Although the image used in this ad is often attributed to the government's effort to recruit more women during World War II, this isn't actually the case. In fact, Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company created the poster in order to motivate their new female staff. Although the poster was only displayed for one month in 1943, the image was reused during the 1980s women's rights movement, and the so-called "Rosie the Riveter" has become a symbol of feminism ever since.
It might be commonplace for brands to invent quirky words and phrases as part of their marketing campaigns today, but this wasn't the case in the 1940s. So when Oldsmobile launched its 1948 model and coined the term 'Futuramic' to highlight the car's modern features such as power windows and clutchless automatic transmission, the company was living up to its invented tag line. Helped by the post-war economic boom, the campaign increased sales by more than 250% in two years, jumping from 37,148 in 1947 to 93,478 in 1949.
Gillette's 2019 ad campaign highlighting toxic masculinity has divided opinion, but it's not the first time the razor company has been ahead of the curve. Back in the 1950s the brand was one of the first to use celebrity ambassadors, including baseball players Roy Campanella and Pee Wee Reese. It also broke new ground by using black sportsmen such as Willie Mays in its ads. These campaigns proved successful; by 1960 Gillette had a 60% share of the razor market.
In order to sell more of their new home hair dye kits, Clairol recognised it had to break the stigma surrounding the practice. At that point, it was only actresses and prostitutes who coloured their hair. The company came up with the tagline “Does she…or doesn’t she?”, highlighting the natural appearance of their dye. As a result, the number of women dying their hair went from 1 in 15 in 1957, to 1 in 2 in 1968, and sales went from $25 million in 1956 to nearly $200 million in 1962.
The ideal car in the 1950s was the "muscle car": large, fast and attractive. Volkswagen had its work cut out when it came to advertising the small and slow Beetle, so the company broke with tradition and made these attributes the focus of the campaign. However, the 1959 ad still points out the car's advantages of using less gas and not burning through tires. The campaign helped to show the model in a more positive light, and it became desirable to America's average Joes who appreciated its efficiency and practicality.
This 1960 campaign helped transform Henry S. Levy and Sons from a small Jewish bakery in Brooklyn to the go-to rye seller in New York. At a time when the blonde-haired, blue-eyed "All American" look dominated the media and advertising, the company used people from all different cultures and ethnicities to advertise their product, most of whom were spotted on the street by the photographer. The campaign was one of the first to use race and culture in an inclusive way, and the ads have since been exhibited in museums including the Smithsonian.
Car rental company Avis had always been stuck in second place to competitor Hertz. In 1963 the brand made a bold move by recognising this in its latest ad campaign. “When you’re only No. 2, you try harder,” the tagline read, highlighting its good customer service, and pointing out that “The line at our counter is shorter.” The ads were a huge success; in just one year the company went from losing $3.2 million to making a $1.2 million profit.
The 'Daisy' ad was part of Lyndon B. Johnson's campaign for presidency. It shows a child picking petals and counting, when suddenly the screen goes dark and an explosion sounds. The ad made a clear reference to Johnson's opponent, Barry Goldwater, and the fact he was in favour of nuclear weapons. At a time when most political ads were just 30-minute speeches, it was groundbreaking, and showed the importance of using emotion to engage viewers. Johnson went on to win the election.
Not so much of an advertisement as a political campaign, the origins of the now-iconic 'Make Love Not War' slogan are unclear. One claim is that Diane Newell Meyer, a student in Oregon, coined the phrase after being photographed at a rally in 1965 with the line scribbled on an envelope that she'd pinned to her sweater. Another theory is that Chicago bookshop owners Penelope and Franklin Rosemont printed it on badges which were distributed at a Mother's Day Peace March in the same year. However it came about, it became an iconic symbol of the 1960s peace protests.
