I love clever people. I love creative people. I love wit. That is the reason I decided to pursue a career in marketing and advertising after being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps.
Every relationship, whether between friends, between lovers, between families, or between a business and its customers is about communication. The foundation of general communication is an understanding of what makes people tick or in “marketing language”- the human condition. The human condition encompasses the experiences of being human in a social, cultural, and personal context.
One of my favorite things to work on are coming up with advertising campaigns or public service announcements that are going to evoke powerful feelings and tug on your heartstrings. If done properly these can make you laugh, make you cry, or move you to participate in a cause. Here are ten of my favorite campaigns and why I like them.
1. Where’s the Beef?
This Wendy’s campaign gets my vote for the sheer effectiveness of it. 30 years later and I still remember the catchphrase. Often slogans or idioms make it into our everyday vernacular long after we forget who the actual company or what the product they represented was for.
2. Embrace life
This next campaign gets the nod because it makes a hugely personal connection with me. I am very close with my son, my girlfriend Beth, and her daughter. This video always reminds me of being loved by them and makes me want to wear my seat belt whenever I watch it. Also many seatbelt campaigns use horrific images to get the audience’s attention and instead this company used artful and poignant interpretation and beauty to get the same point across. (This is my all-time favorite)
3. Real men of Genius
Just because I still love almost all of the power rock bands. (I sometimes work out to old Poison and GnR) While I love all of the commercials this example of the really bad dancer strikes close to home, because while I am pretty good at many things, dancing is not one of them.
4. Look out for Cyclist-Awareness test
Anytime that a commercial can make millions rewind a video to see if they missed something that really happened you know they did something right. Well choreographed.
5. What Happens Here, Stays Here- Las Vegas
I love destination management and have cut my teeth on more than a few tourism or cultural marketing campaigns and CVB campaigns. I always found it ironic that Vegas touted itself as a family destination when in all reality it wasn’t. Disney, Seaworld, Orlando Science center-yes. Las Vegas, Key West during fantasy fest, and the red light district in Amsterdman-no. Vegas embraced its hedonistic secularity and yelled this is who we are and the records in attendance proved that it worked.
6. Chuck Norris- Mike Huckabee
Anytime we mention Chuck Norris there is proverbial arrgh as he has become overplayed and cliché now. However I thought this ad was brilliant because this time was the pinnacle of the Chuck Norrisisms. Huckabees campaign manager rode the wave of a real time trend to make Huckabee’s commercial more engaging. Little known fact- Chuck Norris’s tears cure cancer. Too bad he never cries.
7. Geico’s Piggy commercial
While I never quite understood the Gecko commercials I do think Geico has some other brilliant ad campaigns. From the drill instructor turned psychiatrist to the antiques road show spin-off there is some great writing. However taking the simplicity of a common child’s rhyme and making it into a commercial is something the rest of us in advertising thought why didn’t I think of that?
8. Intel- Rock Star campaign
This campaign shows a senior engineer from the company walking along the halls to much fanfare with rock star like status
9. Obesity is Suicide
This campaign ties in graphic images and horrific death elements to give the message that we are killing ourselves by not watching what we eat. It reminds us that unhealthy eating habits are a choice. I like this one because I think it uses lateral thinking to place two elements together that sends a resounding message. Brandon Knowlden is one of my favorite art directors and I think his work is brilliant.
10. Hard Rock Casino Campaign
This is one of the most clever ads I have seen put out in a long time. One of the best cultural institution videos I have seen. In the words of my father after seeing that video for the first time “Right on!!”