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Top 20 Ad Campaigns So Genius, They’ll Make Your Jaw Drop! 😱

by Artemis K. | | 15 min read
creative-ad-campaigns

Are you eager to know how to make creative ad campaigns that win customer hearts and convert like crazy? You should definitely learn from the best. This is why we’ve prepared for you the list of 20 creative ad campaigns so genius, they conquered the whole world! 

In the vast sea of advertising, there exist campaigns that don’t just float; they soar. These are not just mere advertisements, but art forms that challenge conventions, shatter expectations, and redefine benchmarks.

They’ve elicited gasps, laughs, tears, and above all, admiration. But what sets them apart? It’s not just big budgets or star-studded casts; it’s raw creativity, the audacity to think outside the box, and the passion to turn visions into realities.

So, brace yourself for an odyssey into the heart of advertising genius. Let these trailblazing campaigns inspire you, reminding you that with a sprinkle of creativity and a dash of luck, your advertisements can not only captivate audiences but can also convert like mad. Ready to be dazzled? Let’s dive in.

Learn from the best: 10 creative ad campaigns from world giants

a picture of a man watching creative ad campaigns

In the ever-evolving world of marketing, certain brands stand out, setting benchmarks for success and innovation. These well-established giants have paved the way with campaigns that resonate, inspire, and make a lasting impact. Their strategies are often studied in marketing courses and emulated by others.

Below, we unveil a list of renowned companies that have launched some of the most effective and creative ad campaigns in recent history.

Nike’s “Just Do It” featuring Colin Kaepernick

an example of creative ad campaigns that won the world

Nike took a bold stance by featuring Colin Kaepernick, an NFL player known for his protest against racial injustice. The campaign, centered around the tagline “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything“, ignited debates but highlighted Nike’s commitment to addressing societal issues.

  • Background: Amidst rising tensions on racial injustice and NFL protests, Nike sought to make a powerful statement.
  • The Ad: Featuring Colin Kaepernick, the campaign bore the tagline “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” signifying sacrifice for a greater cause.
  • Impact: The campaign became a cultural phenomenon, sparking global discussions on racial issues and corporate responsibility.
  • Proof: Nike sales increased by 31% following the campaign, indicating its resonating impact.

Dove’s “Real Beauty” Sketches

introducing dove's crazy ad campaign that convert

Dove’s groundbreaking campaign showcased the gap between self-perception and how others see us. Using forensic sketches, the video revealed that women often undervalue their beauty. This heartwarming campaign became an internet sensation, promoting self-love.

  • Background: The beauty industry often presents idealized images of women, which Dove sought to challenge.
  • The Ad: Dove used forensic sketches to show the disparity between women’s self-perception and how others describe them.
  • Impact: The video went viral, inspiring discussions about self-worth and natural beauty.
  • Proof: The ad quickly became one of the most-watched online videos of its time, garnering over 67 million views.

Burger King’s “Whopper Detour”

a picture showing a creative ad campaign of Burger King

Burger King cheekily directed customers to McDonald’s locations, only to offer them a Whopper for a cent if they rerouted to Burger King. This audacious campaign was a hit, both in terms of engagement and awards.

  • Background: In a saturated fast-food market, Burger King sought an innovative way to outshine competitors.
  • The Ad: They offered a Whopper for a cent but only to those who approached a McDonald’s, showcasing audacity and humor.
  • Impact: Burger King successfully drew attention and foot traffic from its biggest rival.
  • Proof: The app became the number one most downloaded in the Apple App Store following the campaign.

Red Bull Stratos Jump

creative ad campaign of red bull

Red Bull sponsored a thrilling event where Felix Baumgartner jumped from space, breaking the speed of sound. This awe-inspiring spectacle boosted Red Bull’s brand as one that pushes the limits of possibility.

  • Background: Red Bull, known for its adventurous branding, wanted to push the envelope further.
  • The Ad: They sponsored Felix Baumgartner’s jump from space, challenging human limits.
  • Impact: Beyond the historical achievement, Red Bull solidified its reputation as a brand associated with extreme feats.
  • Proof: The jump garnered millions of live views, and Red Bull’s social mentions surged by over 300%.

Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

an example of creative ad campaigns that change the world of marketing

Old Spice’s humorous ad starring Isaiah Mustafa became an immediate cultural touchstone. The captivating monologue and comedic tone revitalized Old Spice’s brand image overnight.

