18 best marketing campaign examples to inspire you

The way we shop has changed over the years, but the importance of a catchy, well-branded marketing campaign that grabs consumer attention hasn’t gone away. The key is finding a great hook or concept that will resonate with customers and make a lasting impression.

Some of the best marketing campaigns are those that tell a story that’s relatable and unforgettable. While originality is a must, the best share many of the same elements: a defined audience, a memorable hook, brand awareness, a solid offer, and a clear, authentic call to action.

The best way to understand how all these elements work together is with examples of great marketing campaigns that can teach you principles for success and inspire you to create your own winning campaign and ads. In this article, we’ll go over 22 of the best marketing campaign examples including:

  1. Dove: Real Beauty
  2. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
  3. Nike: Just Do It
  4. California Milk Processor Board: Got Milk?
  5. Coke: Share a Coke
  6. Heineken: Worlds Apart
  7. Pepsi: Is Pepsi OK?
  8. Corona: Pay with Plastic
  9. Always: Like a Girl
  10. Absolut Vodka: The Absolut
  11. Apple: Get a Mac
  12. Anheuser-Busch: Whassup
  13. Google: Year in Search
  14. Dos Equis: The Most Interesting Man in the World
  15. Kay Jewelers: Every Kiss Begins with Kay
  16. Miller Lite: Great Taste, Less Filling
  17. GoPro: Awards
  18. De Beers: A Diamond Is Forever

1. Dove: Real Beauty

Launched in 2004 in response to market research that indicated growing unrest with female body perception, Dove sought to become more relatable to the customers who were buying their products the most — women.

Challenging negative stereotypes about the female form and what is or isn’t true beauty caused Dove to resonate strongly with its target market. The multichannel campaign also integrated user-generated social media content, encouraging women to come forward and share their own messages of positive support both for the brand and for women who demonstrate realistic beauty values. This helped the campaign spread organically and added credibility to the messaging.

What makes this marketing campaign great

The brand was able to make a connection between products and human emotions, allowing consumers to connect with one another while spreading brand awareness.

Applying this example

Look for ways that your brand can align itself with positive messaging and empowerment within your target market.

2. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

Old Spice's example of a successful marketing campaign

Trying to make soap for men interesting may seem like an uphill battle. But Old Spice marketers honed in on a new target audience for its men’s hygiene products — the women in their lives.

Using humor to appeal to a female audience for a male-focused product, the marketing campaign resonates with consumers who want their men to have a certain level of upkeep. By being fast and to the point, the campaign was easy to remember and also repeatable, helping it to resonate with shoppers no matter where they might be making their purchase decisions.

What makes this marketing campaign great

Old Spice was able to define a secondary target audience to expand its market penetration while creating a fun and engaging brand identity that was memorable.

Applying this example

Explore your existing buyer personas and make sure you have everyone applicable covered in some fashion.

3. Nike: Just Do It

When Nike launched its “Just Do It” campaign, the brand hit on a relatable feeling for most consumers — the need to push through discomfort or personal resistance in order to achieve a goal.

Crafted in 1988, the slogan still stands for the brand today, creating a brand recognition that is second to none. From day one, customers have shared their own stories of overcoming adversity and facing difficulties as a way to inspire others, making Nike a symbol of enablement, in addition to athletic wear.

What makes this marketing campaign great

Nike was able to pinpoint an attitude that was empowering and empathetic, making it easy for consumers to recognize and relate to with little effort.

Applying this example

Consider ways you can implement emotions that are in line with your value proposition to create greater connections with your target audience.

4. California Milk Processor Board: Got Milk?

Creating a concern around scarcity of a product is another way to capture consumer attention. The “Got Milk?” campaign, originally launched in 1993, asked consumers to consider the significance of milk in their lives and all of the ways that they would be lacking without it.

To increase exposure, the marketing campaign used celebrity icons with more than 350 variations, all tied together with a common thread — the milk mustache. Consumers were engaged through influencers and an ability to personally identify with the question put to them.

