Ads are everywhere. Marketing experts estimate that most people in the United States are exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day. You don’t remember all of them, but some ads stick around whether we want them to or not. Quick, sing the McDonald’s jingle! If you want to create memorable ads, the most logical place to start is to take a look at what makes the ads that live in our heads rent-free so effective. 

What is an Advertisement?

An advertisement is any paid-for way of promoting a brand, product or service. Ads can be anywhere from TV, billboards, radio, the internet, and more. 


An ad campaign is a series of ads that accomplish a similar goal. They are often riffs on the same premise and always include the same tagline. Several ad campaigns planned out create an advertising strategy. 

What are the Objectives of Advertising?

The most simple way of putting the purpose of ad campaigns is, “to convince people to buy what you’re selling.” However, there are a few different goals within that purpose. These goals align with the customer journey from first learning about your product to promoting it to others. 

1. Awareness

Brand awareness campaigns focus on information and exposing the brand to the target audience. The reasons for launching an awareness campaign could be: 

  • Launching a new product or service
  • Alerting the public to a change in your practices
  • Releasing a new feature for an existing product
  • Letting the public know you exist

2. Consideration

Consideration campaigns remind customers of your company’s vision or purpose. These ads are often memorable to ensure that the audience will think of them next time they have a want or need that your product can fill. 

3. Conversion

Conversion campaigns are the most blatantly about convincing potential customers to make a purchase. Conversion campaigns can also be used to change customers’ preconceived ideas about the brand. 

4. Decision

The decision stage of the customer journey is when they know their options and just need to choose one. The most common decision campaigns are comparisons to competitors. 

5. Loyalty

The customer journey doesn’t end with a purchase. It ends when they become a loyal customer who promotes their brand. For social media, these campaigns usually take the form of retargeting. For traditional advertising formats, these are often to apologize or correct a mistake so people don’t stop buying from them. 

A long winding road up a mountain with a flag at the summit

4 Types of Advertisements

Most advertisements can be split into four types: 

  • Print advertising
  • Radio advertising
  • TV advertising
  • Online advertising

1. Print Advertising

Print advertisements are the oldest form of advertising, dating back to ancient Egypt and China. Print ads physically stick around in a way that other types of advertising don’t. Common print ad formats include:

  • Billboards
  • Flyers and brochures
  • Vehicle wraps and bus signage
  • Newspaper and magazine ads
  • Direct mailers

A person reading a newspaper

2. Radio Advertising

Radio commercials first arrived on the airwaves in the early 20th century. Though traditional radio ads aren’t as popular today, they remain effective and low-cost. Podcast ads work similarly and can reach a bigger audience than traditional radio ads. There are three main formats for ads on the radio: 

  • Short commercial breaks
  • Sponsored content and promotions
  • Interstitial and banner ads

A radio with sound lines coming out of the speaker

3. Television Advertising

Since the first TV commercial aired in 1941,  they’ve combined the visual appeal of print ads and the sound bites of radio ads to stand out in viewers’ minds. Whether on broadcast TV or streaming, they remain relevant and effective. 

A TV sitting on an entertainment center

4. Online Advertising

Online advertising goes back further than you may think. The first email ads were sent in the 1970s before the dawn of the world wide web. The first banner ads appeared in the 90s. Today, there are a wide variety of ways you can advertise online, including: 

  • Display ads 
    • Text
    • Image
    • Animated
    • Video
  • Pop-up ads
  • Interstitial video ads
  • Search ads
  • Social media ads
  • Mobile app ads
  • Email ads
  • Sponsored content
  • Affiliate marketing

Online advertising is a powerful tool, but that doesn’t mean the other types aren’t worth using. 

A desktop computer with a funky keyboard and mouse24 of the Best Advertisement Examples of All Time

From 1948 to today, here are some of the best ads of all time. Most of these companies may have audiences around the world, but any small business can take inspiration from their creativity and messages. 

