29 Mar

Memorable Ads Throughout the Ages

By Libby Esterle, Senior Account Executive 

I recently ran across an article in Ad Age (a popular outlet for those of us who work in the marketing and communications field) that listed, in their opinion at least, the most interesting ad campaigns of the 21st century. The article got me thinking about what ads I remember well throughout the years and why they stick with me. Is it because they are humorous? Clever? Unique? Emotional?  

Check out my list below:   

  • 1970s. Calgon’s “Ancient Chinese Secret” ad. Why, do I remember this commercial? There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking or unique about it. Most likely it’s because I was parked in front of the TV and, without DVR technology giving us the ability to skip through commercials at the time, I saw it over and over and over again.  
  • 1980s.  If you were a pre-teen or teenage girl in the 1980s, wearing Benetton– like Guess and other higher-end brands that were emerging at the time– was a status symbol. If you wore Benetton, you were cool. And their ads reflected this “coolness” as well. Instead of relying on spoken words, Benetton ads used visuals and music to represent different cultures throughout the world and, in doing so, also communicated its brand simply and effectively. 
  • 1990s. Thanks to the endless perms I endured most of my childhood, I always seemed to have split ends. In an effort to avoid having my hair cut short, per my mom’s preference, I did everything I could to keep it healthy. Alberto VO5 hot oil was one such effort. Perhaps it helped, perhaps not. I just know now that embracing my naturally straight hair was a long time coming! 
  • 2000s. In 2005, I was pregnant with our second daughter and, thanks to my hormones, would find myself tearing up every time a particular credit card commercial came one. Ironically, I could never remember WHICH credit card it was for (Chase) but it was the song “100 Years” by Five for Fighting combined with the ad’s message of time going by and children growing up that really (really!) resonated with me. 
  • Today. These days, ads are everywhere– the good, the bad and the ugly. Some are intentionally irritating (and in doing so are unfortunately effective at times) while others are emotional, or funny or thought-provoking. For me, though, I love a good pun and that is why GEICO is responsible for two of my very favorite ads, “Happier Than a Camel on Wednesday” and “Happier Than Dracula Volunteering at a Blood Drive.”  

Now, it’s your turn. Tell me, what are some ads you remember well? Why?