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Learn from the Pros: Marketing Campaigns that Worked

Designing a marketing campaign isn’t always easy. Marketing campaigns take time, dedication, hard work, and a strong and knowledgeable team to get the job done. When analyzing marketing campaigns, one thing becomes clear, and that is that some campaigns stand out more than others.

While creating a marketing campaign can be a challenge, the more challenging aspect is creating a successful campaign. Successful marketing campaigns aren’t as easy to attain, but when they happen, it is always best to take notice of them. Below is an overview of some of the best and most successful marketing campaigns of all time. Taking note of them and seeing where their success lies can help you when you develop your next campaign.

Thank You Mom – Proctor and Gamble

The year 2014 was a year where women, mothers especially, felt greatly under appreciated. Their commitment to the home and to work outside of the home has gone vastly unnoticed, until Proctor and Gamble presented the Thank You Mom commercial for the 2014 Olympics. Proctor and Gamble not only sponsored the Olympics, but their product base coincided very well with its commercial.

Proctor and Gamble is one of the largest producers of household products that include items sectors like beauty, grooming, healthcare, snacks, home care,  baby care, and family care. This is significant because the marketing commercial appealed to exactly the target market that uses those goods. Mothers, in caring for the home, are the main purchasers and consumers of those products. By showing consumer appreciation, the brand successfully built trust, understanding, appreciation, and support for the people who purchase their products.
The takeaway from this marketing campaign is to appeal to your consumer, especially in a way that makes them feel appreciated and understood. You also want to target your commercials to those who specifically purchase your products.

The Refresh Project – Pepsi

There is nothing like a marketing campaign that truly appeals to the consumer through social projects. In 2010, when hundreds of America’s top brands were tossing millions of dollars into the Super Bowl, Pepsi did something unheard of – it opted out of one of the biggest and greatest money machines of the year. Rather than spend millions on advertising soda to Super Bowl viewers, Pepsi marketed “The Refresh Project.”

This campaign marketed Pepsi to the public by showing that Pepsi was not only a big brand, but that it was a brand that could give back and actually care about its consumers. It awarded $20 million in grants to individuals, businesses, people, and non-profits. The “wow” factor for this campaign was that Pepsi wasn’t the one deciding where to donate the money, but it allowed its fans to choose. This was an effective strategy because it gave consumers the power to affect the brand in a positive manner.
The take away from this marketing campaign is that the consumer appreciates marketing campaigns by brands that give back to the community in positive ways. Also, allowing the consumer a bit of power in affecting the brand is always a good thing.

Bitwell Inc. – The Helmet

Social media is always a great source for brands to engage consumers and to establish a feeling of togetherness. Bitwell has mastered this marketing strategy by creating a marketing campaign involving a helmet, Facebook, and frequent postings of consumer projects. Bitwell invites its fans to partake in helmet art, a campaign where fans decorate their Bitwell helmets with crazy and cool designs that have a chance to be featured on the Brand’s Facebook page.

This marketing campaign has been largely successful. Not only do customers get to feel like their voice and work matters, but they also are able to appreciate how much other consumers love the brand. Photographs often generate thousands of “likes,” comments, and shares. These forms of engagement generate are nearly effortless on the part of the brand. Those that are left marketing the brand at the end of the day are the consumers themselves.
The take away from this marketing campaign is that consumer engagement is a key to a successful marketing campaign. In addition, brand marketers do not need to work as hard as they think. Once you have a great campaign started, consumers can make the campaign more successful by “sharing” the information.

Real Beauty – Dove

As mentioned earlier, women have constantly felt alienated by marketers. To the marketing world, women were not a group to market to, they were a group who was told how to dress, how to act, and how they should look like. Dove decided to drift away from this unfavorable approach by instituting a marketing campaign about “real” women.

Beauty is not what the media dictates, it is what a woman truly looks like from the outside. One of the most successful elements of this marketing campaign is the “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” campaign, where the brand chose a few women and had them sketched. The advertisement appeals to the sensitive side of women by pointing out how seeing themselves sketched affects their perceptions of themselves.

Rather than having women see themselves as inadequate in the face of advertisements, the male artist portrays them as the beautiful beings that they are. This marketing campaign is not the only popular advertisement of the campaign. Dove also has videos with women viewing themselves in mirrors, explaining what they want for their daughters, and appreciating who they are as they truly are. The concept of an unattainable beauty created by the media has been abolished by Dove’s campaign, which is why the marketing campaign was so successful.
The take away from this marketing campaign is that going against the norm can be a good thing. Rather than market to women or men about an idea of how they should be, market to them as they truly are and appeal to that true human beauty. The consumer ultimately appreciates the attempts at depicting reality the true way, which in turn generates more support and trust for a brand.

Red Bull Gives You Wings – Red Bull

There is nothing like empowering the consumer. Empowerment gives the consumer identity, a sense of self, and knowledge that they can handle anything anytime. Red Bull capitalized on this concept by marketing its brand as an item that can “give you wings.”

This inspirational and witty tagline to their brand was accompanied by the idea that not only does Red Bull give wings to the average individual, but it goes as far as helping professionals and athletes alike. With the increased capability that Red Bull provides, the consumer feels like he or she can handle anything.

However, there is also a downfall to these express warranties is that you certainly don’t want to mislead your customer when making them. While the marketing campaign has been wildly successful for years, the success eventually came to an end in 2014 when Red Bull was sued. Apparently, one guy felt misled about Red Bull’s promise and sued the brand. Surprisingly enough, Red Bull lost the lawsuit.
The take away from this marketing campaign is that a good catch phrase that appeals to consumers is always a good thing, but it is also important to not choose one that makes an express warranty that the brand cannot fulfill.

The Blair Witch Project

These days, marketers spend millions of dollars to market a movie to the public. However, before the advent of YouTube and Facebook, companies had to rely on more conventional modes of marketing, such as their own innovation. The Blair Witch Project was a successful marketing campaign because the makers of the movie, who spent approximately $22,000 in producing the film, were able to convince the public that the movie wasn’t just a film, but was something real.

The marketing campaign involved the innovation of finding the film in the woods and posting flyers all of the country regarding the film. These moves, coupled with “real” trailers, made the legend into something real and exciting for consumers.
The take away from this marketing campaign is that a campaign doesn’t always need to be flashy for consumers. A campaign can simply be something that builds suspense, belief, and interest in a product.

Beats – Dr. Dre

Music gear has always been popular among the public, but the problem is effectively marketing the music gear in a market that is already highly saturated. Dr. Dre has seemingly mastered this task by marketing his signature headset as a product that gives inner strength and belief in oneself. It has also been marketed a product that creates focus and an ability to perform very well.
The take away from this campaign is that marketing campaigns that empower the consumer are usually very effective. The next time you design your next marketing campaign, appeal to the consumer on a human level.


The above marketing campaigns are some of the best in recent years. By taking tips from their strategies, you can make your next campaign a true success. There are dozens of more campaigns on the web that you can also view if you’re looking for more variance.

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About Sean Donahoe

Sean is one of the most recognized industry leaders in business and marketing. As a popular speaker, author, consultant he has helped over 50,000 students world wide find success in their businesses and has consulted with Fortune 500 companies and businesses of every size grow and thrive...

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