13 Scarily Good Brand Marketing Campaigns To Remember



Read Time

25 min


31 October, 2019

Brand marketing campaigns are all the rage.

They’ve always been happening, but lately, every brand and their parent company are getting in on the show.

Traditional sales marketing is dying.

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Companies like MailChimp and Wistia are setting up their own content production studios. Switching from service provider to the production company.

Netflix is one of the fastest-growing brands in the world.

And other businesses are starting to realise that’s the approach they need to take too.

Brand marketing is growing and will continue to grow.

It’s not just about making a sale these days. It’s about winning the hearts and minds of your customers and building brand loyalty.

Who’s getting it right? Who’s getting it wrong?

We’re going to skip on MailChimp and Wistia because they’re working in brand affinity marketing, and we have a whole post about that coming soon.

But, let’s dive into the best brand marketing campaigns that we’ve ever seen.

innocent smoothie
Credit to Innocent Drinks

Bolt From the Blue by Innocent Drinks

The very first thing that stands out when you see “Bolt From the Blue” by Innocent Drinks is how it pops. It really isn’t “innocent”, is it?

The colour we like to call it is paid pop band blue”. But, upon release people argued it looked green. This caused quite the commotion on social media platforms *cough* Twitter *cough*.

innocent smoothie blue Venn diagram
Credit to Innocent Drinks

There was a series of back and forth responses even though Innocent decided to design a Venn diagram showing how they came to the colour of their choosing.

Innocent was that adamant it was blue, they said the following:

“We’ve made a new drink. It’s blue. It’s tasty. It’s blue. It’s good for you. It’s blue. It’s made from apple, lime, guava, and coconut water. It’s blue. It’s boosted with vitamins. It’s blue. It’s the perfect subject for a Venn Diagram. Did we mention it’s blue?”

If you look at the colour of the blue smoothie in contrast with the “blue” label, it looks like innocent have got their colours wrong. Or have they?

This could have been a marketing ploy in order to increase exposure, because who doesn’t want to try a garing blue drink that’s also very healthy for you?

We at Canny don’t just think it’s blue, it is blue.

Is this some kind of illusion, just like the white/gold dress issue?

This was down to an “illusion” where under different conditions you would see the dress as either black and blue or white and gold.

There was even debate as to what influenced what people saw – it could be to with how people think and feel to the interference of light.

You can have two of the same coloured cubes (grey) placed on top of each other. The bottom cube will have a different background placed behind it to the cube on top. Thus, tricking your eyes into seeing two different colours.

If you look at the two different images of the Innocent drink here, you will notice that it seems bluer in one than the other.

Either way, you look at it, it was a pretty smart move from Innocent. Creating a “paid pop band blue” colour in order to increase attention from the general public and Inncoent’s customers.

This shows Innocent is not afraid to be bold, and the fact that they are so adamant it’s blue even with the general public saying its green showed they are willing to stand up for themselves.

To us, this shows integrity.

Another Level by Doritos

Another Level by Doritos really pushes the boundaries for crisp marketing. It makes their product look “epic”.

Firstly, the Dorito is an iconic shape, there’s no denying that. So, why not do something cool with it? That’s what Dorito did. They created a brand marketing campaign without putting their actual logo it, they simply used the Dorito shape.

This is an effort to appeal to the generation z or the “Millenials”. This is to reduce the “overt” advertising (the typical blatant adverts found in magazines where your eyes are tuned to skip out on this content).

From this point on Doritos will remove their logo from its advertising and social media content, in place with the iconic Dorito shape – the triangle.

People who are familiar with Dorito already will instantly recognise Doritos characteristics – the triangle, cheese dust etc. this is what Dorito is actually hoping for.

In an effort to push this even further, they created an Anti-ad video promoting their Dorito chips in order to appeal to Generation Z.

They even went as far as having their logo blurred out and a sign saying “logo goes here”.

During this “anti-ad” hip hop music is played throughout, this could be to cater towards Gen Z even further, as, during the 90s and 2000s, you had that nostalgic iconic 90s and 2000s hip-hop and rap.

During the MTV music awards, there was a series of TV and digital spots that had no logos or mention of the brand.

The visuals of this brand marketing campaign are very urban-like. This is very prominent from their Anti-ad along with hip-hop music.

As mentioned before Dorito removed their logo from their social media platforms. This was an effort to allow current fans to show what the “another level” campaign means to them, they could use #LogoGoesHere hashtag. Customers could even use a triangle lense in SnapChat.

Doritos instagram
Credit to Frito Lay / Doritos

This image from their Instagram page at the time shows their logo made up of different objects.

During this campaign, the domain doritos.com was replaced with logogoeshere.com. You can even tell what these different objects resemble with a quick glance. It’s not until you spend time looking closely at each image, you begin to realise how much effort has gone into this campaign.

One last thing. Who remembers the Doritos 3Ds? We sure do. This was a product released by Dorito in the early 2000s back when all of us Gen Z were kiddywinks. When they were released everyone wanted to try them.

Because who didn’t want to try their favourite 2D snack in 3D form?

