Top 10 Greatest Ads of All Time

(And What Made Them Successful)

Growth Catalyst Club

Top 10 Greatest Ads of All Time (And What Made Them Successful)

The right ad can be a catalyst for your business’ growth.

#1 "The Epic Split feat. Van Damme

This ad demonstrates the incredible stability of the Volvo FM trucks. The stunt was real and was performed in just one take.

  • Est. cost to produce: $3–4 million

  • Est. revenue generated: $170 million (I have a hard time believing they were able to track it)

#2 Dollar Shave Club - “Our Blades Are F**king Great”

A remarkable story of Dollar Shave Club taking market share from Gilette(70% market share at the time).

Up until this ad went viral, the only innovation Gilette was making was adding a new blade to the razor.

Dollar Shave Club disrupted the established market with a great offer combined with great advertising.

  • Results: 12k orders in 48 hours

  • Cost to produce: ~$4,500.

Why it worked:

  • Humor (“not just good but fcking great razors”) contributed to increased sharability.

  • Shockingly good offer - $1 quality razors.

  • Uses contrast: comparing their blades vs expensive blades with bells and whistles.

#3 Coinbase Superbowl QR Code Ad

Stand out from the crowd and don’t give away too much. That’s the theme of this Coinbase ad.

The full 60-second ad is a colorful bouncing QR code.

  • Cost: ~$14M

  • Results: installs increased by 309% week-over-week on the SuperBowl day, and another 286% the following day.

Why it worked:

  • Different from all other Super Bowl ads.

  • Triggers curiosity.

  • Great offer: $15 sign-up bonus on the landing page.

#4 Deadliest Stuff On Earth?

You know you’re good at marketing when you sell water on the Internet for millions of dollars.

Liquid Death launched in 2019, did $130M in revenue in 2022 from selling carbonated water.

Their secret?

Genius and hilarious ads that build a cult around the brand.

#5 The first “Just Do It” ad

In 1988, Nike did the first "Just Do It" campaign.

It features an 80-year-old man talking about his daily 17-mile run.

Results: Nike’s revenue increased from $877M to $9B from 1988 to 1998.

#6 Wendy’s "Where’s the beef?”

This is a very clever competitor re-positioning ad. It demonstrates consumer dissatisfaction with other burger places that didn’t have as much beef as Wendy’s.

Result: increased revenue by 31% the year the ad ran.

#7 “Got Milk?

It was 1993. Milk sales were in a steady 15-year decline.

The “Got Milk?” campaign turned it around. When launched in 1994, it made drinking milk cool increasing milk sales in California by 7% in just one year.

#8 “Thank You Mama” by P&G

Advertising is about emotions. This ad features multiple cuts of life moments of what it’s like to be a mother.

It’s very emotional. Everyone can relate to it.

Result: $500 million in incremental P&G sales, with 76 billion impressions.

#9 “Girls Don’t Poop” by Poo Pourri

Ads about taboo topics sell well.

This ad went viral, getting about 10 million views in 2 weeks and $4 million worth of back orders.

#9 Ogilvy’s Rolls Royce Ad

In 1958 legendary direct-response advertiser David Ogilvy almost doubled Rolls-Royce sales with one ad.

The main thing that contributed to the ad’s success? - Headline! This one:

“At 60 miles an hour the loudest noise in this new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock"

David Ogilvy

Ogilvy called it: "The best headline I ever wrote."

But he admitted he didn't write it.

He took it from an ad from 25 years earlier from an automobile brand "Pierce & Arrow".

"The only sound one can hear in the new Pierce Arrows is the ticking of the electric clock"

#10 iPhone: “I want Santa to give…” by Google

Shots Fired! In this 60M view ad, IPhone wishes Santa to give it all the AI features that the Google Pixel already has. But none of these features were given by Santa, Google engineers gave it to Pixel.

Prompts to Google. They can still do some cool sh*t.

- Andy

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