What is an Advertising Campaign: Definition, Types & Examples

Mar 22, 2024 - By Camilla Mackeviciute

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Ad campaigns help brands create a lasting impression. But how to start engaging your consumers via ads without being intrusive? 

You must have seen at least ten ads today since morning. But most ads are uninspiring. The most incredible ads are a part of elaborate campaigns and help brands move on to the next level. A carefully-thought advertising and marketing campaign has the power to: 

  • Make your sales funnel flooded with eager prospects; 
  • Make the sales team busy for the rest of the year, and;
  • Help a brand achieve its short-term marketing goals.

But how do you get started advertising your brand? Should you begin with planning, define a budget, or something else? Don’t worry; by the time you read the blog, you’ll have a complete overview of offline and online advertising. Shall we?

What is an Advertising Campaign?

An advertising campaign is a set of advertisements that work together to promote a product or service. An ad campaign is designed around a specific and unique theme to create brand awareness about the company’s product or service.

According to the traditional campaign advertising definition, ad campaigns must include a series of ad messages with a common idea revolving around integrated marketing communication.

Marketers use advertising campaigns to reach their potential customers. An advertising campaign can be a series of different individual ads or the same ad across mediums used to create awareness and interest in a product or service.

This is achieved through different forms of media, including radio, television, print advertising, direct mail, or the internet.

Ad campaigns help drive the reason for a brand’s existence and showcase why consumers should take their product or service seriously. From a more objective standpoint, advertisement campaigns are important because:

  • Advertisements help promote your service, find new clients, and expand your reach;
  • Ad campaigns push the unique idea behind your brand on multiple platforms for an extended period;
  • Ad promotions can help you build your company around core values like humility, class, and humor.

Objectives of Advertising Campaigns

Every advertising campaign aims to connect with the audience in a way that encourages them to try out a brand’s product, know more about the company, or take some action. That’s the primary objective of an advertising campaign. 

However, there are some other goals associated with running an ad campaign, including: 

  • Driving traffic and engagement to a website or landing page
  • Increasing conversion rates of an existing sales offer; 
  • Improving brand awareness and boosting brand image among the target audience;  
  • Generating leads for an upcoming product, event, or service offered; 
  • Launching a product to the masses; 
  • Announcing a deal, offer, or discount to attract incremental sales revenue. 

Common Types of Digital Advertising Campaigns

Be it the eye-catching Apple commercial or the simple and objective GoDaddy ads, every ad campaign can be categorized into the following types based on the platform they’re run on. Here are the most common digital advertising campaign types: 

  • Display Advertising. It’s the most popular type of digital advertising, mainly because it’s simple and easy to execute. These are banners, text ads, and other graphical elements that appear on a website, mobile app, blog, and other places on the internet. Display ads are a type of PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, meaning that you pay a publisher each time someone clicks on an ad. This can vary depending on the ad’s size and how much the advertiser is willing to pay.
  • Search Advertising. It’s a targeted form of advertising that lets you display ads only on searches performed by the users. This includes ads that appear in sponsored results on Google and other search engines. Search ads are displayed when someone searches for a term related to your product or service. Ads are typically displayed at the top of the organic search results or next to the paid links. 
  • Social Media Advertising. Social media advertising is another method of digital advertising. It consists of paid advertisements on social media such as Meta ads, LinkedIn ads, etc. Social media advertising helps to promote products or services, generate awareness and boost brand awareness.
  • Video Advertising. Advertisers have been turning to video ads for years to engage audiences across platforms. Using a video marketing campaign with compelling content that promotes your products or services is a highly effective advertising tactic in a world with a shortening attention span and increasing popularity of video-first online platforms.  It involves sharing a contextual video ad on social media platforms to engage audiences.
  • Email Advertising. Email advertising (email marketing) is an effective way to reach your target customers and prospects. The medium is used to generate qualified leads, nurture them, and convert them into buyers through automated email campaigns, newsletters, or lead nurturing campaigns. 
  • Influencer Marketing. Influencer marketing is becoming more and more popular in today’s world. It involves onboarding an influencer with a decent social media following to promote your product or services. Usually, influencers post branded or sponsored content on their feed to influence the buying decisions of their followers. 
  • Retargeting Advertising. Retargeting advertising is a form of online advertising where companies display ads to people who have visited their website. These ads are designed to bring back visitors who are interested in your brand. For example, if you visited a website to look at kitchen remodeling ideas and clicked a link to view a post, you might see a retargeting ad later on social media about the same brand or business. 

