Don Draper and the rest of the Mad Men crew have helped make the world of 1960s advertising appear sexy and exciting. With the limited technologies available to them – marketing teams and copywriters from the 60s had to be incredibly creative to capture their audience’s attention and sell units. Here we look at some of the 1960s’ best marketing campaigns so you can apply these techniques to a successful modern campaign.

Avis – We Try Harder

Not many straplines remained as enduringly popular as Avis’ ‘We Try Harder’ manifesto. In 1962, copywriter Paula Green developed the slogan for the car rental company – offering a promise of a service which will go above and beyond the call of duty. Within four years of the strapline’s debut, the company’s market share had grown from 11% to 34%. ‘We Try Harder’ was retained by Avis for half a century before being retired in 2012 upon its golden anniversary.

Lesson – When selecting a strapline for your company or product, carefully consider the message and brand personality you wish to project.

Marlboro Cigarettes – Come to Marlboro Country

Back in the days when advertising tobacco was still legal, American cigarette brand Marlboro were the kings of branding. The Marlboro Country campaign created a laid back and relaxing world full of gentleman cowboys and magical, stress-busting sticks full of tobacco. Although the Marlboro Man had been advertising the brand since the 50s, the ‘Come to Marlboro Country’ slogan completed the world in which he lived. The campaign was so successful and influential it won 1987 Marlboro Man model a role in Steven Spielberg’s feature film, Always, with Holly Hunter and Richard Dreyfuss.

Lesson – Create a world in which your audience would love to live.

Milky Bar – The Milky Bar Kid

The Milky Bar Kid is something of an institution – a wily child hero and friend to chocolate-loving kids since his first appearance in the 60s. Having been played by seven different actors over nearly 50 years, the character has remained enduringly popular with generation after generation of children.

Lesson – Appeal to the sensibilities of your target audience without ever condescending.

Electrolux – Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux

When the Swedish vacuum cleaner brand, Electrolux, entered the US market in the 1960s, its marketing team set about developing an identity which would appeal to the country’s spiritually-liberated population. The ‘Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux’ slogan was thought to be a mistake by many readers who weren’t quite ready for the slightly racy wording. Capturing the attention of the nation, the younger generation enjoyed the jokingly edgy personality of the campaign.

Lesson – If using sex or cheeky messages in advertising, veer on the side of decency.

Volkswagen – Think Small

Volkswagen faced an uphill struggle when introducing their oddly-shaped German cars into the American market in the 1960s, so rather than hide their unique and frowned-upon qualities – they embraced them. The ‘Think Small’ campaign revelled in the Volkswagen Beetle’s small size and the car became one of the most iconic images of the age. Demonstrating how effective marketing can develop brand personality and presence – Volkswagen surpassed the popularity of many competitors of whom they were originally deemed inferior.

Lesson – Never hide the personality of the brand and products.

If you require help developing a marketing and branding campaign, the Leighmans team can help you select branded products and campaigns which capture the personality of your brand, and appeal to your target audience. For a full range of branded products from Leighmans, visit our homepage or give us a call on 0800 169 0898.

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