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    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    Top Ad Campaigns: Advertising's Golden Age??

    AdAge has released its top 100 advertising campaigns. Of last century. Really questionable here, but hey everyone can have an opinion. Every ad in the top 10 is deserving i have to agree with the Volkswagen ad being especially brilliant. If you haven't seen the spots, this helped further introduce the bug to the US with inviting us to believe small was the new big. Shots such as the bug pulling into a silhouette under an aqueduct and comparing it to the Roman's building skills are savvy indeed. I had heard somewhere on the blogosphere that W&K won't consider campaigns if they don't think it has the legs to run for 3-4 YEARS. Yes, YEARS. When you look at the campaigns below, anyone in advertising can probably recall most of these campaigns even if they weren't alive when they were created. The number 1 rule is that the communication changed culture itself or became entrenched in it. We are still seeing this today with the whole DIY movement. Indeed an important factor. Criteria number 2 asserts that it became no.1 in its category. I don't necessarily agree this makes for brilliant spots, as good spots don't always equal sales and sales aren't necessarily the result of good advertising. Sometimes things such as Redbull create a category without any "advertising" per say, depends if you count the crushed cans outside raves and urban legends as licensed communications. These days thats disputable. The third criteria is stickyness. Good. Looking at the top all are sticky, i have no idea if they reached no. 1 because of it, and most likely these were relevant cultural icons. But thats where it breaks down. Maybe this is because im in the younger crowd, or its because i cant relate to Steinway's 1919 ad about instruments for immortals but where are the ads of the 80s, 90s? Coca-C*la cracks in at no.86 with "Always" but dare i say that Apple hasn't been innovative in not only changing the category of electronics, but culture and consumer's habits themselves? 1984 is a legendary spot but other comapnies have had some worthy work over the years. Technology is just one area, and i realize this is a historical look but i think there must be more a more weighted look to newer ads. One might even say advertising is more difficult today with increased media in a 24/7 flat-world. If anything this Adage list proved to me that they still live in the past and reminded me why i don't enjoy reading it.


    1. Volkswagen, "Think Small", Doyle Dane Bernbach, 1959
    2. Coca-Cola, "The pause that refreshes", D'Arcy Co., 1929
    3. Marlboro, The Marlboro Man, Leo Burnett Co., 1955
    4. Nike, "Just do it", Wieden & Kennedy, 1988
    5. McDonald's, "You deserve a break today", Needham, Harper & Steers, 1971
    6. DeBeers, "A diamond is forever", N.W. Ayer & Son, 1948
    7. Absolut Vodka, The Absolut Bottle, TBWA, 1981
    8. Miller Lite beer, "Tastes great, less filling", McCann-Erickson Worldwide, 1974
    9. Clairol, Does she...or doesn't she?", Foote, Cone & Belding, 1957
    10. Avis, "We try harder", Doyle Dane Bernbach, 1963
    11. Federal Express, "Fast talker", Ally & Gargano, 1982
    12. Apple Computer, "1984", Chiat/Day, 1984
    13. Alka-Seltzer, Various ads, Jack Tinker & Partners; Doyle Dane Bernbach; Wells Rich, Greene, 1960s, 1970s
    14. Pepsi-Cola, "Pepsi-Cola hits the spot", Newell-Emmett Co., 1940s
    15. Maxwell House, "Good to the last drop", Ogilvy, Benson & Mather, 1959
    16. Ivory Soap, "99 and 44/100% Pure", Proctor & Gamble Co., 1882
    17. American Express, "Do you know me?", Ogilvy & Mather, 1975
    18. U.S. Army, "Be all that you can be", N.W. Ayer & Son, 1981
    19. Anacin, "Fast, fast, fast relief", Ted Bates & Co., 1952
    20. Rolling Stone, "Perception. Reality.", Fallon McElligott Rice, 1985
    21. Pepsi-Cola, "The Pepsi generation", Batton, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, 1964
    22. Hathaway Shirts, "The man in the Hathaway shirt", Hewitt, Ogilvy, Benson & Mather, 1951
    23. Burma-Shave, Roadside signs in verse, Allen Odell, 1925
    24. Burger King, "Have it your way", BBDO, 1973
    25. Campbell Soup, "Mmm mm good", BBDO, 1930s
    86. Coca-Cola, "Always", Creative Artists Agency, 1993

    1) If it was a watershed, discernibly changing the culture of advertising or the popular culture as a whole
    2) If it itself was credited with creating a category, or if by its efforts a brand became entrenched in its category as No. 1.
    3) If it was simply unforgettable.

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