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3 Advertising Campaigns that Made Marketing History

Caelia Luk
Written By
Caelia Luk
Published On
Feb 22, 2021
Close up of a marketing campaign being planned

In 2019 Canada spent over 11 billion U.S.D. in the advertising industry. That’s an insane amount! So why would companies spend so much? 

Marketing campaigns are a strategic execution to reach a specific goal. These campaigns can be a form of print media, social media ads and sponsorships, television/radio ads or a combination of all the above. These goals usually consist of: introducing/raising awareness for new products, creating buzz around your brand, building relationships and loyalty with your consumers. As a result, this typically ends with increasing sales. Cha-Ching! $$

In this blog we will look over ad campaigns that made an impact – here are 3 advertising campaigns that made marketing history.

WestJet – Christmas Miracle: Real-time Giving

WestJet, a Canada based airline created a “Christmas Miracle” during one of the most hectic travel seasons. With the help of 150+ volunteers and 19 hidden cameras they were able to create an unforgettable experience for 250 passengers and a successful campaign. 

Before boarding, passengers were asked through a live video stream with Santa Claus – “What do you want for Christmas?”. Once passengers board on flight, Santa’s little helpers were off to work collecting personalized presents for the guests on board. After arrival passengers were happily greeted by gifts at baggage claim, some impressive presents included a flat screen television!

The Impact

The campaign video was posted on youtube on December 3rd 2013. Westjet projected 500,000 views but it quickly exceeded their goal and became the most watched ad of 2013 with a whooping 35 million views! Creating “feel good” videos and encouraging social good is a great way to create viral content. One YouTube viewer commented “Everyone is starting to do these ‘giving back’ videos because they know they are the most viral. Big ups to the marketing team for WestJet. :)” – Proximity 

It has proven corporate philanthropy is a great way to encourage purchases. The campaign has generated yearly revenue of an additional 86%, increased bookings by 77% and a surge of site visits by 100%.  

Always – Like a Girl

Several young adults and teenagers were asked to perform tasks such as run, fight, throw but “…like a girl”. The participants acted out these tasks “like a girl”, influenced by how this phrase is oftentimes used as a demeaning quality and an inferior trait. 

The next set of participants were rolled out, this time they consisted of children and pre-teen girls. They were asked to do the same tasks as the young adults and teenagers, but their response was different. “Like a girl” was not a demeaning quality or an inferior trait for them, but a challenge to perform the tasks to the best of their abilities. 

At the end of the ad both groups of participants were asked what it meant to do things “like a girl”, many of the older participants admitted that it was a shameful characteristic.

The Impact

The campaign video gained over 90 million views on YouTube, making it one of the most viewed videos on the platform. This created quite a stir in the Twitter community, the hashtag #likeagirl trending. Always’ Twitter followers tripled and their YouTube subscribers continuously grew. 

The campaign created a dialogue about sexism and the stereotype behind “like a girl”, many trying to change the phrase into something powerful opposed to an inferior trait to “man”. Shortly after the video was posted, a study was conducted and majority of women and men both agreed “the video changed my perception of the phrase ‘like a girl’”. 

This campaign was a success, it created an emotional connection to its consumers, many considering Always as a preferred brand and the intent to purchase grew by 50% (compared to Target) vs competitors. 

Old Spice – The Man Your Man Could Smell Like

The 30 second commercial was played by actor Isaiah Mustafa, where he approaches the audience with a confident demeanor, spitting out monologues while carrying out various activities in multiple locations and outfits, never losing eye-contact with the camera to advocate benefits from using Old Spice’s products to become the man your woman desires.

The Impact

Although this campaign was not advocating doing social good or changing social norms, it was successful because it was comical and amusing. It gained 105 million views on YouTube becoming the #1 most viewed sponsored ad on the platform and was shared through multiple international media outlets. It increased social media engagement through Twitter, Facebook and Old Spice’s website traffic. 

With positive feedback, several sequels were made, such as “Old Spice – Body Wash” making a huge campaign around the “Old Spice Guy”.

Creating a Successful Marketing Campaign

Running a successful campaign can be challenging. A few things we can learn from the 3  advertising campaigns that made marketing history is that a brand’s narrative cannot just be pushing and selling a product. In order to resonate with consumers, it needs to create a human emotional bond vs corporate artificial bond.

At The Influence Agency we offer a wide range of services to execute your marketing goals. Contact us today to find out how we can help you create your next successful marketing campaign! Who knows? Maybe you’ll make marketing history too! 

Did you find this article helpful? Please let us know, we’d love to hear from you!


  • Caelia Luk is the Lead Developer at The Influence Agency and specializes in WordPress and Shopify development. She’s a proud mama of 3 adorable fur babies. When she’s not coding away, she’s out at the dog park with her fur babies.

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  • Caelia Luk is the Lead Developer at The Influence Agency and specializes in WordPress and Shopify development. She’s a proud mama of 3 adorable fur babies. When she’s not coding away, she’s out at the dog park with her fur babies.

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