What makes this marketing campaign great

Advertisers were able to capture national interest by using people from popular culture and changing those icons over the years to remain relevant.

Applying this example

Study how your brand may tie into a pop culture movement or icon and where you can make a bigger connection with audiences beyond your own brand.

5. Coke: Share a Coke

Coke's example of a successful marketing campaign

Taking advantage of the ever-growing popularity of social media, Coca-Cola embraced its target audience’s love of sharing content online by launching the “Share a Coke” campaign. Not only did this embrace multichannel marketing, but the product itself was labeled with different names, making it fun for consumers to look for their own name, or that of their friends, to share it online.

Eventually expanding to more than 80 different countries, the campaign maximized social sharing, allowing fans of the brand to organically promote their products as they came across name matches in stores or in other advertising formats.

What makes this marketing campaign great

As social media and omnichannel marketing rose in prominence, Coca-Cola keyed in on the importance of and demand for personalization in marketing and put their target audience to work for them through content sharing.

Applying this example

Explore ways to incorporate personalization into your marketing campaign to engage consumers in sharing or seeking out products that represent them more clearly.

6. Heineken: Worlds Apart

Creating even more engagement for the global beer brand was an absolute must in order to boost sales. To this end, Heineken took a unique angle by exploring conversations and topics with people from all walks of life, showing that while people may be a world apart, everyone is part of the greater good and global community.

The result was a marketing campaign that expanded its representation of different target audiences, some of which have been part of divisive conversations. Yet Heineken did not shy away from the topics and instead found itself resonating emotionally with its audience.

What makes this marketing campaign great

The brand used market research and analytics to better understand new aspects of its target audience and was able to create new relationships and resonating messaging that boosted sales directly.

Applying this example

Consider crafting conversations that matter by building on your buyer personas to better recognize and explore what makes them different.

7. Pepsi: Is Pepsi OK?

An advertiser’s dream is to create a Super Bowl commercial that will click with audiences and be the talk of the office the next day. Pepsi did just that in 2019 by honing in on a common question — being asked if a Pepsi is OK when ordering a soft drink in a restaurant.

Pepsi featured a list of stars to highlight the question and, more importantly, their answer that Pepsi was “more than OK.” The marketing campaign that followed demonstrated the brand’s awareness that customers who love their brand continue to be asked about their beverage as if it were a second-tier choice and played up the fact that it is just as popular as other brands.

What makes this marketing campaign great

Embracing cultural tendencies and demonstrating self-awareness immediately resonated with viewers, the majority of which were likely to identify with the scenario presented on screen. This helped to promote a more positive brand image while relating to consumer behaviors.

Applying this example

Make sure you understand how your customers perceive or interact with your brand in the real world and look for ways you can connect with them through existing means.

8. Corona: Pay with Plastic

Corona's example of a succes sful marketing campaign

Looking to expand its reach and empathize with customers based on a cause, Corona launched a marketing campaign to allow customers to exchange plastic bottles for beer. Run locally in Mexico, Brazil, Italy, and Spain, the campaign included dedicated recycling machines where consumers could insert their recycling in exchange for a Corona.

The campaign was a joint effort with Parley for the Oceans and tied into an effort to clean local beaches in exchange for every six-pack sold.

What makes this marketing campaign great

Corona was able to engage customers for a cause, tying in their choice of beer to one that would give back to the environment and create change.

Applying this example

Explore ways that you can incorporate social change into your brand messaging to expand your target audience to include those who actively seek out brands with a mission.

9. Always: Like a Girl

What does it mean to be a girl? Feminine products maker Always asked this question through a marketing campaign geared toward showing that girls come in all shapes and sizes and represent a number of diverse interests and backgrounds.

To do this, the company also conducted market research to better understand how girls perceive their own confidence and self-identity in order to create a stronger connection between their brand and consumers. Always took a phrase that could be construed as an insult and used it as a means of empowerment instead.

What makes this marketing campaign great

Keying on the emotional undertones of an oft-used phrase, “Like a Girl” was able to turn perceptions around and demonstrate that girls are strong and powerful just like anyone else.

