50 Interesting Ad & Marketing Campaigns

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26 Yellow Pages Ad

Yellow Pages Ad

In the 1980s the yellow pages aired an advert in Britain. The ad saw a pregnant woman with cravings ask her husband for a pizza with tuna fish and a banana. Thousands of people tried to place orders for this weird combination of toppings, prompting Domino’s to put it on the menu.

27. Before World War 2, skimmed milk, as a byproduct of the butter-making process, was either thrown out or used to fatten pigs up. Shortly thereafter, it was marketed as a weight-loss food to people.

28. Harold and Kumar were written to go to Krispy Kreme, but after the company declined to be featured in the film, White Castle was selected instead. Happy about the free advertising, White Castle become the first fast-food chain to have an R-Rated comedy advertised on fast food containers.

29. From 1952 to 1956, billions of Kent Micronite cigarettes were sold with a filter made from asbestos. The new filter was marketed as “the greatest health protection in cigarette history.”

30. When Coca-Cola marketed its Dasani brand of water in the UK in 2004 it was a PR disaster because they referred to it as “bottled spunk” and used the slogan “can’t live without spunk” not realizing “spunk” was a slang word for semen in the UK.

31 Bubble Wrap

Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap was originally invented in 1957 to be used as wallpaper. After not selling well it was marketed as a greenhouse insulator, and then eventually as the packaging material, we know it as today.

32. Cinco De Mayo’s popularity as a holiday in the US is largely due to a marketing campaign launched by Corona Beer’s importer in 1989.

33. Philadelphia Cream Cheese was invented in New York and has never been produced in Philadelphia. Its name was an 1880s marketing strategy because at the time Philadelphia was known for its high-quality dairy.

34. Pharmaceutical company Aventis stopped production of Eflornithine, which was a cure for sleeping sickness and a lifesaving drug for millions of Africans, between 1995-2001 because it wasn’t making enough profit. Instead, the product was marketed in the west as women’s facial hair removal cream.

35. The Pan-American Coffee Bureau coined the phrase ‘coffee break’ in 1952, and ran a $2 million advertising campaign with the message that a ‘coffee break’ would give workers ‘a needed moment of relaxation along with a caffeine jolt.’

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36 Coke Zero

Coke Zero

Coke Zero is specifically marketed towards men, who were shown to associate Diet Coke with women.

37. Casio was widely accused of false advertising after launching an ad where a hockey player used a G-Shock watch as a puck to demonstrate its toughness. However when a TV news channel replicated and verified the ad’s authenticity it gained popularity amongst the general public.

38. PEZ was originally marketed to adults as an alternative to smoking cigarettes and their early slogan was, “No smoking, PEZing Allowed.” The name PEZ is an abbreviation of PfeffErminZ, which is German for peppermint.

39. Sonic the Hedgehog was originally brown, bald, and named “Mr. Needle Mouse.” He was redesigned and renamed after Sega decided to make their marketing campaign about how Nintendo was for children and Sega was edgy.

40. In the 1960s, Electrolux successfully marketed vacuums in the United Kingdom with the slogan “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”

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41 WOW Chips

WOW Chips

In 1998, Lay’s marketed a new line of chips called “WOW!” which was later pulled off shelves after it was found to cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and anal leakage.

42. One strain of bacteria was isolated from the poo of a “stubbornly healthy” World War 1 soldier in 1917 and was marketed as Mutaflor. Prescribed to Hitler for his notorious bowel issues in 1936, the same strain under the same brand can still be purchased outside the U.S. today.

43. The renowned British pub meal, “Ploughman’s Lunch”, was invented in the 1950s as a marketing exercise. The Cheese Bureau, a marketing body, began promoting it in pubs as a way to increase the sales of cheese, which had recently ceased to be rationed.

44. Buttplugs were originally designed as rectal dilators marketed as a cure for insanity and constipation.

45. The German candy “Werther’s Original”, was purposefully marketed in the 1990s as being a candy that grandparents would give to their grandchildren.

15 Most Controversial & Costly Blunders in History

46 Febreze


Febreze initially marketed itself as a product to get rid of unpleasant smells and it sold poorly until P&G realized that people become accustomed to smells in their own homes and stop noticing them even when they are overpowering (like the smell of several cats in a single household).

47. The diamond engagement ring fever was invented by an ad campaign in the 1930s and before that few Americans proposed with the precious stone, and the price of diamond was falling.

48. Breakfast wasn’t regarded as the most important meal of the day until an aggressive marketing campaign by General Mills in 1944. They would hand out leaflets to grocery store shoppers urging them to eat breakfast, while similar ads would play on the radio.

49. To get women to smoke cigarettes in the 1920s, tobacco companies devised a campaign of equating cigarettes as “torches of freedom.” The campaign helped women smoking jump from 5% in 1923 to 18.1% in 1935.

50. The prestigious Michelin Star, an award that the world’s best chefs work their lives to attain, is awarded by Michelin Tires. For over 100 years, it’s all been part of an advertising campaign to sell tires.

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