  • Background: Old Spice, once seen as outdated, aimed to rejuvenate its brand image.
  • The Ad: With its whimsical monologue and humor, the commercial redefined Old Spice’s messaging.
  • Impact: The ad became an overnight sensation, sparking parodies and discussions.
  • Proof: Old Spice reported a sales increase of 107% a month after the campaign launch.

IKEA’s “Smallest Store in the World”

an example of Ikea's creative ad campaign

IKEA ingeniously transformed a billboard into a virtual store using QR codes. This campaign melded simplicity with tech, allowing passersby to shop directly from the billboard.

  • Background: In an age of online shopping, IKEA looked for a unique approach to bridge the physical-digital divide.
  • The Ad: By transforming a billboard into a virtual store, they married convenience with innovation.
  • Impact: This campaign stood out for its blend of minimalism and modern tech.
  • Proof: The initiative saw a boost in online sales, showcasing the effective blend of offline and online retail.

Airbnb’s “Until We All Belong”

a picture showing to advertise your product right

Supporting marriage equality in Australia, Airbnb designed a broken ring symbolizing the gap in marriage rights. The brand called for unity and change, resonating with supporters of the cause.

  • Background: During Australia’s debate on marriage equality, Airbnb aimed to take a meaningful stand.
  • The Ad: Centered around a broken ring, they symbolized the gap in marriage rights, advocating for change.
  • Impact: The campaign tugged at heartstrings, urging collective action for equality.
  • Proof: The campaign raised significant awareness, and shortly after, Australia voted in favor of marriage equality.

Heineken’s “Worlds Apart”

a picture showing a stunning ad campaign of heineken

Heineken’s emotional ad paired strangers with opposing beliefs, emphasizing unity over discord. The campaign’s success lay in its message of understanding and bridging divides during divisive times.

  • Background: In a polarized world, Heineken aimed to highlight unity over division.
  • The Ad: Pairing strangers with opposing views, they emphasized the power of dialogue.
  • Impact: The message of understanding resonated with many, receiving global praise.
  • Proof: The ad garnered tens of millions of views online and numerous awards for its impactful message.

Share a Coke

a picture of creative ad campaign of coca cola

Coca-Cola turned their bottles into personalized tokens by replacing their logo with common names. This innovative approach transformed ordinary drinks into shared experiences, deepening Coca-Cola’s bond with its audience.

  • Background: To foster a personal connection with consumers, Coca-Cola sought an innovative branding approach.
  • The Ad: By replacing its logo with common names, Coca-Cola made each drink a personalized experience.
  • Impact: The campaign transformed an everyday product into a shared experience.
  • Proof: Coca-Cola reported a significant increase in sales following the campaign, reversing a decade-long decline.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

a picture of icebucket challenge

An organic, viral challenge, participants doused themselves with icy water and donated to ALS research. Its massive reach, coupled with celebrity participation, resulted in significant funds raised and awareness for ALS.

  • Background: ALS research needed funding and awareness, prompting this grassroots initiative.
  • The Ad: Not corporate-backed, this challenge saw individuals pour ice water over themselves, urging donations.
  • Impact: The campaign went viral, with celebrities joining in, bringing attention to ALS.
  • Proof: The challenge raised over $115 million for ALS research, marking a monumental success for grassroots campaigns.

Small ventures advertise like a pro: 10 stunning stories to blow your mind

While large corporations often steal the spotlight with their vast budgets and extensive reach, small businesses too have been creating ripples in the advertising world.

These unsung heroes, with limited resources, have crafted ad campaigns that are not just smart, but also equally compelling and effective. Their ability to think out-of-the-box and resonate with their audience proves that you don’t need deep pockets to advertise like a pro.

Still unsure about your own advertising potential? Dive into this list of ordinary companies with extraordinary campaigns. Get inspired, and harness these insights to elevate your business.

Dollar Shave Club’s Launch Video

a picture showing how to run creative ad campaigns

Dollar Shave Club burst onto the scene with a quirky video featuring their CEO casually touring their factory. With humor and a clear message, they offered affordable razors delivered to your door. The video instantly went viral, turning the startup into a household name.

  • Background: The razor market was dominated by big players when the Dollar Shave Club burst onto the scene. They had to make a bold statement.
  • The Ad: The launch video begins with the company’s CEO, Michael Dubin, stating, “Stop paying for shave tech you don’t need.” What followed was a humorous, fast-paced factory tour showcasing their affordable, high-quality razors.
  • Impact: The video was an immediate viral sensation, garnering over 12,000 orders within 48 hours. It not only introduced the brand but also set the tone for their humorous and relatable marketing approach.
  • Proof: With a cost of just $4,500, the video received over 27 million views on YouTube, turning their brand into a household name.