1. Absolut Vodka: The Absolut Bottle (1980)

Ad Campaign: Print


This print marketing campaign using everyday objects and scenery to imitate the shape of the Absolut bottle started in 1980 and ran for over 25 years and used over 1,500 different images. 

The Takeaway: 

You can make anything interesting if you think outside the box. Or the bottle. 

An Absolut Vodka bottle covered in cucumber slices. The headline is Absolut Beauty

2. California Milk Processor Board: Got Milk? (1993)

Ad Campaign: Print

Got Milk? was one of the most famous print ad campaigns in the world. Ad agency Goodby, Silverstein, & Partners aimed the campaign at people who already drink milk. The slogan came from the idea that “people only really think about milk when they’ve run out of it.” The decade-long campaign included print, television, radio, billboards, and even banners in school cafeterias. 


The Takeaway:

Sometimes targeting people who are already in your customer base is the way to go. 

A Got Milk? magazine ad featuring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine with the milk mustache

3. Clairol: Does She or Doesn’t She? (1957)

Ad Campaign: Print

A lot of ads from the 1950s haven’t aged well. This subtle campaign for Clairol hair dye, however, is credited for destigmatizing using artificial hair coloring. When the ad first appeared, only 1 in 15 US women admitted to coloring their hair. 11 years later, that number was 1 in 2. 


The Takeaway: 

You don’t have to hit potential customers over the head with your product to make an impact. 

A photo of a glamorous blonde woman text that reads "Does she or doesn't she?: Hair color so natural only her hairdresser knows for sure!"

4. Nike: Just Do It (1987)

Ad Campaign: Print, Television, Internet


Nike’s famous Just Do It campaign was part of a rebrand from an exclusive brand for professional athletes to an athletic apparel brand for the masses. The simplicity and motivational quality of the slogan helped it catch on like wildfire. 


The Takeaway:

A short slogan that gets to the core of what your brand represents makes the strongest impact. 

The Nike swoosh logo with "JUST DO IT." in capital letters

5. Coca-Cola: Share a Coke (2011)

Ad Campaign: Print

From “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” to the classic Christmas ads that shaped popular depictions of Santa Claus, Coca-Cola is no stranger to famous advertisements. The Share a Coke campaign, however, focused less on captivating visuals and slogans and more on a simple, yet clever premise. Searching for bottles and cans with specific names became so popular that you could even order your own custom bottle.

The Takeaway: 

Giving customers a sense of individual ownership can deepen your brand’s relationship with them.  

A print ad that reads "Share a Coke with..." and five Coke bottles with the names Chris, Sarah, Laura, Dan, and James

6. De Beers: A Diamond is Forever (1948)

Ad Campaign: Print, Television

The ubiquity of diamond engagement rings isn’t an accident. It’s the result of possibly the most successful ad campaign of all time. The slogan first appeared in 1948, a time when diamond engagement rings weren’t particularly popular, and has been used in every De Beers advertisement since then. In 1999 AdAge named it the #1 slogan of the century. 

The Takeaway: 

Don’t underestimate the power of marketing to influence culture. 

A closeup of a diamond ring with text that reads "De Beers Jewelry: A Diamond is Forever"

7. Budweiser: “Whassup” (1999)

Ad Campaign: Television


Not only did Budweiser’s famous “Whassup” commercial run for years, but it created a popular catchphrase for years to come. In 2020 Budweiser recreated the commercial with a “quarantine edition” featuring the same actors. 


The Takeaway: Sometimes all it takes to get your audience’s attention is something silly and inoffensive. 

8. Procter & Gamble: Thank You, Mom (2012)

Ad Campaign: Television

This heartfelt ad first appeared in the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games and versions of it have appeared during commercial breaks for every Olympics since then. The emotional scenes of athletes and their moms and the tagline “Proud Sponsor of Moms” pulled on the viewers heartstrings to become P&G’s most successful ad campaign in their 175-year history. 

The Takeaway: Emotional appeals and nostalgia are powerful influencers. Use events and timing to your advantage. 