Cost of Digital Advertising Campaigns

The cost of running a digital advertising campaign varies depending on many factors. According to recent studies, ad campaign spending can vary between a few hundred dollars to millions, based on your choice of medium, campaign goals, demography, etc. 


In most cases, one can get started for as low as $100 for promoting an ad campaign on social media or via PPC. However, it doesn’t include the cost of producing an ad campaign.

Also read: Email Marketing Costs: Ways to Save Money

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Effective Advertising Campaign Examples by Popular Brands

A successful campaign is generally evergreen and brings the brand a ‘cult’ following like Coca-Cola’s ‘Open Happiness’ campaign. Best advertising campaigns are amusing and revolve around certain universal truths communicated through memorable ads and digital marketing. Here are some evergreen advertising campaigns to help you get inspired.

Netflix Advertising Campaign — One Story Away

For the better part of the last decade, Netflix took great pride in promoting movies and TV shows — forgetting that it was ‘A Story Away’ from reminding its target audience about the underlying need for a Netflix subscription. Its most popular campaign is based on the same theme: 

‘One Story Away’ ad campaign highlights the uniqueness of having a Netflix subscription against rivals such as HBO Max and Disney+. Take a look:

Source: Netflix

The campaign is a good reminder that your brand’s journey isn’t as empty or meaningless as you might think it to be—you need to highlight the moments that matter. A simple advertising campaign like this one connects all the threads and allows customers to feel your journey might be all your brand needs. 

Key Takeaways

  • Use your product’s most important feature/benefit to weave a bigger story; 
  • Engage users with a hook and present the next steps gradually; 
  • Appeal to the emotions and mindset.

Nike Advertising Campaign — Just Do It

‘Just Do It’ is the most iconic ad campaign of all time. The slogan exemplifies the true meaning of a timeless and memorable ad campaign. In three words, Nike’s first commercial stamped a brand identity of global value.

Source: Nike

It’s safe to say the ‘Just Do It’ tagline is one of Nike’s biggest marketing assets — simple yet priceless.

Key Takeaways

  • Make the story inspiring and relatable; 
  • Add a tinge of humor or wit to your ad campaign; 
  • Never shy away from a ‘real story’. 

Spotify Advertising Campaign — #2020wrapped

2020 ended with a rollercoaster of emotions on the table. COVID had, for the first time in forever, made the start of a decade seem like the end of a millennial. Persistent lockdowns, work-from-home, and face masks called for a dynamic sense of morals. 

So naturally, we all needed an ‘alternate story’ to remember 2020. Thankfully, Spotify came to the rescue with its clever #2020 wrapped feature and a supporting ad campaign, reminding us of how enduring yet beautiful 2020 was. 

It involved sharing users’ favorite (and most played songs) and thanking everyone with a playlist through their ads. Have a look: 

Image source: Spotify
Image source: Spotify

Key Takeaways

  • Use customer metrics to drive an ad campaign; 
  • Leverage user-generated content to create a theme for a relatable campaign; 
  • Be empathetic — show users that you care and listen to their needs.

Old Spice Ad Campaign – The Man You Could Smell Like

Old Spice has been known for its quirky advertising for a long time, but one particular campaign has turned out to be highly successful in the past. ‘The Man Your Man Could Smell Like’ was launched in 2010 and went viral because it was humorous, engaging, and creative. Have a look: 

Source: YouTube

The ad campaign had a single message – Old Spice wasn’t just for old men; it was meant for the young and adventurous, too. Full of absurd (yet non-offensive) humor, the ad was charming and clever, which made it an instant hit among the audience. 

The ad campaign, which aired and won several awards for its marketing effectiveness, increased sales by up to 107% after it aired. 

Key Takeaways

  • Use humor to make your ads more relatable; 
  • Use multiple mediums to engage more people; 
  • Think creatively to use a different angle/approach to make your ad memorable.

Coca-Cola Advertising Campaign — The Polar Bowl

While it’s true that we fancy evergreen ads, most times, the best commercial campaigns need to cater to a particular moment.

Coca-Cola’s Polar Bowl Ad aired during Super Bowl XLVI. The goal was to intuitively help viewers of the Super Bowl understand the prevalence of second screens.

Source: Coca-Cola

Ad campaigns built around specific events or occasions tend to resonate easily with their target audience. That’s what Coca-Cola tried to leverage here with this ad campaign. 

Key Takeaways

  • Get creative with animation or visuals;
  • Create a campaign around a popular activity or sporting event like the World Cup, Super Bowl, etc. 
  • Make it fun by adding a ‘magical’ element if you plan something for the holidays. 

