Top Inspiring and Powerful Advertisements of All Time

Top Inspiring and Powerful Advertisements of All Time

Sarath | 20 Min Read

What is advertising?

Crafting a written or Visual message to promote a product, service or campaign.

Businesses like yours can pay the owner of the channel/platform who holds a similar audience like yours, To feature your ad message. E.g., Facebook, Newspaper.

Types of advertising Campaigns.

Types of advertising Campaigns.

  1. Print.
  2. Radio.
  3. Television.
  4. Internet.

My favourite ad type :)

The golden age of advertising started from this mode of advertising.

The first print ad was made in 1472 in England, says Infolinks.

Types of print advertising mediums,

  1. Newspaper.
  2. Magazines.
  3. Brochures.
  4. Billboard.
  5. Flyers.
  6. Other modes of printed ads, If any.

Ad promoters pay the publisher (Like, USA Today) to place their ad in their publication, With the hope people will see it.

Radio ad.

Radio ads date back to the 1920s. Exactly the era when the first commercial radio stations were set up in the USA.

Is it relevant today? Yup, I believe. I don’t know whether people hear Radio these days (Meanwhile podcast, “No they won’t (Evil Laugh).

But still, several brands use Radio ads to reach their target audience.

Like print ads, The ad promoters pay the Radio Publishers to place their ad between the breaks and show time.

Television ads.

Nostalgia Rings!

“My Childhood is filled with funny and memorable TV ads; Time flies, right?”

Like me, television ads might dust some nostalgia powder to your brain, Ha?

TV ads started in the 1940s and were used to promote practical Items and political campaigns.

Now, Advertisers can use TV portals to reach their target audience from Local Tv channels and National broadcasters.

Advertisers pay local or national broadcasters to show their ad during a decided break time in the TV network’s regular programs.

Internet ads.

Many people would shout from their stomachs that the Internet is a “Garbage of ads.”

But marketers like us must acknowledge it is the best place to reach the right people within budget. (Sometimes without cost at all)

Placed its legs in the 1990s.

At first, advertisers pay the website owners to place their ads in the spaces inside the webpage in selected spots.

Now advertisements range from simple text to Videos and Gifs placed at almost every corner of the Internet.

Okay, let’s move to the Best ad campaigns that can bring joy, tears, laughs and many other emotions inside you.

You inside your head, “But is there any difference between ads and ad campaigns?”

Me somewhere in the office cabin, “Yes, mate! There’s a difference.”

You, “Wondering How did he hear me?”

Advertising Campaign.

Ads are the single message promoted many times.

Ad campaigns are the number of similar ads that promote the same message or product. But in different ways.

Why ad campaigns?

As it has different variations of the same message thrown into multiple platforms,

People won’t get bored seeing the same ad again and again.

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Apple | Think Different Campaign

Apple | Think Different Campaign

Tell me, Won’t you get inspired by this ad?

“The time I saw this ad, the words and the ideas it emulated punched me, broke my guard and flooded my brain with fireballs of inspiration.”

It is an ad slogan Apple used from 1997 to 2002.

This slogan is said to be taken based on the response to IBM’s motto, “Think.”

Still, this slogan is printed on the back of the iMac and many other products.

How did this slogan develop?

In 1997, Apple was struggling in the market. Inside Apple Computer Inc, there is a meeting,

BBDO, one of the oldest advertising agencies, pitched the new slogan for Apple’s brand campaign, in a Meeting under the CEO, Gil Amelio.

BBDO pitched a slogan to Apple that said, “We’re back.” While everyone seems okay and supports the slogan,

Steve Jobs, who returned to Apple then, Said, “The slogan was stupid cause Apple wasn’t back.”

Then Jobs invited three ad agencies and pitched his Philosophy which he thought wanted to be followed inside the company he founded.

Then, at last, Craig Tanimoto, an art director at ChiatDay, came up with the slogan “Think Different.”

The Think Different slogan picturized Apple’s products as Innovative and Unorthodox.

Also, Created a new brand identity for Apple.

“The main motto of the ad is that Apple users also think differently, ask different questions, and maybe change the world.”

Steve Jobs said, “You always had to be a little different to buy an Apple computer.”

What can you learn from this ad? Always Inspire.

Adidas | Impossible is Nothing

Adidas | Impossible is Nothing

When you say sports, Adidas sneaks you from behind.

