success, Rolex became one of the most known wristwatch brands. They continued to promote their watches in many smart ways, such as showing their diversity in some of the James Bond movies, sponsoring sports events, etc. Hate them or love them, you can't take away their marketing and business success.
10. Dove – Real Beauty
We all know Dove is no stranger when it comes to tackling sensitive topics. Well, it started in 2004 with their "Real Beauty" campaign. They conducted research that showed that only 2 % of women consider themselves beautiful. Realizing that fact, they decided to be different from the rest of the industry by showing the negative side of this false perfection.
Dove made billboard ads that showed realistic-looking women with no photoshop to show what true beauty means and looks. At the same time, they showcased how the beauty industry, which should lift them and make them feel pretty, puts them down with the addition of low self-esteem.
This approach made them praised by everyone, and the campaign is going on to this day with numerous new ideas, like "The Dove Self-Esteem Project." "Real Beauty" was a perfect way to present an industry problem no one talks about and offer a solution.
All these examples may seem an obvious way to market a product, but there is an old saying – "It's easy to be a general after a battle."
Every brand on this list tackled a problem few of them knew how to deal with. Nevertheless, they managed to find a solution and, along the way, set the foundations for all marketers. It is up to us to learn from them and follow in their steps.