THE BEST CONTEMPORARY AD CAMPAIGNS
And What You Can Learn From Them
A great advertising campaign transcends the company that creates it. The Budweiser Clydesdales are nearly as iconic as the beer itself. People still say, “Dude, you’re getting a Dell,” in 2019, despite the fact that PCs aren’t even a major part of Dell’s business model anymore. When it comes to creating an ad campaign that Don Draper would be proud of, it’s best to look at massively successful examples from recent history. Here are a few of our favorites, as well as commentary on why they work and how you can use similar tactics. BRAND DIFFERENTIATION: APPLE This mega-popular ad campaign consisting of 66 spots personified the difference between PCs and Apple computers. Playing the role of “PC” was a buttoned-up, nebbish character you’d expect to find in the most morose workplace on earth. The “Mac” character, by contrast, was laid-back, youthful, and effortlessly cool. After launching the campaign in 2006, Macs became the default laptop for nearly every incoming college student. Clearly, the lighthearted jabbing at the competition worked. OFF-THE-WALL IRREVERENCE: OLD SPICE Most deodorant and shampoo commercials are bare-bones basic. They describe the “odor protection,” “moisturizing effects,” and the like. Old Spice takes the opposite approach. Their ads often feature absurd imagery, insane special effects, and Terry Crews literally yelling at you that you smell bad. Would this tone work for a life insurance company? Probably not, but it’s a great way to make simple consumer goods feel fun and exciting. SOCIAL AWARENESS: DOVE Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty,” which launched in 2004, was a long overdue change of pace for the beauty industry. Since time immemorial, fashion and beauty campaigns featured only impossibly beautiful women who had body types that the average person could never attain. Dove threw this aspirational, and potentially toxic, messaging in the garbage and decided to celebrate women of all shapes and sizes. If you can create a campaign that includes those who aren’t used to widespread representation, you’ll increase your reach in a hurry. CURATED COOL: DOS EQUIS Here’s a dirty little secret the beverage industry won’t tell you: Most industrially produced beers are made by one of two companies, and the vast majority of them taste remarkably similar. The difference, for the most part, comes down to the way they are marketed. Dos Equis, with their “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign, carved out a name for themselves as the beer for urbane, thrill-seeking drinkers, despite the fact that their product is about as exotic as a Coors Light. Sometimes, perception really is reality.
'FIERCE CONVERSATIONS' Learn How to Get Your Message Across So often, we talk to our friends, coworkers, and loved ones without actually saying anything. We’ll beat around the bush on important subjects or hesitate to bring up sensitive matters. Global business coach and best-selling author Susan Scott has set out to change that. In her book “Fierce Conversations,” Scott argues that the key to get more out of our personal and professional relationships is to learn to lower our barriers and convey our message honestly. “Fierce Conversations” is one of those works born out of a simple idea with big implications. As the author explains it, “While no single conversation is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship, or a life, any single conversation can.” By having the communication skills necessary to create lasting bonds, handle strong emotions, and overcome barriers, you’ll be prepared when crucial conversations present themselves. Those who tend to judge a book by its cover may make the mistake of associating the word “fierce” with “aggressive.” However, as a master of meaningful communication, Scott has found that it’s important not to force emotions one way or the other. As she observes, “If your behavior contradicts your values, your body knows.” Instead of relying on fake bravado or false modesty, the author argues it’s better that the bravery be genuine. Breaking down those social barriers to be authentic in our conversations takes true ferocity. Scott does more than simply explain why frank and honest communication is important; she gives readers the tools to get there. Having spent years as a business coach, and now as the head of a firm that trains CEOs around the globe, Scott is well-versed in the art of teaching exercises. “Fierce Conversations” is brimming with action items, tactics, and tailor-made examples of how to communicate in every situation, from board meetings to parenting. If you’re someone who likes concrete guides over vague concepts, this book will pleasantly surprise you.
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