Top Ad Campaign Examples

The past few years were great times for the advertising industry, with some of the most iconic campaigns rolled out for the public. Here are five examples of successful campaigns that garnered plenty of views, shares, and likes from the viewers: 

Starbucks’ The Unicorn Frappuccino – Social Media Advertising 

Starbucks needs no introduction. But have you ever wondered how it stays relevant among Gen-Zs and the social media generation? Well, the answer lies in using social media campaigns smartly. Have a look: 

Image source: Instagram

Starbucks launches campaigns like ‘#starbucksunicornfrappuccino’, with unique product launches that encourage people to post user-generated content (UGC). Like, for example, the unique Unicorn drink that turns from purple to pink on a stir, with a change in flavor. 

This campaign blended everything bright and mystical – magic, unicorns, and changing colors- to make people share more about it on social media. Starbucks knew people love to talk and flaunt coffee, and creating a unique product with a limited-time offer pushed users to try and share more about it. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Understand consumer psyche and create experiences they desire; 
  • Use UGC content to extend your reach beyond your existing audience; 
  • Find ways to motivate people to share about you; 

On – Email Advertising Campaign

On is a sports shoes company that uses email to engage running enthusiasts globally. It uses emails to stay on top of minds of their audience. They send downloadable running maps for subscribers who like to travel. Have a look: 

Image source: On

As evident, the maps offer interesting routes for a run with restaurants, shops and must-visit locations in a city. The suggestions are contextual based on customer’s interest and past purchases, making it more engaging. 

Such emails are perfect for staying memorable and re-engage existing customers. Plus, the idea of exploring a new places can be worthy of a sign up for many potential buyers. 

Key Takeaways

  • Know your customer preferences and create relevant content; 
  • Add subtle hints of your brand ethos (running in this case) for a memorable campaign;
  • Encourage users to tag your brand and/or share about it on social media. 

Dove’s #DetoxYourFeed — Relatable Advertisement Campaign 

Dove has been known to create mature and relatable ad campaigns for a long time. Recently, the campaign on combating toxic beauty advice on social media grabbed appreciation globally. Have a look: 

Source: Dove

The ad campaign — a short film called “Toxic Influence” was part of its Self-Esteem project and was promoted with the branded hashtag #DetoxYourFeed. It created awareness and gave the viewers an option to download a 4-step guide to deal with toxic beauty advice on social media. The campaign was targeted at young people promoting healthy body positivity practices. 

Key Takeaways 

  • Add a relatable social cause to your ad campaigns; 
  • Create something targeting your core audience or customers; 
  • Use the power of storytelling in your ad campaigns. 

Heinz AI Ketchup — One of the Best Advertising Ads of All Time 

If you’ve not been living under a rock, you must’ve encountered the AI hype on the internet. Some brands made fun of the AI revolution, while some, like Heinz, took it as an opportunity to launch a quirky ad campaign that showcases its supremacy in its category. Have a look: 

Source: Heinz

This campaign was a follow-up to last year’s Draw Ketchup campaign by Heinz and fit right into the brand narrative. The ad campaign tells how even AI understands that ketchup = Heinz. The simple yet powerful message through visuals is enough to make an everlasting impact on the viewers. How the ad folded out makes it a great advertising campaign in the modern context.

Key Takeaways 

  • Harness the ongoing hype or online trends in your ad campaigns; 
  • Use attractive visuals and fit the campaign in your brand narrative. 

Reddit’s Super Bowl Experiment  — Great Ad with a Twist 

We all know how expensive Super Bowl ad slots can get — estimated at $6.5 million for a 30-second ad slot. So, when Reddit got to experiment with Super Bowl ad slots, they thought of optimizing for timing. Instead of buying a typical 30-second slot, they bought a 5-second slot and created something that piqued the curiosity of viewers. Have a look: 

Source: Reddit on Twitter

The 5-second ad, which appeared like a car promo, glitches into a textual interface with a simple message from Reddit. This ad confused everyone so much that viewers went to social media platforms like Twitter to discuss it. Reddit’s tweet about the ad ​​attracted viewers, and soon, the campaign registered 464,000 views on Twitter alone. According to The New York Times, the ad campaign became one of the most shared ad campaigns of the year. 

Key Takeaways

  • Experiment and try something unconventional with your ad campaigns; 
  • Use an omnichannel approach when it comes to launching advertising campaigns. 