In 2004, Adidas got something up its sleeve for its Brand Campaign, Something to Inspire people like you and me.

Muhammad Ali,

One of the most inspiring athletes of all time said, ""Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion, impossible is not a declaration, it’s a dare, impossible is potential, impossible is nothing”.

Note the last words, “Impossible is nothing.” Yes, Adidas used that slogan in its ad, which aired in 2004.

It shows David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane and other top players in their respective sports doing a morning jog with Ali. Absolutely it’s not real, but CGI.

This ad gave Adidas something to compete with Nike, the most challenging Rivalry.

Even the Voice in that ad is Inspired by Muhammad Ali’s quote.

Those with big dreams seeing this ad will get the “Hair standing” moment.

What can you learn from this ad? Ignite your target audience’s desire with motivation & Inspiration. They won’t forget you.

Cadbury Ad, Not just a Cadbury ad | Sharuk Khan.

Cadbury Ad

Not every ad needs to be product focused. Cadbury proved that with its ad, which urges to support local businesses in India.

Ogilvy ad agency created this ad featuring Sharuk Khan, with the message, “‘Iss Diwali Aap #KiseKhushKarenge?”

Meaning, “Whom will you be happy with this Diwali?”

Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy says, “The heart of this campaign lies in generosity, especially in these hard times(Covid-19)”

The way this ad is created is also Impressive.

Cadbury joined with 1800+ local retailers with 260+ pin codes across Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Indore, and Pune to carry out this multi-platform activation campaign.

This ad is customised for each viewer based on their location.

Suppose you see this ad in your home means, You would see the local stores near your home.

Cadbury has taken personalisation to a level that we have never thought about.

This ad is more human and connecting.

Urging people to support local businesses with the beautiful personalised ad.

What can you learn from this ad? Personalise, help and delight your target audience.

Bhima Ad | Pure as love | Showing the colour of Transgender and making it delightful.

 Bhima Ad | Pure as love

Another Inspiring ad showcases the life journey of a Transgender woman.

Most of the ad talks about different lives of people, But speaking about the Transgenders woman’s life is somewhat peculiar in India.

Bheema jewellery approached Delhi based ad agency named ‘Animal’,

And its creative head, Sayatan Choudry, raised his eyebrows upon hearing about the concept of the ad to be made.

Because, It’s not a standard message that is said in India, and when featuring Transgender women, It relatively sprinkles a new touch by combining an Important note to the society.

This added an emotional look to the Bhima Jewellers, a long-time player in the jeweller’s arena.

What can you learn from this ad? Go beyond just promoting your product.

Old Spice | The man your man could smell like.

Old Spice

Old spice is for grandpas, Not us, the mind voice of the young teen whom Old spice desired to target.

Initially, Old spice targeted people aged 40-60.

After peeking at the market trend, They decided to go after the consumers aged 18-34.

While in a market, Where the AXE was sitting on top and enjoying the view,

Old Spice needed help to break the wrong perception view from the minds of its target audience.

Oh wait, The clouds are thundering, and the Volcanoes are spitting magma,

2010, February 8, Old spice ad campaign flipped everything.

They went to the marketing genius Wieden and Kennedy, who were behind the slogan, “Just do it,” of Nike.

As per their market research, “60% of body purchases were made by women.”

The main goal of Old spice was to convince women not to buy “Lady scented products” for their men.

That lighted a new light, Old Spice | The man your man could smell like.”

This ad directly speaks to the women who were said to be buying “Lady scented products” for their men.

And became a massive success in Social media. On Youtube alone, this Video scooped 20 million views in 3 days.

After 1 month, Old spice became the No-1 viewed brand on YouTube.

What can you learn from this ad? Know your target audiences, and you can create the perfect ad that flies off to the moon and buries your brand flag.

Got milk? | California Milk Processor Board.

Got milk?

Got Milk?

An American Ad campaign ran in 1993 encouraging people to have milk and related dairy products.

Goodby Silverstein & Partners created this ad for the California Milk processor board.

When the ad came, it was a meteorite hit and took over the public mind.

More than 70 commercials of this campaign ran on California televisions alone.

350 varieties of Milk moustaches ad campaign ran nationally inside the TVs and Prints.

Take any day; 80% of US citizens come into contact with this ad, “Got Milk?”

It’s a huge success.

The tagline itself is short and easily remembered.

Types of advertising Campaigns.

And milk Moustache is typical stuff people would encounter after finishing a glass of milk in one go, especially when they were kids.