Applying this example

Look for novel ways that you can perceive your target audience outside the status quo to engage with them on a deeper emotional level.

10. Absolut Vodka: The Absolut

For Absolut, everything comes back to its iconic bottle shape. To underscore the brand and the unique style of its product, the company launched an ad campaign depicting the bottle — or the outline of the bottle — against a variety of backgrounds and landscapes.

The result was a brand recognition play that tied into seasonal and local identities as well. From the front door of 10 Downing Street in London to the outline of an Oslo ski slope, the bottle imagery is instantly recognizable and relatable across a series of 1,500 different ads.

What makes this marketing campaign great

Absolut chose an angle and committed to it with strong iconography and catchy tie-ins that made the brand relevant to the market or locale it was targeting at the time.

Applying this example

Consider whether there is something you can craft from your product or brand into an iconic feature and carry that through all of your marketing collateral for cohesion and recognition.

11. Apple: Get a Mac

Mac's example of a successful marketing campaign

The Mac vs. PC debate has been a timeless one that Apple finally decided to embrace in its 2006 marketing campaign. Having two different people acting out the differences between the two computer types, Apple demonstrated where it felt it was superior to the PC in an identifiable and often comically relatable way.

The ads were unique in that they also clearly pointed out what it believed were the weaknesses of the competition, seeking to simplify the decision-making process for consumers who might be on the fence about which was the better choice.

What makes this marketing campaign great

The campaign took a shot at an interesting target audience, one that might be more likely to switch to using a Mac rather than a customer already converted to the brand.

Applying this example

Look for ways that you compare to and surpass the competition and find unique ways to highlight your best features while helping buyers understand your advantages.

12. Anheuser-Busch: Whassup?

Coining the word “Whassup,” Anheuser-Busch released a campaign for its Budweiser brand that became both relatable and iconic. Depicting a group of friends on the phone checking in on one another, each found the other to be relaxing at home, watching the game, and having a “bud.”

Starting each call out with the catch phrase, the “Whassup” campaign became memorable and fun for fans to participate in and repeat with their own friends. This placed the brand top of mind for consumers who shared similar interests in beverages and entertainment.

What makes this marketing campaign great

The beer company was able to create a new and fun way to engage consumers while including them in the joke along the way.

Applying this example

Consider what makes your customer base, or even a subset of your consumers, unique and look for fun ways to engage or identify with them.

Google's example of a successful marketing campaign

This marketing campaign brings together everyone from around the globe in an annual retrospective look at the trends and patterns in Google search queries. Premiering at the end of the year since 2009, this reflective campaign demonstrates that Google cares about its users and the topics or issues that matter most to them.

The marketing campaign also subtly showcases just how much consumers rely on the search engine for everything from simple questions to access and news about world events.

What makes this marketing campaign great

The campaign manages to demonstrate unity and uplifting sentiments while looking back on the year that was, and showing how integrated Google is in our daily lives.

Applying this example

Look for common threads that your brand can bring consumers together through and how you can portray them in a positive light to create a sense of community.

14. Dos Equis: The Most Interesting Man in the World

How do you make a beer brand stand out from the rest? Create an icon that serves as a mascot of sorts for consumers to easily recognize and connect with. That’s what Dos Equis did by creating “the most interesting man in the world.”

The ads were successful by being memorable and repetitive with a catchy slogan that has remained part of the brand to this day. While humorous, the campaign is also relatable as consumers want to (half) jokingly relate to the commercial by consuming the same product.

What makes this marketing campaign great

The marketing campaign doesn’t take itself too seriously and creates a sense that anyone can become an interesting, cool person if they drink Dos Equis.

Applying this example

Create an icon all your own that your target audience can identify with or enjoy relating to while embracing humor or a unique angle.

15. Kay Jewelers: Every Kiss Begins with Kay

Creating the iconic tagline in 1985, Kay Jewelers continues to have astounding brand recognition as consumers associate it with gifts and jewelry for special occasions. This is due to the campaign’s ability to pair a catchy jingle with imagery of life events that could prompt a consumer to purchase anything from a pair of earrings to a diamond engagement ring.