When your favourite brand really pushes the boundaries, you can do anything but resist buying your favourite snack.

Our Blades Are F***ing Great by Dollar Shave Club

Our Blades Are F***ing Great by Dollar Shave Club’s advert went viral.

This is because this statement appeals to a wide audience. Who doesn’t use such profanities when they experience something F***ing great, or horrible.

According to the CEO of the Dollar Shave Club, he says “People tend to remember things when they’re musically presented, and comedy is a form of music,” he says. “When you’re launching a new business and sharing a new idea if you can get people to remember it, there’s obviously a better chance at success.

People most certainly responded to the Dollar Shave Club’s advert.

Just after 24 hours of their video advert being released on YouTube, over 12000 people signed up to the service.

Such a statement may seem random and come from a whimsical person, but it was actually planned out. Well, according to the commercial director (Lucia Aniello) who happens to be a comedienne.

Lucia has developed various comedy shorts for brands ranging from Audi to the Emmy Awards.

During various discussions on how to get the lines just right for the video, Lucia said it in plain terms. “Our blades are F**ing Great”. Nothing more and nothing less, yet it is really impactful.

This is such a good way to introduce a brand, shouting boldly how good a product is with short sweet words.
It isn’t just the profanities that sold the product, but the humorous side to it. No one was expecting to see what they see – who expects to see this? We sure didn’t.

This makes you have the reaction “what the…”.

This also provokes curiosity, after seeing this you are most certainly going to want to investigate as to what makes them so great…

This brand marketing campaign was so successful that Unilever bought the Dollar shave club for a reported 1 billion dollars (around £780 million).

It wasn’t just this statement and video that made the brand so successful, but they offered a real solution.

They advertised a monthly subscription of just $1 to get your razer instead of paying $20 per month for a premium brand.

Got Milk? By the California Milk Processing Board

Milk is probably one of the most boring products ever. It’s just milk. People even cry over spilt milk.

But how did the statement Got Milk? Become so famous.

Well, Jeff Goodbye was the one responsible for coming up with the question “Got Milk?”.

This originated from the fact that milk cannot be new or improved. Milk has always existed and is a plain drink.

But it’s good for you.

Got Milk? Turned out to be one of the most famous marketing taglines in history.

During a focus group, a female said: “The only time I even think about milk is when I run out of it.” During the focus group, Goodbye wrote “Got Milk?” on a poster board for the meeting.

He then decided that it could be used as a tagline.

Got Milk was simple and stood for something. This is because good taglines are meant to be simple and effective (they must mean something without much explanation).

Got Milk? Is also actionable. Got Milk makes you ask yourself, do you actually have any? Meaning, it makes you think about whether you have got milk or not.

Golt Milk also has a humorous level to it. During the video for Got Milk? The actor was a participant for an Alexander Hamilton quiz. He got asked a question but had a mouth full of food and he couldn’t talk. He went to pour a glass of milk but ran out. At the end of the advert, it simply says “Got Milk?”.

The term Got Milk? Was also implemented in different things. Two examples include celebrities with milk moustaches and wrestling.

There are over 100 adverts with celebrities in Got Milk adverts, some include Jessica Alba, Elton John, Jennifer Anniston and Angelina Jolie.

It even breached into Wrestling with Stone Cold Steve Austin being featured in a Got Milk advert.

The goals were simple – to achieve an effective tagline, be actionable, be humorous and simply make people want to drink milk.

If you are seeing your favourite celebrities drinking milk, why aren’t you?

This campaign was more USA centric, but it’s well known in other countries. This goes to show how effective this campaign was.

Apple Think Different
Credit to Apple

Think Different from Apple

Think Different from Apple was an advertising slogan that was used from 1997 to 2002.

It was an effort to think outside the box.

In the early days, Apple could have closed down – according to predictions. But Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 and while a new line of products was being developed Jobs wanted an advert campaign that would remind Apple’s current fan base the qualities that made Apple great in the first place.

The end result ended up being one of the most talked-about brand marketing campaigns. Think Different.

It was thought to have been a response to IBM’s slogan think. And was used in video adverts and print adverts.

It was to promote Apple’s new line of products.

Because Think Different was pushing the “think different” meaning, people who saw these adverts and wanted Apple’s products would have been inspired to think differently. Apple’s products allowed people to be productive and have downtime.

Some of Apple’s products at the time of this campaign included the iPod and iMac.

During the think different campaign, steve jobs said “I think you had to really think differently when you bought a Mac. It was a totally different computer, worked in a totally different way, used a totally different part of your brain. And it opened up a computer world for a lot of people who thought differently … And I think you still have to think differently to buy an Apple computer.

Over time, “think different” has developed into a slogan and brand value.

This is because Apple want to continuously improve and make better products.

Some of Apple’s core values are:

  • One person, one computer.
  • We are going for it and we will set aggressive goals.
  • We are all on the adventure together.
  • We build products we believe in.
  • We are here to make a positive difference in society, as well as make a profit.
  • Each person is important; each has the opportunity and the obligation to make a difference.
  • We are all in it together, win or lose.
  • We are enthusiastic!
  • We are creative; we set the pace.
  • We want everyone to enjoy the adventure we are on together.
  • We care about what we do.
  • We want to create an environment in which Apple values flourish.