Adding the celebrity and sticking that milk moustache above their lips made this ad famous.

This ad shows what’s already there, An event that happens in every person’s house.

Now we know that a successful campaign reflects what’s already there inside the people’s life, Their funny moments, desires, dreams, emotions, etc.

What can you learn from this ad? Make remembering easy. Make it fun. Reflect on what’s already inside people’s lives and make it amusing.

Red Bull Stratos | An ad or not? Tell me.

Got milk?

It may not seem like an ad at all,

But if you ask me, I would yell that marketing magic is inside this Record-breaking event.

Red bull Stratos is what the event is called; Austrian Skydiving pro Felix Baumgartner is the one who jumped from a highest altitude to break the record. He did it anyways,

But why am I including this in the best ad?

A spokesperson from Red Bull says, “This is not an ad, but a project their team documented for 7 years.”

However, this project knowingly or Unknowingly became a great promotion to Red Bull; it’s true.

This event was live-streamed in 50 countries across 80 TV stations.

8 million people watched this Live stream on YouTube.

Another 52 million people watched this through 280 other digital partners.

They say it’s not an ad, But we marketers know it is the best ad in the world.

This energy drink company is adamant about keeping on Insisting their personality & value.

Red Bull creates stories of adventure and adrenaline. They stayed true to their brand motto, “Giving wings to people and to Ideas” wherever they showed their head.

Car racing? Red bull is there, Bike Stunt? Red bull, Rock Climbing? Red bull, do You get the point?

What can you learn from this ad? Always stay true to your brand’s personality and show it to the world.

Dove | Stop the beauty test | Concerning the Indian marriage system.


“3 in 4 Indian women face rejection in arranged marriage systems because of the look,” says the Matrimonial statistics.

This ad is created to encounter that situation in the Indian marriage system.

Unlike other ads from above, This may not seem like a big hit that shook up the world,

But Dove, The product and brand from Unilever, the British-Dutch multinational company,

always stay true to their value and personality, Like Red Bull from above.

That’s what helps them create Inspiring ads. .

What can you learn from this ad? Stand for something higher than your product and brand and communicate that clearly to your target audience.

Volkswagen | Think Small

Think Small

Go and touch any person in the USA in the 1950s. They start bragging about their dull story with their super masculine cars.

Muscle, big, sleek, stylish and an adrenaline rocket are the nicknames American people use to describe cars.

But selling a car that looks like an injured bug fallen from the hands of a coal digger to the American people is like a crazy Idea.

But somehow it worked.

This ad kicks out the shiny and boasting mouths of the typical ad format car sellers used in that era.

While every ad pressurises Americans to buy this and that,

This ad is honest, transparent, and an uncommon sight every American eye will see among the shouting ads in their Morning newspaper.

Meaning? It stood out from the rest in a healthy way.

This ad made people in America rethink their thoughts on buying cars,

And the ad posters become the ornament inside the Teenager’s bedroom and a small talk among coffee-drinking Office people.

This ad changed the way of advertising.

What can you learn from this ad? Stand out from the rest.

Absolut Vodka | The Absolut bottle.


Longest running ad campaign in history. Ran for 25 years with 1500 variations of the same ad repeating repeatedly; it never bored people.

They used this ad globally using local things. Like, Telephone booths, Christmas Gifts, Geographic landscape, etc.

Absolut stepped inside the people’s hearts with this single ad campaign alone for 25 years.


This ad made use of the geography of Manhattan city.

When a brand speaks to you personally, You are more likely to buy from it; that’s what Absolut did here.

In the US alone, 10,000 cases of bottles were sold in the 1980s, and by the year 2000, Absolut was selling 4.5 million cases. My gosh!

Absolut made up more than half of the Imported brands to the total of the USA.

Also seen a rise in demand across the globe.

And, All they did was, Showing their bottle’s shape in a little creative way.

That’s Impressive.

What can you learn from this ad? Think creatively simple.

Dollar Shave Club | The Viral Video.


One Video, which jumped onto YouTube at 6. am, on March 6, made the Dollar Shave Club get tons of customers and subscribers.

Michael Dubin, The founder of the Dollar Shave Club, Starred in his Brand Video, Which tries to explain why their Shaving blades were great.

But less he knew that one Video could hammer him towards the roof of success in one day.