9. Always: #LikeAGirl (2015)

Ad Campaign: Television, Internet


The Like a Girl campaign started with a Super Bowl commercial that challenged stereotypes about playing sports “like a girl” and launched a wildly successful social media trend with their hashtag slogan and uplifting message. 

The Takeaway: Taking a stand can lead you to a customer base that shares your values. 




10. Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like (2010)

Ad Campaign: Television, Internet


Old Spice combined sophistication, humor, and impressive visual staging to create a viral sensation. The original commercial has over 59 million views on YouTube! When the agency saw how popular it was on social media, they had the actor, Isaiah Mustafa, record personalized “mini ads” for fans. This kept the commercial relevant longer. 

The Takeaway

If your campaign has fans, engage them in a way that’s consistent with your message and brand voice. 


11. Dos Equis: The Most Interesting Man in the World (2006)

Ad Campaign: Television, Pre-roll


The Most Interesting Man in the World commercials exude cool and sophistication with plenty of hyperbolic humor. Actor Jonathan Gold may have been replaced with Austin Legrand in 2016, but his face and the tagline “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos Equis” live on in memes. 

The Takeaway

A memorable tagline goes a long way. Especially if it's one viewers can riff on.



12. Google: Year in Search (2016)

Ad Campaign: Internet


Google has created a “year in search” video every year since 2016 using popular search terms from the year to tell a story about the year. This campaign is a great example of leveraging user-generated content and it highlights how important the search engine is to people’s everyday lives. 

The Takeaway: 

Take a moment to thank your customers and show the impact of their usage of your product. 




13. Metro Trains of Melbourne: Dumb Ways to Die (2012)

Ad Campaign: Internet, Radio


This Australian public service announcement where goofy cartoon characters sing a catchy song about foolish ways to lose your life is the most shared PSA in the world. It’s inspired multiple parodies and a mobile game and has won several awards

The Takeaway: 

Even grim and boring topics can lead to whimsical ads if you’re creative enough. 




14. KFC: “FCK” apology (2018)

Standalone Ad: Print


In 2018 a provider switch led to a week-long shortage of KFC Chicken in the UK. What did KFC do about it? They released this simple, yet effective apology ad. The almost-profane bucket graphic caught viewers’ attention and made them chuckle while the text genuinely apologized for the incident. 


The Takeaway: 

Saying you’re sorry can go a long way in maintaining customer relationships. 

An empty KFC bucket that says "FCK" instead. Text below starts with "We're sorry. A chicken restaurant without any chicken. It's not ideal..."


15. IKEA: Pee on This (2018)

Standalone Ad: Print

IKEA used this, um, interesting concept to promote a discount on cribs for expecting parents. The ad included a functioning pregnancy test. If it was positive, they’d see a special discount price on the crib in the photo. Was it weird? Yes, but it got people talking and sold a lot of cribs.

The Takeaway: 

Don’t be afraid to go weird or gross if it gives people something to talk about and is relevant to the purpose of the ad. 

A hand holding up a print ad with a photo of a crib and a white strip below it for the pregnancy test part

16. Spotify: Embarrassing Listening Habits (2016)

Ad Campaign: Print, Internet


Not many mobile apps would choose billboards exclusively for a viral marketing campaign, but these billboards that highlighted users’ quirky listening habits became popular meme fodder. 


The Takeaway

Think beyond the ad types that make the most sense for your product. 

A Spotify billboard that reads "Dear person who played 'Sorry' 42 times on Valentine's Dat, what did you do?" next to a picture of Justin Bieber.


17. McDonald’s: I’m Lovin’ It Jingle (2004)

Ad Campaign: Television, Radio

In the early 2000s, childhood obesity was a hot topic and McDonald’s reputation took a hit as a result. A huge part of the fast food giant’s bounce-back was the jingle we all know and love: “ba da ba ba ba, I’m lovin’ it!” Justin Timberlake, Pharrell Williams, and Pusha T all claimed credit for the jingle and this dispute caused a lot of buzz around it. However, it was created by ad agency Heye & Partner and Mona Davis Music. 