In 1967, copywriter Maurice Drake was tasked with coming up with a new slogan for Heinz baked beans. The brand was facing a plethora of new competitors, and wanted to highlight that it was the original and therefore the best. Drake came up with the line 'Beanz Meanz Heinz' in a London pub, and it's been used by the company ever since. It did have a 10 year hiatus, but was brought back in 2006 following a public vote –surely a testament to the slogan's popularity.
This 1969 ad, created by agency Saatchi & Saatchi for the UK's Family Planning Association, caused quite a stir when it was first released. Not only was contraception still a taboo, the image of a pregnant man was shocking in its contrast to the period's ideas of masculinity. However, the campaign was effective in sparking a conversation around unplanned pregnancies, and the ad, originally meant only for display in hospitals and doctor's surgeries, even ended up in Time magazine.
This 1971 commercial cost $250,000 – the equivalent of $1.5 million (£1.2m) today – making it the most expensive ad ever at the time it was made. It featured people of all different ethnicities signing a jingle which went "I'd like to buy the world a Coke", tapping into the brand's global appeal, and ended up being so popular it was requested on radio shows. The ad was a huge success; Coca-Cola received over 100,000 letters about it and it remains one of the most famous adverts of all time.
L’Oréal's 1971 advert was something of a revolution. At a time when other make up ads used male voiceovers with silent female models, this campaign showed a woman speaking for herself. The phrase 'Because I’m Worth It’ was coined by a young female copywriter, and reflected the women's rights movement of the time. The phrase has since been translated into 40 languages and helped L’Oréal topple previous rival Clairol.
Animal rights organisation Lynx teamed up with photographer David Bailey for its 1983 Dumb Animals campaign. The striking image and tagline, "It takes up to 40 dumb animals to make a fur coat. But only one to wear it," were extremely provocative at a time when the fur trade was in full swing. The campaign is credited with helping to change attitudes to wearing fur in the UK, which is no small feat considering most towns had fur stores when it was first launched.
British Airways was struggling financially during the early 1980s. In a bid to capitalise on the lucrative New York market, in 1983 the airline launched a campaign to help increase brand awareness and improve its faltering reputation. This ad, inspired by science fiction movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, used cutting-edge special effects from the time to show Manhattan flying into London. It captivated New York audiences, helping British Airways become "The World's Favourite Airline", as its slogan would have it.
This 1984 commercial from Wendy's took a jab at competitors McDonald's and Burger King by highlighting the lack of meat in their burgers. The “Where’s the Beef?” tagline became a phenomenon in itself, with merchandise and even a novelty single soon followed. The ad helped to boost Wendy's annual revenue for that year by 31%, and the tagline even appeared in the 1984 presidential campaign, when Walter Mondale used it to make a dig against rival Gary Hart's lack of substance.
The UK government took inspiration from 1982 movie Blade Runner for its anti-smoking campaign, launched in 1985. The TV commercial, titled "The natural born smoker", was a dark, dystopian short film showing what humans would look like if smoking came naturally to us. The ad kickstarted the use of advertising to discourage smoking, a trend which has been successful in getting people to quit: according to a 2004 study by the Tobacco Education Campaign, advertising prompted 32% of attempts to quit, while doctors were responsible for 21%.
Nike's “Just Do It” slogan was created by ad agency Wieden+Kennedy in 1987 for the brand's first major TV campaign. Inspiration for the line came from a surprising source: the last words of murderer Gary Gilmore, who allegedly told the firing squad “Let’s do it!” before his execution. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nike wasn't sold on the line at first, but eventually gave it the green light. The slogan was a huge hit with the public and helped sales jump from $800 million in 1988 to $9.2 billion in 1998.
United Colours of Benetton has become synonymous with controversial advertising over the years, and this 1991 ad, created by art director Oliviero Toscani, is no exception. The multicoloured condoms were designed to represent the AIDS crisis that prevailed during the 1980s and early 1990s, when the disease still held a huge social stigma. Toscani told the New York Times: "I have found out that advertising is the richest and most powerful medium existing today, so I feel responsible to do more than to say, 'Our sweater is pretty.'"