2 hours after the Video was uploaded to Youtube, His Dollar Shave Club website crashed due to the amount of traffic the website galloped in a short time.

What! He was terrified, Fearing that his dream could turn into a nightmare. Then it got restored within 24 hours.

Within a day, They basketed 12,000 new subscribers into their list through this simplistic Brand Video,


After that, they produced another, totalling both Videos; they galloped 25 million Views for their Video.

Excellent brand awareness, right?

What made it best? They just exposed their true brand self. And People loved it.

What can you learn from this ad? Be your brand self.

Pepsi | New generation | Michael Jackson


This ad changed Pepsi’s perception among the people. Like, Pepsi’s for youth, while Coca-Cola? It is for older adults.

Two years after ‘The Thriller, the best-selling music album of all time,’ Michael Jackson said okay to act in this ad promoting Pepsi.

Which is the best decision Pepsi has ever taken for its campaign.

Know what? It was a massive hit for Pepsi, topping 7 billion dollars in profit after this ad.

This ad became famous also for another reason, MTV placed a rule that ads must be shown only with white artists,

But Pepsi here, Showed the 1980s Michael Jackson.

What can you learn from this ad? Do something no one has ever done with the right people.

Dove | The real beauty sketches


Yeah, Dove again, But better.

Garnered 114 million views after just one month. Getting the hallmark of the ‘Most Viral ad of all time.’

What do you think of yourself? Handsome? Beautiful? You may feel like that, But do you know what other women were thinking about themselves?

Dove’s ad campaign on real beauty sketches wants to explore that concept.

An FBI-trained sketch artist who started drawing real-time sketches of a woman, first based on their own input about themselves,

Second, based on the stranger’s input about the woman.

The final sketches revealed one thing: Sketches drawn from strangers’ input were more attractive than their own input about themselves.

This taught one thing: Women were more attractive than they thought.

Uploaded in 25 different languages, in more than 33 of Dove’s YouTube channels, and Viewed in 110+ countries. Unruly Media’s global head of content and PR, David Waterhouse, says,

“It brought the emotion of ‘Warmth, Happiness and Knowledge’ from its target audience.

According to Unruly data, the Video was shared 3.74 million times, making it the third most shared Video of all time.

This Video gave people a reason to share, which means,

Brands should create content that touches the emotional part of the audience and must provide a reason for them to share it with the world.


What can you learn from this ad? Create something worthy of sharing. People will share it.

Chipotle | ScareCrow.


Caution! This ad may pull the strings, rope, and thread in your heart and simultaneously make you feel sad and optimistic.

Chipotle runs a story ad that tells how the chipotle scarecrow character uses natural & sustainable things in his fast-food store,

then the deceitful practices the Crow Food corporations were doing in its fast-factory.

Even though this ad slashed some critics and praise.

None can deny that this ad created a significant impact on the consumer’s mind.

Who wants to eat chemically ballooned chicken? (Lips curling down and eyes bulging)

Emotion transcends smoothly from dark to sunshine-like butter and amassed 6.5 million views on Youtube.

What can you learn from this ad? Tell stories of your Brand in an impactful way.

Apple’s Iconic Super Bowl ad

Apple's Iconic Super Bowl ad

After you see the ad, You will see why Apple is the change maker in this world.

Aired during a break in the SuperBowl January 22, 1984,

Where a young woman runs into a room and throws a heavy sledgehammer onto the big screen, where,

A bald villain-like character(Talking on the screen) manipulates a group of other bald heads who sit on a chair like they are hypnotised. Yeah, Like science fiction stuff.

That sledgehammer broke the screen and released the enthralled bald heads from the hypnotist’s grip.

Ridley Scott, who directed Blade Runner, 1982, Directed this ad. (Now, I understand why this ad looks like cinematography)

Steve Jobs loved this ad, and it drew the media’s attention, getting a free replay on the news broadcast the next day.

Many people in the advertising world will point to this ad and say, “You know? This ad marked the Innovative image of Apple in this tech world.”

It’s true, Isn’t it?

What can you learn from this ad? You can create ads without showing your product and still make an Impact.

All you need is….The same, CREATIVITY infused with a great understanding of your Brand’s personality and emotion.

Reddit Superbowl awareness campaign.

Reddit Superbowl awareness campaign

Frenzy is what this ad can be called; broadcasted in SuperBowl, 2021. The moment the ad showed its head on the screen,

People are like, “What?! What am I seeing?”