The Takeaway

Sometimes it doesn’t take much to improve your brand’s reputation. 




18. Snickers: You’re Not You When You’re Hungry (2010)

Ad Campaign: Television


The relatable and now-iconic slogan “You’re not you when you’re hungry” was cemented into the hearts and minds of Americans with a 2010 Super Bowl commercial featuring Betty White. The series of commercials has since aired in 80 countries and starred Liza Manelli, Steve Buscemi, Rosie O’Donnel, Willem Dafoe, and more. 

The Takeaway

A simple, fun concept that leads to a lot of variations drives an idea home. 




19. ASPCA: In the Arms of An Angel (2007)

Ad Campaign: Television


The ASPCA ads featuring video footage of suffering animals while Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of an Angel” plays in the background may have spent 15-plus years making viewers cry on the couch, but they raised the ASPCA 30 million dollars within two years.

The Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to get intense when you’re appealing to viewers’ emotions.




20. Oreo: Dunk in the Dark (2013)

Standalone Ad: Internet


The award-winning viral Oreo tweet reacting to the 2013 Super Bowl power outage was a payoff of a years-long strategy that fine-tuned the brand’s ability to react in real-time on social media. The team described the process that led to the tweet in a 2017 interview


The Takeaway

Don’t wait for the moment to arrive to seize it. There are ways you can prepare for when it happens.  

A tweet from Oreo Cookies that reads "Power out? Not problem. You can still dunk in the dark" with a picture of an oreo emitting light over a dark background

21. Wendy’s: Where’s the Beef? (1984)

Ad Campaign: Print, Television


This commercial featuring three old ladies complaining about a burger with a giant bun and a tiny beef patty was meant to set Wendy’s fresh burger patties apart from their competitors. It also became a pop culture phenomenon that has been revived in 2011 and 2020. 

The Takeaway: 

A simple tagline goes a long way. 




22. Volkswagen: Think Small (1960)

Standalone Ad: Print

In 1960, Americans were all about buying big American made cars. How could a small German made car compete 15 years after World War II? By being honest about what they are and leaning into it. And it worked! To this day, the campaign is considered a gold standard by marketing industry professionals. 

The Takeaway: 

Don’t shy away from what you are. 

A black and white photo of a VW Beetle The headline reads "Think Small." The body text starts with "Our little car isn't so much of a novelty anymore..."

23. Apple: Get a Mac (2006)

Ad Campaign: Television


Apple has no shortage of memorable ads. Perhaps the most famous is the “I’m a PC, I’m a Mac” series. The ads compare the two biggest players in the computer industry in a fun, lighthearted way and inform the audience about Mac’s features without overwhelming them with tech jargon or talking down to them. In the year after the commercials first aired, Apple experienced a 42% market share growth

The Takeaway: 

Ads can be informative if you also make them engaging. 





Creating Your Own Memorable Advertising Campaigns

You don’t have to be a big international corporation to take inspiration from iconic examples of advertising campaigns. You just need to think outside the box and answer these questions: 

Who is your target audience?

No ad campaign can appeal to literally everyone on earth. Consider your ideal customer’s age, gender, interests, occupation, income, and other demographic information and create a customer persona

What is your campaign’s purpose? 

Which part of the customer journey do these ads align with? What action do you want your audience to take at the end? 

Where does your target market spend their time?

If your target audience is teenagers or college students, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense to take out newspaper ads. If your target audience is retirees, TikTok videos might not be the best approach. The media your target audience consumes and the ways they get information are crucial for informing the types of ads you take out. 

When should you publish your ads?

Timing is everything in the advertising world. The time of day, season, and current events all affect the way people react to your ads. 

How Sav Can Help

No matter how you get the word out about your small business, make it easy for people who see your ads to find you with your own professional website. Sav is here to make every part of setting one up and managing it easy and affordable for all budgets. Start your free trial today to learn more!

Luca Harsh

Luca Harsh

Luca Harsh is an in-house content writer for Sav. They live in Chicago with their cat, Polly. Yes, Harsh is their real last name.