This 1994 commercial from IKEA made history by being the first mainstream ad to feature a gay couple. It was part of a campaign that showed different types of customers, including adoptive parents and a single mum. In the ad, the couple talk about their plans to decorate their new home. Despite running after 10pm and only being shown in three states, the commercial lead to calls to boycott the company and even a bomb threat at a store in New York.
At a time when interior design and fancy finishes were all the rage, Ronseal took its marketing in a different, simpler direction. The 'It does exactly what it says on the tin' tagline was only ever intended to be a work in progress, but the brand eventually stuck with it and it helped to differentiate their products. The tagline has since entered common vernacular, earning it an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms and even a mention by David Cameron during a 2004 election campaign for the Conservative Party.
With sales floundering by the mid-1990s, ad agency BMP DDB (now DDB London) was brought in to freshen up Marmite's image. The now-iconic ‘You Either Love It Or Hate It’ slogan came about when the two creatives in charge of the account, Richard Flintham and Andy McLeod, found that while Flintham loved the spread, McLeod hated it. This seemed to be a recurring theme among other people they spoke to. The slogan brought Marmite back from the brink and is still used by the brand today.
When Unilever launched its Real Beauty campaign in 2004, it was hailed as a much-needed step forward in beauty marketing. A wide-reaching campaign, it not only included commercials featuring women of all shapes and ethnicities, but also workshops, a book and a play. The campaign was a huge success for Dove, pushing sales from $2.5 billion (£2bn) to $4 billion (£3.2bn) during its first ten years.
At a time when most beer ads revolved around guys in their 20s, Dos Equis made the decision to age up and made 69-year-old actor Jonathan Goldsmith the star of their campaign. The “Most Interesting Man in the World” ads launched in 2007 and the company's beer imports to the US grew from 655,000 barrels in 2007 when the campaign began, to a million barrels in 2010. However, in 2016 Goldsmith was retired from the ads in favour of a younger replacement in order to stay relevant with a new generation of target customers.
In 2010 ad agency Wieden+Kennedy was tasked with refreshing Old Spice's unfashionable brand image. The campaign was unorthodox in that it targeted female viewers, a clever move by the company, which had realised that women were buying grooming products on behalf of men. The campaign took off in a big way, receiving six million views on its first day and generating a 55% sales increase in the three months that followed.
When London hosted the 2012 Olympic Games, Channel 4 became the official broadcaster for the Paralympic Games. The channel launched the 'Meet the Superhumans' campaign, with the adverts focusing on Paralympians as powerful and awe-inspiring. Prior to the campaign, only 14% of Brits said they were looking forward to the Paralympic Games, but the ad was so successful that the 2012 Paralympics were the first ever to sell out, and it won a Golden Lion at the 2013 Cannes Lions Festival.
When ad agency McCann was instructed to make a safety video for Melbourne Metro Trains, the team opted to "disguise a worthy safety message inside something that didn’t feel at all like a safety message". The result was a colourful and quirky animation accompanied by a cute, catchy song, with the main lyric "Dumb Ways to Die". It soon went viral, and to date has more than 181 million views on YouTube. More importantly, Metro Trains reported a 21% decrease in train station accidents the following year.
Razor brand Billie caused a stir in 2018 with its Project Body Hair video, which was the first ever razor ad to show women with visibly hairy legs. In July 2019, the brand launched its latest campaign, including its 'Red, White, and You Do You' video, which marked another historic moment in advertising, the first time female pubic hair had been shown in an ad. While the ad split public opinion, it certainly created brand awareness, with over a million views in less than a month.
These ads were displayed at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The project was created by timeTO, an organisation that aims to combat sexual harassment in the advertising industry. Media agency Lucky Generals was tasked with designing the ads, which feature increasingly inappropriate conversations broken up by slashes, in order to ask the audience where they "draw the line".