9 Branding Wins that Stood the Test of Time

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Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Friday, December 20, 2019

Branding is something that naturally changes over time, but some examples have managed to stand the test of time.

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Updating and evolving your brand over time is an important part of staying relevant and continuing to address the pain points of your target audience. But every now and then, there's a campaign that breaks the mold, becoming iconic and resonating with people regardless of how many years have passed.

Here are nine branding wins that have stood the test of time:

Pepsi's We Will Rock You

In 2011, Pepsi released an advert featuring Beyoncé, Pink and Britney Spears enjoying their classic beverage with the message that women are stronger when they work together instead of against one another. 

 

It wasn't just ahead of the curve with its display of female empowerment but also demonstrated how powerful brand ambassadors can be. Part of the longevity of the advert is undoubtedly the fact that each of the women Pepsi chose to feature continued to skyrocket in terms of popularity after the ad was released.

Nike's Just Do It

When Nike first launched, it catered almost exclusively to marathon runners but its 'Just Do It' campaign changed all of that.

First used in the late 80s, the slogan helped the brand race ahead of its rivals, who had been massively outperforming it. Nike managed to find a three-word mantra that encapsulated everything its audience felt and empathized with it.

Don't fancy the gym? Just do it. Don't want to run in the rain? Just do it. Don't want to buy a new pair of trainers? Just do it. 

 

Dove's Real Beauty

Dove launched its Real Beauty campaign in 2004 and the message behind it is still relevant today.

In April 2013, the personal care brand scored a viral hit with a short film based on a social experiment in which a sketch artist was asked to draw two images of women he had never seen. One image was based on the woman's description of herself, while the other was based on a stranger's description of her, and in most cases the sketches looked completely different.

Dove used this to start a discussion of women's self-image, linking it to research showing that only 4% of women describe themselves as beautiful.

The Real Beauty campaign has been seen in approximately 110 countries.

 

De Beers' A diamond is forever

Few campaigns can claim to have literally changed how people view one of the most important milestones in their lives; marriage. De Beers' managed to do this with its simple 'A diamond is forever' ad in the late 1940s.

The aim of the ad was to tell people that any proposal without a diamond was doomed, and it succeeded. Today, more than 80% of engagements feature a diamond ring, even for people who have never heard of De Beers, compared to around 10% in the 1940s.

De-Beer-AdSource

Apple's 1984 Super Bowl ad

Apple's 1984 ad became iconic for two main reasons; it was only aired once, and offered consumers something completely different. 

 

Taking inspiration from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984, the ad unveiled the Macintosh for the first time by presenting it as a way to break conformity. A woman is seen running away from patrols and then throwing a hammer at the screen brainwashing rows and rows of people. The ad then promises that Apple will show consumers why '1984 won't be like 1984'.

California Milk Processor Board's Got Milk

You know your branding efforts have succeeded when your slogan becomes part of the cultural lexicon. 'Got milk?' has appeared in American TV shows Rick and Morty, Friends and Roseanne, as well as several films.

The slogan was created way back in 1993 as part of an advertising campaign for the California Milk Processor Board to encourage milk consumption.

It debuted in a now-famous TV commercial directed by Hollywood filmmaker Michael Bay and has been parodied and referenced countless times since.

 

Coca-Cola's Look Up America

In 1974, Coca-Cola went one step further in its campaign to bring people together with a soft drink. America was just coming out of Vietnam and was in the midst of political turmoil thanks to the Watergate scandal, and Coke's ads convinced its audience to become patriotic once again. 

 

The "Look Up America" commercials had a distinct propaganda vibe but played iconic images of America, including farmers, football players, New York, farmers and, of course, Coca-Cola. In a time when many Americans were despairing with their country, Coke gave them a reason to be proud of who they were.

American Express' Small Business Saturday

This is an example of how a brand can achieve a big boost in exposure and recognition by going beyond traditional advertising and helping to create something that generates real value for its customers.

American Express created Small Business Saturday as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. While those sales events are dominated by major retailers and ecommerce giants, Small Business Saturday encourages people to support small, independent enterprises in their local area.

The event was launched in 2010 and is still going strong today.

 

Budweiser's Whassup

Alcohol brands often struggle to immerse themselves into pop culture because of strict advertising regulations but in 1999, Budweiser did exactly that.

Based around a group phone call, the ad is fairly trivial but managed to become iconic partly because it was so silly. Its popularity was then elevated by the 2000 Super Bowl and films like Scary Movie. 

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