The Best Examples of Advertising: From Ancient Times to Today

Advertising has been around for centuries, and it has evolved from the Egyptians in 2000 BC to the modern digital age. Newspaper advertising, print marketing campaigns, video ads, retail ads, and traditional marketing are just some of the examples of advertising that have been used over the years. In this article, we will explore some of the best examples of advertising from the past few centuries and how they have shaped the way we advertise today. Newspaper advertising is one of the oldest forms of advertising and can be used to reach a wide range of customers.

The Egyptians in 2000 BC technically invented the first form of outdoor advertising, although today we could consider it slightly different. One of the most successful print marketing campaigns was Absolut's campaign which began in 1980 and lasted for 25 years with more than 1500 different images. This campaign dramatically increased Absolut's share of the US vodka market. Prior to Nike's “Just Do It” campaign in the late 1980s, the sportswear retailer almost exclusively supplied professional athletes and marathon runners.

This huge campaign managed to change the perception of the brand by taking advantage of the latest US fitness fad and rebranding as a clothing store for the masses. Google also produces an annual video to promote its services, reminding users how much they use and trust the search engine in their daily lives. One of the oldest examples of advertising is Volkswagen's small campaign which began in 1960 and was incredibly successful. It changed the way people talk to each other, and because of this campaign, the term “Whassup” is very common today.

Another example is Absolut's print ads which indicated bottles “in the wild”. This ad was so effective that it was published for 25 years with more than 1,500 separate ads. At the time when this campaign started, Absolut had a measly 2.5% share of the vodka market but when it ended in the late 2000s, it had 4.5 million cases per year which was half of all vodka imported into the US market. Apple also experienced success with its advertising campaign which resulted in 42% growth in participation in its first year. Old Spice also had success with its personalized video reactions which gained around 11 million views and 58,000 new followers on Twitter and 29,000 fans on Facebook.

Retail ads are another type of advertising which encourages potential customers to purchase a specific product or service. Examples include car dealerships, supermarket ads in newspapers, and advertisements for clothing and jewelry stores. Traditional marketing is still alive and well despite its boring old-school reputation with millennials and Generation Z. Examples include media advertisements and outreach strategies such as pre-Internet trade shows. Smart ad executives know when to capitalize on traditional and digital marketing methods, and sometimes use one to drive traffic to the other. Native advertising is another form of advertising which can be found in guest posts or banner ads.

For example, an advertising campaign for a small local business might include door-to-door selling and leaving flyers for those who are not at home to promote a website and discounts for liking and following their page. When you think of creative advertising, you can't miss McDonald's advertising. Experience is important, and having a collection of examples (case studies) is useful even if you've never worked directly on those brands. Hopefully these examples will give you some ideas on what makes an ad great, memorable and classic as well as some inspiration for your own campaigns. Whether it's an attractive jingle, a clever slogan or an inventive bus ad, examples of advertising are everywhere and come in all shapes and sizes.

Patti Goldenman
Patti Goldenman

General bacon lover. Hipster-friendly travel guru. Proud bacon ninja. Incurable zombie trailblazer. Professional bacon fanatic.

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