Poo-Pourri’s “Girls Don’t Poop”

a picture of creative ad campaigns

Poo-Pourri, a toilet spray, gained massive attention with its humorous video ads discussing a usually taboo topic. Their cheeky approach made them stand out, generating millions of views and sales.

  • Background: Bathroom odor is a universal problem, but rarely addressed directly in advertising.
  • The Ad: Poo-Pourri’s ad humorously shatters the myth that “girls don’t poop” by taking viewers on a journey of a prim and proper lady discussing her bathroom adventures in various embarrassing situations.
  • Impact: It made the product a topic of conversation, with people appreciating its candidness and humor.
  • Proof: The ad, made with a minimal budget, has amassed over 43 million views on YouTube and led to a 13,000% ROI for the company.

Squatty Potty’s Unicorn Ad

a picture showing how to make ads creative

Using a unicorn to demonstrate how their product helps with bowel movements? Absurd and memorable. It became an internet sensation and significantly boosted their sales.

  • Background: Bowel health is an essential yet overlooked topic.
  • The Ad: Squatty Potty took a risk with an ad that showed a unicorn pooping rainbow ice cream, humorously highlighting how their product could help ensure a smooth bowel movement.
  • Impact: The unconventional imagery and humor caught the internet’s attention, turning a mundane product into a viral sensation.
  • Proof: The video has garnered over 38 million views on YouTube, and the company reported a 600% increase in online sales.

Chatbooks’ “Real Mom” Ad Series

a picture showing how to make ads that convert like crazy

Breaking the mold of ‘perfect’ parenting ads, Chatbooks hilariously showcased a mom’s chaotic life, emphasizing that every family moment, messy or not, is worth preserving. Their authentic take struck a chord with parents, catapulting the series to a whopping 100 million views and boosting sales by an impressive 347%.

  • Background: Parenting is challenging, and most ads show an unrealistically perfect version of it.
  • The Ad: Chatbooks portrayed the chaotic life of a “real mom” trying to keep up with her family’s memories. It was a humorous yet accurate depiction of modern parenting.
  • Impact: The ad’s relatability made it a hit among parents, driving up sales and subscriptions for Chatbooks.
  • Proof: The ad series resulted in over 100 million video views and a reported 347% increase in sales.

Death Wish Coffee Super Bowl Ad

a creative ad campaign to study

Small brand, grand stage! Death Wish Coffee brewed a storm with their audacious Super Bowl ad, transporting viewers to a Viking’s voyage to Valhalla, likening their journey’s vigor to the brand’s strong coffee. This daring play on the grandest ad stage led to an astounding 12,000% spike in B2B sales leads.

  • Background: Winning a Super Bowl ad slot is every brand’s dream. For a small company like Death Wish Coffee, it seemed impossible.
  • The Ad: After winning a contest, they produced a gripping ad with Vikings journeying to Valhalla, drawing a parallel between the warriors’ boldness and their strong coffee.
  • Impact: The Super Bowl exposure brought unprecedented attention and sales to the brand.
  • Proof: Their website traffic surged, with a reported 12,000% increase in B2B sales leads after the commercial aired.

Purple Mattress’ Raw Egg Test

a picture showing how to run ads crazy

Making a dent in the dense mattress market, Purple introduced an egg-breaking (or rather, non-breaking) test! Their mattress effortlessly cushioned raw eggs under weight, promising unbeatable comfort. This quirky test captivated 187 million viewers, making Purple a go-to name in mattresses.

  • Background: The mattress industry is crowded, and Purple needed a unique selling proposition.
  • The Ad: They showcased their mattress’s comfort by dropping raw eggs under a weighted pane of glass on it, demonstrating that the eggs didn’t break, emphasizing the cushioning the mattress provides.
  • Impact: This unconventional demonstration intrigued viewers, differentiating Purple from its competitors.
  • Proof: The video has more than 187 million views, leading to a significant boost in their sales.

Maine Tourism: “This Is ME”

a picture showing how to run ads creative

Maine traded the cliché scenic shots for raw, emotional moments of tourists. Visitors became the stars, with candid joys and reactions painting Maine as a heartfelt retreat. This intimate approach swelled tourism by 6%, marking a landmark in the state’s promotional success.

