The best ads are the ones that make you take notice, change your perspective, or have a strong emotional reaction. As a marketer, I’ve been exposed to, and analyzed, many ads over the years, but these are a select few that stuck with me along the way.
1. The Real Thing (Coca Cola)
Jamaica is Pepsi country, but I have always had an affinity for Coca-Cola. I used to think it’s because of taste, but now I think it’s just because they brainwashed me with their cute ads. The best of them all, however, has got to be the classic Hilltop ad from 1971 and the reunion version in 1990.
Having people from all over the world on television, much less in an ad, was pretty much unheard of at the time, so it makes me tear up just a little to know the statement Coke made when they released this campaign
2. Get A Mac (Apple)
If you grew in the 90’s and 00’s, you’ll definitely remember these ads. While being an avid young PC user at the time, I enjoyed the banter between Mac and PC. Mostly I enjoyed the way Apple used this direct comparison to showcase exactly who their target audience was and still manage to make it very funny in the process. Years later, I’m a total Mac convert, and who’s to say it’s not because of these ads.
3. We Try Harder (Avis)
Of all the trends in advertising, “honest advertising” has got to be my favourite. This is where a brand tells you up front what’s “wrong” with their product, but shows you how they turn that shortcoming into an advantage for you.
One of the pioneers in this tactic was Avis, who openly admitted they were the number two brand in car rentals, but went to on to explain just how much being number two meant better service for their customers.
4. Worst Hotel in the World (Hans Brinker Hotel)
Speaking of honest marketing, you’ve got to check out these ads for the Hans Brinker Hotel in Amsterdam. LMAO! They basically promise their guests that if you stay there, you’ll leave looking like shit – and for the average 20-something hostel backpacker, that sounds perfect! For everyone else, not so much.
Of all the brands on this list, Hans Brinker is probably the one I wouldn’t actually try – but that’s only because they do such a good job telling me that I’m completely out of their demographic.
5. Farmed & Dangerous (Chipotle)
Imagine a restaurant chain making a whole ass television show as a marketing campaign. Chipotle did! The funny series sent home the message of Chipotle’s dedication to better farming practices to grow the foods they used to the create their infamous meals.
The best part, however, is that they chose to tell an actual story with a solid plotline and not just make it one big Chipotle ad. I will always appreciate a brand that understands the value of content beyond advertising.
The series is available for purchase on Amazon, but you can check out the case study below.
PS. One of my favourite things to come out of the series was this banging (but seriously under-rated) club hit.