1. The Old Spice Guy
Plenty of people can remember when Old Spice was an ‘Old Man’ scent. Now it’s one of the top-selling brands among teens and young men worldwide. How did this happen? Through brilliant marketing. Procter & Gamble made a steady effort to improve Old Spice’s image throughout the nineties, but things really took off with their “Smell Like A Man, Man” campaign. The adverts for this featured ‘Old Spice Guy’ Isaiah Mustafa striding around shirtless while assertively declaiming a hilariously tongue-in-cheek script. These alone were a great success, but when P&G took the campaign to the internet (allowing fans to question the ‘Old Spice Guy’ over social media), the reinvention was complete. The combination of self-awareness, self-parody, and direct consumer interaction plugged perfectly into the early social-media era zeitgeist, and the brand gained a 107% increase in short term sales.
2. Innocent Drinks
Innocent Drinks is a British company. Unsurprisingly, its advertising here has a very British flavour. It’s chatty, a bit off-the-wall, irreverent, and colloquial. What you may not realize is that Innocent are also perceived as a very ‘local’ brand worldwide. They’ve put laudable amounts of effort into making sure that their promotional style ‘translates’ into different languages and cultures. Someone watching an Innocent advert in Spanish will find it just as informal and amusing as someone watching it in English. Even ads aired in America or Australia will have their character adjusted for cultural relevance. Everyone experiences the tone of an Innocent advert in the same manner, no matter their nationality. That’s no mean feat – and it’s paid off for Innocent.
3. Dove ‘Real Beauty’
Cosmetics brand Dove have been using their ‘real beauty’ campaign since 2004, and it’s consistently pushed out viral material. By turning traditional cosmetic marketing tactics on their head, Dove have both gobbled up a huge share of the market, and kicked off a global conversation. In an advert which nearly broke the internet, Dove asked a selection of women to describe themselves to an FBI artist. They then asked others to describe the same women to the same artist. When comparing the pictures, the differences between women’s negative self-perceptions and what other people see was revealed. With this and other such material, Dove have set themselves up as the brand for ‘real’ women and ‘real’ beauty – as opposed to the kind of airbrushed models against which there is always considerable backlash. Some have accused Unilever (Dove’s parent company) of being manipulative with this, given that they are pushing products which ostensibly reinforce standards of female beauty. However, the campaign’s success cannot be denied.
4. ‘Share A Coke’
Consumers increasingly need promotional material to be directly relevant to them. Coke took this on board with a campaign which saw them brand bottles with a selection of first names. For a brand under siege by health watchdogs worldwide, it was a stroke of genius. Even the most diet-conscious consumer found it hard to resist buying the bottle with their name on it. What’s more, the marketing did itself. People uploaded thousands upon thousands of selfies of themselves with the bottles bearing their names, while Coke sat back and counted the money.
5. Dos Equis ‘The Most Interesting Man In The World’
You know your campaign has made it big when the internet turns it into a meme. Rather than presenting their beer as something consumed by handsome twenty-somethings, Dos Equis chose to market it as a brand drunk by successful, debonaire, and (above all) interesting older men. The adverts are as tongue-in-cheek as the Old Spice ads, and the tagline (“I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos Equis”) has been through millions of incarnations on social media. Cleverly, the ‘Most Interesting Man In The World’ is not the kind of person which young audiences (much to their frustration) are not. He’s the kind of person they want to become. And he’s a lot older than they are, so there’s still time! All they have to do is start drinking Dos Equis…