  • Background: Tourism ads often rely on picturesque views, but Maine Tourism wanted a personal touch.
  • The Ad: Instead of the usual landscapes, they focused on visitors’ emotions, capturing candid moments and reactions, making the state feel like a home away from home.
  • Impact: This unique approach set Maine apart from other tourism ads, leading to increased interest and visits.
  • Proof: Post the campaign, Maine saw a reported 6% growth in tourism, a significant leap in a mature market.

Ernest Packaging’s Cardboard Snowboard

an example of creative ad campaigns

Turning heads and defying norms, Ernest Packaging dared to snowboard on… cardboard! Their exhilarating downhill ride on a cardboard snowboard was more than a stunt; it was a testament to their product’s strength. With this feat, Ernest slid into the spotlight, earning rave reviews and piquing B2B interest.

  • Background: How do you make packaging interesting?
  • The Ad: Ernest showcased the strength of their cardboard by crafting a snowboard from it and then snowboarding on a mountain slope.
  • Impact: It was an inventive way to demonstrate product durability, capturing the attention of potential B2B clients.
  • Proof: The video received significant industry attention, positioning Ernest as an innovative packaging company and increasing their B2B client inquiries.

Lume Deodorant’s “No More Stank” Series

a picture showing how lume advertises its products

In the crowded world of deodorants, Lume’s zany characters, led by the unforgettable “Pit Boss,” promised to combat body odor in every wild scenario you could think of. The result? Bursting laughter, memorable brand moments, and a sharp surge in website traffic and sales.

  • Background: The deodorant market is saturated with products and promises.
  • The Ad: Lume created eccentric characters like the “Pit Boss” in amusing setups, emphasizing its deodorant’s effectiveness in any situation.
  • Impact: The humorous approach set Lume apart and made their message memorable.
  • Proof: Lume’s website traffic and sales surged post the campaign, with the ads playing a crucial role in their brand recall.

Tushy Bidet’s “Stop Wiping, Start Washing”

a picture of a creative ad campaign

Tushy used humor to discuss the absurdity of using dry paper instead of washing in the bathroom. Their ads made viewers rethink their habits, leading to increased engagement and sales for their bidets.

  • Background: Bidets are common in many parts of the world but less so in the West. Tushy had the challenge of making this product appealing to a skeptical audience.
  • The Ad: Tushy’s humorous ad campaign focused on the absurdity of using dry paper instead of washing. Drawing parallels with scenarios like smearing mud on one’s face and then trying to wipe it off with dry paper, Tushy made a convincing argument for their bidets.
  • Impact: The combination of humor, shock factor, and an evident truth turned a usually taboo topic into a fun conversation. It wasn’t just an ad; it was an educational campaign that made people question their bathroom habits.
  • Proof: Post-campaign, Tushy reported a significant uptick in sales, with increased website traffic and a boost in social media engagement. Their ad successfully transformed a cultural skepticism into a genuine interest in the benefits of using a bidet.

Top creative ad campaigns: final thoughts

a picture showing a working from home girl who started a dropshipping business on Amazon as a side hustle

As we draw the curtains on this parade of advertising magnificence, one thing is abundantly clear: true brilliance in advertising doesn’t come from mere messages, but from resonating stories, from audacious dreams brought to life.

These campaigns have, in their own unique ways, transcended their commercial objectives to leave indelible imprints on our collective consciousness. They teach us that risk-taking, authenticity, and breaking the mold can lead to marketing magic.

But what’s next? Your move. Every groundbreaking campaign started as a mere idea in someone’s mind. Now, it’s your turn to spin the wheel of creativity and let your ideas shine. And remember, as you embark on your journey to make advertising history, you don’t have to go it alone.

Whether it’s setting up your online storefront or crafting your next big campaign, with Sellvia, you’re geared for success. In fact, you can kickstart your ecommerce dreams today with a ready-to-launch online store, absolutely free. Use these top creative ad campaigns to get inspired and craft your own story. The world awaits your genius. Make your mark! 🌟

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by Artemis K.
Artemis isn't just a senior copywriter at Sellvia, he's an ecommerce storyteller. With his BA in International Communication and MA in Advertising, he journeyed from the petrochemical industry to a purpose-driven role at Sellvia. Today, he crafts content that doesn’t just guide people to start successful ventures but helps them amplify their dreams, tap into their full potential, and see that success is much closer than it appears.
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