Two Suv cars are racing across the desert, blowing the dust everywhere, then a Glitch!

What? A long message with a headline, “Wow, This actually worked.”

Finishes with a group of Horses running across a valley and stops!

Does this ad make sense? Absolutely, It won’t, and that’s why it became one of the most searched super bowl commercials on Google.

And Northwestern Universities’ business school on Sunday reported it as the most effective commercial of the broadcast.

300+ News Outlets cover this ad, also sweeps 6.5 billion Impressions.

Like Neil Armstrong’s statement, One small ad becomes a giant leap of awareness to Reddit.

Even Reddit’s servers crashed because of the amount of traffic it got after the ad.

What can you learn from this ad? You don’t need a 30-second ad to become a frenzy talk among the people.

Nike | Crazy Dreams


Nike has always been an Inspiring Icon in the game of sports.

This ad is just like that, Inspiring & showering goosebumps on people’s skin.

Some people said they cried after seeing this ad more like a motivational talk than an ad that went straight into the brains & hearts of people.

According to Statista, “Crazy dreams were the most effective ad campaign in the United States in 2021. Earned Nike an all-time high in stock price & a brand value of around 6 billion dollars.”

What can you learn from this ad? Always stay true to who you are; focus on getting into the emotional part of your target audience through Inspiration, Happiness, Comedy, etc.

Adidas Original | End Plastic Waste.

Adidas Original

If Kermit the frog voices the Adidas ad, won’t you get excited? Also if you are a die-hard Star Wars fan, This ad will make you open your mouth wide.

Delivering the message for people to do their part in going green, saving the environment, and making the world a better place.

Also Including the cameo of the tennis legend Stan Smith at the end part of the ad,

To introduce its brand new sneakers with a tennis-inspired design.

It must be noted that This shoe is made from recycled polyester.

Instead of using some Voiced deep artists to fill up the Video’s ambient, Adidas used the Iconic & hilarious voice of Kermit the frog.

Making it one of the best TV commercials of 2021.

What can you learn from this ad? If everyone uses the most obvious thing in the ad, There is no need for your brand to use that too.

Just be different.

Amazon Alexa

Amazon’s Alexa must be a speaker who responds whenever you ask something.

But can you avoid it, If that dull round object becomes Michael B. Jordan?

Absolutely cannot.

And that’s what made this 1-minute ad one of the best super bowl commercials of 2021.

What can you learn from this ad? Turn the most obvious things in a little different way.

Heinz | Draw Ketchup.


It will make you smirk at first and then laugh in the middle of the Office hour.

Heinz ketchup asked people from 5 continents to draw a simple ketchup, and I don’t know how it happened and how it is possible,

Everyone scribbled a ketchup bottle with Heinz on it, Showing that everyone around the world is using it.

What can you learn from this ad? Sometimes your customers make a great ad.

HP | Parallel Lives.


Plastic molecules are heated and bonded together in a grease-sticking machine.

(Blub! Blub !) An infant fish tore its fragile egg and came out to see the new world,

Plastic turns into a thin bag and is sent to the department store’s counter.

While the fish got bigger and bigger and reached the age of maturity.

A woman uses the plastic bag for a while and throws it into foul-smelling garbage.

That fish? Still swimming in some corner of an ocean.

Plastic bag, now sleeping among other plastic friends on a beach’s shore.

(Whoosh…) Wind blows.

The plastic dude flies into the air for a while, That fish? Still swimming.

Like someone pushed the wind from behind, An heavy wind rushed the floating plastic onto the blue ocean water,

Plastic floats for a while on the ocean surface; then, water covers the body and pulls it inside,

Now, plastic is swimming through the water.

That fish saw the plastic with a child’s curious eyes (sparkles!)

Flips its tail, swims through the salt-mixed water and gets near that shiny, pinkish, and paper-like plastic dude.

(Mouth Opens…Aaaa..)

Then a mysterious hand grabbed the plastic and pulled it outside before it killed that poor fish,


At last, shows how HP is using ocean-bound plastic in its laptops.

What can you learn from this ad? A story will last longer inside your brain. Remember, The story lasts.

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Author Bio


His thirst for learning and Implementing new things in business and marketing is limitless. He drinks business courses, eats marketing books, and plucks his hair on solving problems and finding ways in business and marketing stuff. He is a lifetime learner, reader, planner, and executor. In his free time, You can find him planning for his ultimate life goal.

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