What is it that makes a great campaign? The answer to this question is not that simple but at the same time not even that complicated. The answer lies in the words that the great Humphrey Bogart said in a 1955 classic We’re No Angels, “I do not sell a product, I sell an idea.” The great marketing campaigns are those that in the first place sell ideas.

The greatest marketing feats are the ones that persuade you that by purchasing their product or paying for their service you are not getting anything physical or material, you are buying a lifestyle and becoming a part of something greater than yourself. With this in mind, here are some of the greatest marketing campaigns of all time, in our humble opinion.

De Beers Diamons

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A diamond is forever

There is probably seldom a person out there that at least once hadn’t heard about this phrase, representing the motto of one of the greatest campaigns of all time. Several centuries ago, getting married was quite simple. All that it took to get it done was some minor legal support usually followed with a bit richer supper than usual and that was it, no long, expensive white gown, no bridesmaids and definitely no diamond ring for engagement.

Today, something like this is almost unthinkable. The reason why we put this De Beers marketing campaign first is because by creating a simple idea and advocating it through media for more than half a century, they have forever changed the entire protocol of engagement. This simple pun, “a diamond is forever,” indicating subtly, almost unnoticeably the frailty of 20th century marriage became an iconic phrase, known even to those who have no idea where it came from. This made their campaign as durable and strong as diamonds that they provide.


Just Do It!

Image source: brandchannel.com

Just do it!

Here is a simple slogan, a sentence that can easily be attributed to any motivational speaker or a simple friendly encouraging. Still, upon uttering it today, most people will bring in their mind the idea of Nike Corporation and their sports gear. Now this slogan is brilliant in its simplicity. Most of the Nike’s gear is purchased by athletes, professional or situational, and the words “Just do it”, create a simple yet unmistakable connotation that Nike is used exclusively by winners and people who don’t give up. As mentioned before an idea is often more important and more lucrative than the product itself.


Marlboro Man

Image source: genius.com

The Marlboro Man

When it comes to selling a lifestyle, Marlboro man is as big as it gets. What happened here was a brilliant marketing campaign which envisioned a lifestyle that most men aspired to in 1955 and gave them an opportunity to see what it looked like in their own eyes. This free manly man of the old west, further advocated through the numerous westerns filmed at the time was exactly what Marlboro’s target audience wanted to see. Furthermore there was another thing there, a subtle promise that by using Marlboro you are one step closer to achieving this goal of freedom for yourself.






Dove Real Beauty

Image source: www.hercampus.com

Dove, real beauty

After giving an example of a legendary man oriented marketing campaign, it is only right to introduce its female counterpart. In today’s world, many complain that the standards for a look of an ideal women are all but realistic. What dove offered to its target audience is a statement that their products belong to all women out there regardless of race age weight and complexion. This simple yet effective and beautifully composed campaign turned out to be a great success and a success well earned.



Get a Mac

In the end, one simple yet elegant way of making a great marketing campaign is creating or promoting already existing rivalry. Same as with Coke and Pepsi, there is ever existing rivalry not between Mac and Pc but between Mac users and PC users. What apple did was show to their users that they are aware of this rivalry, as well of their loyalty and that they have their full support. Needless to say, after this campaign their sales jumped by 42%.

Get A Mac

Image source: en.wikipedia.org

There are many different approaches through which one can create a great campaign. Some create an idea, some just nurture the existing one while some just exploit rivalries. All is fair in love and war, and the dog-eat-dog world of business is no less than a battlefield.

Posted by James D. Burbank

James D. Burbank has worked for years in traditional as well as online marketing. He has worked in Central Asia, Europe and Australasia for years, helping US-based companies exhibit at trade shows in those parts of the world, among other things. He’s been on the ground for years and for the last few years, he has also been working in online marketing. James is currently on well-deserved hiatus and blogs about his experiences, the stuff he’s learned and more. Business and marketing all the way. He is also a father of two and a huge Utah Jazz fan.