Examples of Most Effective Advertisements

Ad campaigns are designed to make an instant impact. After all, you just have a few seconds to share your message. Some brands have excelled at the art of creating compelling advertisements. Here are a few marketing campaign examples by popular brands: 

Oral-B Advertising Campaign — Toothpaste & Mouthwash Ad

When designing an ad, it’s nice to focus on a philosophical worldview or emotional traits. But sometimes, you should take the bull by the horn and go straight to the point.

Oral-B didn’t beat around the bush with their toothpaste and mouthwash TV ad. From the very first second of this commercial to the last, it was all about the uniqueness of their product. And yes, the fans loved it.

Source: Oral-B

On-point — that’s the campaign summed into one word. It became a hit because Oral-B knew their target audience — their preferences, picked the right medium, and used clever direct response copywriting here. 

Key Takeaways

  • Keep it direct; 
  • Showcase real people in your ad campaigns; 
  • Try adding expert opinions to support your claims.

Slack Ad Campaign — Work from Anywhere 

Slack has been a predominantly ‘digital’ player. However, it has done some great ad campaigns on TV and social media. Their most recent campaign involves two ads — a 30-second live-action TV ad and a short animated video and supporting digital banners and ad copies, like the one below:  

Image source: Slack

The whole theme is around the changing way the world works, and the tagline/theme of working from anywhere is so relatable that it’s hardly unmissable. You can also plan a campaign around the changing dynamics of the world and succeed at grabbing the attention of online/offline audiences. 

Key Takeaways

  • Leverage changing circumstances and show the world that you’re not disconnected from the real world; 
  • Try to show what gap you fill in your first 10 seconds; 
  • Highlight something unique about your product or service based on the evolving ecosystem. 

‘The Last Mile’ Ad Campaign  — Saying Goodbye, The Iconic Way 

Volkswagen Beetle is an iconic automobile. So, the company announced its discontinuation with a beautiful and memorable ad campaign. 

Source: Volkswagen

The campaign ad hits home the point that every good thing comes to an end. Created as an animated clip, the ad invokes nostalgia for anyone who has owned a Beetle in their lifetime. The ad campaign captured live emotions and beautiful colors, usually seen in real bugs. The ending of this short ad is impactful, where the car changes into a real-life bug and shows that it’s time to move on. The final message — ‘where one road ends, another begins’, gives a continuation to the brand. 

Key Takeaways

  • Utilize storytelling in your ad campaigns to make them memorable and timeless; 
  • Always project relatable emotions for your audience to cherish in an ad campaign; 
  • Use iconic imagery or brand elements that define your brand or business. 

Basics of an Effective Digital Advertising Campaign Strategy 

Advertising is a competitive arena with many brands fighting for attention from the same eyeballs. So, creating a thoughtful advertising strategy becomes critical. You must refine different factors, such as content, creativity, and performance to create a winning ad campaign. 

Test and decide what works best for your business while creating top advertisements. Gather data to create and refine your campaigns through the following steps:

  • Determine competition. Identify your competitors and how they differ or are similar to your offering. Use the knowledge to create a USP for your offer and ad campaign. 
  • Do thorough market research. Find out what your potential customers want or dislike, then define your brand positioning for the ad campaign. 
  • Document your target audience/buyers’ persona. Create an ideal buyer’s profile outlining their needs, goals, and aspirations, and use the info to make informed marketing decisions. 
  • Pick the right marketing channel. Choose a suitable medium for your audience. For example, B2B audience is looking for highly technical and long-form content, and it’s wise to invest in content marketing funnels. While if you have a B2C audience, you can use a fun, lighthearted approach for social media campaigns.
  • Create eye-catchy and relatable advertising copy and design. The key to an effective campaign is engaging and appealing advertising copy. It’s imperative to create copy that is memorable, catchy, and relatable. Think of it as the heart and soul of your campaign. 

Build the Best Advertising Campaign

Today you covered a lot of things related to advertising campaigns. Now use your new-found knowledge to get inspired and launch your first advertising campaigns. Remember the following when doing so:

  • Create an ad campaign around your customers’ or prospects’ core issues and pain points.
  • Take inspiration from successful marketing campaigns to power your marketing efforts; 
  • Always try to plan omnichannel campaigns across traditional, digital, and mobile mediums; 
  • Leverage the power of email advertising to top up your ad campaigns and start nurturing leads.

Also read:

Author Bio

Anmol Ratan Sachdeva is a content marketer and small business consultant who has a strong grip on topics like marketing automation, email marketing, and content marketing. He loves to write about building, improving, and growing a business.

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