Best Ads of all Time
Most ads are terrible. They are annoying, thoughtless and usually ineffective. But every now and then, an ad captures your attention. Sometimes for a split second and sometimes forever. These ads have commanded attention, changed industries and even impacted presidential races.
At the turn of the century, manufacturers introduced new production techniques, standardized products and dramatically expanded markets.
Total advertising in the United States grew from about $200 million in 1880 to nearly $3 billion in 1920.
Influenced by the work of Freud, advertisers believed that human instincts could be harnessed and manipulated into purchasing. Turns out they were were right.
- 1900 - Pears Soap, Good morning. Have you used Pears’ soap
- 1905 - Campbell Soup, The Campbell Soup Kids
- 1912 - Morton Salt, When it rains it pours
- 1921 - Camel cigarettes, I’d walk a mile for a Camel
- 1927 - Sanka, Sanka—everything you love about coffee
- 1927 - Wheaties, Breakfast of champions
- 1943 - Westinghouse, We can do it
- 1948 - DeBeers, A diamond is forever
- 1950 - Timex, Takes a licking and keeps on ticking
- 1953 - Dial Soap, Aren’t you glad you use Dial? Don’t you wish everybody did?
- 1955 - Marlboro, The Marlboro Man
- 1956 - Clariol, Does she or doesn’t she
- 1958 - Rolls-Royce, At 60 miles an hour
- 1958 - Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Tony the Tiger
- 1959 - Volkswagen, Think Small
- 1959 - Maxwell House, Haggadah
- 1963 - Lucky Charms, Lucky the Lebrechaun
- 1964 - Charmin, Please don’t squeeze the Charmin
During the 1970s, an average American consumer was exposed to 1,600 ads per day. Why? TV of course. By the mid-seventies, 70 million U.S. homes owned at least one TV set and watched TV six hours per day. This was the era when advertisers starting to take brand position seriously and was the first times they featured minorities in ads.
- 1970 - Budweiser, This Bud’s for you
- 1970 - 7 UP, The Uncola
- 1970 - Yellowpages, Let your fingers do the walking
- 1970 - AT&T, Reach out and touch someone
- 1971 - Merril Lynch, We’re Bullish on America
- 1972 - Life cereal, Mikey Likes It
- 1973 - Burger King, Have it your way
- 1974 - Miller Lite, Tastes great, less filling
- 1975 - Pepsi-Cola, The Pepsi challenge
- 1975 - American Express, Don’t Leave Home Without It
- 1976 - Rolaids, How do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S
- 1978 - EF Hutton, When EF Hutton talks, people listen
- 1979 - Coca Cola, Mean Joe Greene
- 1979 - Snickers, Snickers Satisfies
- 1979 - Smith Barney, We make the money the old-fashioned way—we earn it
Cable TV reshaped TV industry during the 80s. Cable channels prospered, displacing the power of the mass audience of traditional broadcast networks. With increasingly diffuse audiences, advertisers could tailor ads..
The VCR allowed viewers to control the programs available to them and skip ads. Agencies started shifting to 15-second shows to reduce the cost per ad. The shorter sports crammed more product information into each ad. The combination of the VCR and shorter spots pushed ads to entertain and grab attention.
- 1980 - Isuzu, Lying Joe Isuzu
- 1980 - Foster’s Foster’s , Australian for beer
- 1980 - Grey Poupon, Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?
- 1981 - Absolut Vodka, The Absolut Bottle
- 1981 - Irish Spring Soap, Fresh and Clean as a Whistle
- 1981 - U.S. Army, Be all that you can be
- 1981 - FedEx, Fast Talker
- 1982 - Reeses Pieces, ET Product Placement
- 1983 - Jell-O, Bill Cosby Jello Ads
- 1984 - Apple Computer, 1984
- 1984 - Wendy’s, Where’s the beef?
- 1984 - Bartles & Jaymes, And thank you for your support.
- 1984 - Reagan for President, It’s morning again in America
- 1986 - Nike, Spike Lee – Gotta be the shoes
- 1986 - California Raisin Advisory Board, California Raisins
- 1987 - Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, This is your brain on drugs
- 1988 - Nike, Just Do It
- 1988 - Motel 6, We’ll leave a light on for you
- 1988 - Fancy Feast , Good taste is easy to recognize
- 1989 - Nike, Bo Knows
- 1989 - Energizer, The Energizer Bunny
- 1989 - Saturn, A different kind of company, A different kind of car.
- 1989 - Gillette, The best a man can get
- 1989 - Life Call, I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up
As the baby boom generation aged, the birth rate in the U.S. declined and family units became smaller. Immigrant and minority groups grew, the population shifted toward the Sunbelt states and new market segments emerged.
Online advertising was born during in the 90s with the first banner ad launched in 1994, but it was still too early to attract large ad buys. In fact, most of the money burned by dot com companies was still spent on traditional advertising.
- 1991 - Chevy , Like a Rock
- 1992 - PEPSI, Cindy Crawford
- 1993 - McDonald’s, Larry Bird vs. Michael Jordan
- 1993 - California Milk Processor Board, Got Milk?
- 1994 - Salton, George Foreman Grill
- 1995 - ESPN Sports, This is SportsCenter
- 1995 - Proactiv, Celebrity Infomercials
- 1996 - PEPSI, Your Cheatin’ Heart
- 1997 - Apple, Think Different
- 1997 - MasterCard, For everything else, there’s MasterCard
- 1997 - Taco Bell, Yo Quiero Taco Bell (Chihuahua)
- 1997 - Southwest, Ding – You are now free to move about the country
- 1999 - Budweiser, Wassup
- 1999 - Geico, Gecko
Broadband went from a rarity to a commodity. DVRs ushered in nearly complete control for viewers of programing and ads. And online ads went from minuscule to massive, overtaking TV spending in 2016.
- 2000 - Priceline, The Priceline Negotiator
- 2003 - Buger King , The King
- 2003 - Apple, Ipod
- 2003 - Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority , What happens in vegas stays in vegas
- 2004 - Dove, Real Beauty
- 2006 - Apple, Get a Mac
- 2006 - Blendtec, Will it Blend
- 2007 - Life Lock, Social Security Ad
- 2007 - Dos Equis, Most Interesting Man in the World
- 2008 - Subway, 5 dollar footlong
- 2008 - Obama Presidential Campaign, Yes We Can / Si se puede
- 2008 - Obama Presdidential Campaign, Hope Poster
- 2008 - Snuggie, Snuggie Infomercial
- 2008 - Staples, Easy Button
- 2009 - Alec Brownstein, Creative Google Ad
- 2009 - Mailchimp, Serial
- 2009 - Old Spice, Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like
- 2010 - Toyota Sienna, Swagger Wagon
- 2011 - Volkswagon, The Force
- 2012 - Chipolte, Back to the start
- 2012 - Mailbox, Video Ad
- 2012 - Grasshopper & LessFilms, Shit Entreprneuers say
- 2012 - Dollar Shave Club, Viral Youtube Video
- 2013 - Osmo, Kids commercials
- 2013 - Goldie Blox, Girls commercial
- 2014 - Calvin Klein, https://tend.io/blog/best-ads-of-the-2000s#mycalvins
- 2014 - Always, Like a girl
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