Kay doesn’t aim to be modern — it aims for the relatability of special moments that need to be commemorated with special gifts. These gifts, likely to be rewarded with a coveted kiss, are for the sentimental moments that define our lives.

What makes this marketing campaign great

Its repetitive jingle has become a part of popular culture as consumers have come to relate the brand with high-end gift giving.

Applying this example

Look at how to incorporate a jingle that represents a slogan or sentiment you want your brand to be known for.

16. Miller Lite: Great Taste, Less Filling

Facing an uphill battle in the newly created light beer category, Miller Lite embraced the challenge and created an ad campaign that pointed out the advantages of its latest products. Premiering in 1974, the marketing campaign fought against the idea that lower calorie beer didn’t taste as good as its counterparts.

To do this, Miller highlighted the great taste its product featured, alongside other benefits. The imagery also depicted male celebrities and athletes who were proud to represent the brand as a show of masculinity and light beer going hand in hand.

What makes this marketing campaign great

Miller Lite went head-on against misinformation around light beer by directly advertising the benefits of its products while embracing what made it different from the competition.

Applying this example

Explore the negative perceptions target audiences may have about your brand and look for ways to put a positive spin on them while calling attention to all the benefits you have to offer.

17. GoPro: Awards

GoPro's ex ample of a successful marketing campaign

For a product that encourages consumers to create content, it makes sense that the brand would incorporate user-generated content into its marketing campaign. Creating a series of awards for brand loyalists, GoPro highlighted creators using their products while engendering a sense of community and camaraderie.

The campaign was so successful that GoPro created a series of awards around different content categories, encouraging more people to get involved, no matter their creative pursuits.

What makes this marketing campaign great

GoPro was able to generate a community that engaged directly with the brand to share and produce content while demonstrating the product in action for organic and brand-generated material.

Applying this example

Explore ways to create a community around your consumer base and ways to get them involved with sharing their experiences with or use of your products to expand your marketing reach.

18. De Beers: A Diamond Is Forever

De Beers created a new category for itself in an age when engagements were not synonymous with diamond rings. Touting that diamonds were a reflection of love that would last forever, the brand popularized the engagement ring industry and paved the way for a new take on what it meant to show love to someone.

The campaign also set the standard for what is — or isn’t — an acceptable amount for buyers to spend on a diamond based on their income. Not shying away from stipulating consumer behavior, the ad campaign has gone on to be named one of the most memorable in the industry.

What makes this marketing campaign great

The ad copy clearly demonstrates a call to action, along with guidelines for consumers to follow that, in turn, justifies the amount they are asking consumers to spend.

Applying this example

Define your own worth by creating the value of your products and brand for your target buyers.

How to use these examples to launch your own marketing campaign

While every marketing campaign should be unique, it’s clear that the best have a lot in common. An effective marketing campaign can improve your brand’s awareness and image while making a positive impact on corporate profits. The goal is to craft a creative message and keep it consistent wherever consumers are likely to come across it.

Once you’re ready to create your own marketing campaign, you can use the elements and lessons provided from these examples. With a clear target audience and an understanding of what you want them to do once they see your creative, you can cultivate marketing campaigns that are fun, on brand, engaging, and compelling.

When managing your creative, Adobe Campaign makes it simple to connect and report on the customer journey as consumers engage with your brand. Use customer data to coordinate and deliver campaigns of your own for both online and offline journeys while viewing metrics across a single workflow. The result is a multichannel marketing experience that is unified and simplified.

Learn how Campaign can help you deliver integrated and dynamic marketing by watching the demo video.

Marketers also need to manage complex buying journeys while communicating directly with prospects and customers. That’s where Adobe Marketo Engage can help. A complete lead management platform, Marketo Engage helps marketers create personalized experiences, optimize content, and leverage different strategies across platforms.

Discover how Adobe Marketo Engage can help you create engaging customer experiences at scale with proven impact by watching the overview video or taking an interactive tour.