These core values are what support Apple’s vision and culture.

To be able to carry out these values, Apple needs to think differently to the norm.

Some examples from the campaign included Albert Einstein and Nelson Mandella. Thinking differently allows you to make a big impact and the people featured in Apple’s think different campaign are the people who have made a difference in this world.

Before think different, Apple advertised at the time of the Superbowl in 1984. In this advert, an unnamed heroine was used to represent the upcoming mac. The intended message was to show IBM they weren’t the ones just dominating the market.

In 1984 store dealers were happily taking on IBMs products and Apple wanted a dip in this, put simply.

It wasn’t just IBM Apple was competing with, but Windows.

During this period the main competitors were Microsoft, Apple and IBM. the early versions of Mac systems were expensive and this actually hindered their competitiveness and the market was dominated by IBM.

Microsoft Windows was also becoming increasingly popular. In the mid-90s Microsoft’s Windows machines were very affordable, especially with the low prices of various PC components.

The mid-90s was also when Windows 95 was released. This declined Apple user base even further.

Apple had to do something.

Steve Jobs believed Apples Macintosh had become too complex, this is the point when Steve Jobs returned Apple (1996) and you know the rest from there.

Thinking different is thinking outside the box.

Dumb Ways to Die by Metro Trains

Dumb Ways to Die is a marketing effort that went global.

It was all based around public safety and was designed to show you things not to do around trains.

Dumb ways to die was a safety campaign video for things not to do around trains.

It featured different characters that a catered towards every one of all ages.

The video is around three minutes long and sings out and shows you the different dumb ways to die, it includes how you can die around trains towards the end.

It builds up the premise that you wouldn’t do dumb things to kill yourself on a day to day basis, so why do dumb things around trains.

The video (at the time of release) racked up 50 million views. The video has since been reuploaded to various YouTube channels and they all have over 1 million views.

On Facebook, it received over 3 million shares and retweeted over 100,000 times on Twitter.

Metro said that is had reached its rail safety aims and that over 40,000 Australians pledged “not to do dumb things around trains”.

Just four months after the launch of the campaign Metro said it had seen a year to year reduction of the number of near misses.

Even though this brand marketing campaign can sound quite sinister, it was implemented in a way that the younger audience (children) would want to watch it and understand it.

The video actually does a good job at making the dumb ways to die message quite light-hearted, whilst maintaining a strong and impactful message.

Before the time of release Metro actually, didn’t have a safety campaign market, just information and various instructions.

There was nothing to influence people’s behaviour around trains.

Various discussions took place and Metro came up with this video and it worked.


KFC has had some award winningideas over the years. This includes KFCs cinema campaign and FCK.

KFC cinema campaign: Chicken Town

KFC – only available at KFC. The cinema campaign (known as Chicken Town) was designed to remind people who love KFC (fried chicken, Kentucky style) that even though there are many places out there that “emulate” Kentucky Fried Chicken, there is only one place to get the original “KFC” recipe. KFC.

This campaign was split into five pieces of tasty film and was inspired by films such as Godzilla.

The five-piece cinema add went as follows:

  1. First was KFC’s brand ad, created by Mother (a creative agency), which sees Colonel Sanders cruising past the familiar range of fried chicken pretenders.
  2. Followed by a “bespoke” series produced by DCM designed to trick the audience into thinking the film had started (Godzilla) by mimicking the look and feel of the feature film before revealing what the series is about.

This was such an effective way to reach out and engage with a target audience that would buy KFC (KFC is also more affordable than the mortgage priced cinema food).


KFC FCK campaign

The KFC FCK campaign originated from the chicken shortage scandal in the UK. It was meant to mean FCK, we’re sorry.

This is because the people at KFC headquarters were thinking “FCK”.

Instead of running around frantically, the marketing team turned to mother and Freuds (KFC’s other creative agency). Because it was nigh on impossible to escape the Chicken shortage scandal.

They came up with a video advert apologising for the chicken shortage. Thye showed you how they rearranged the logo to say FCK then placed it on one of their buckets and went on to say sorry…

This showed the public that they are well aware of the issue and are sorting it out.

What else could they have done?

KFC is competing with many fake restaurants so they need to stay on top of their marketing efforts.

KFC actually have so many ideas for brand marketing campaigns.

Here are some of their recent campaigns:

  • KFC Russia “Value Colonel” by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
    • Promote KFC’s value menu
  • KFC Russia “Bucket hat” by Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam
    • The Colonel gets a new wardrobe upgrade
  • KFC “Twisters” by Mother
    • KFC delivers a twist on lunch and it’s Colonel’s mascot
  • KFC “What the cluck?” by Mother
    • An animated dancing chicken promotional video
  • KFC “Handmade by KFC” by Iris
    • KFC followed the “cross stitch” craze and released a limited edition range of cross-stitch kits

KFC struggle to stick to one campaign, but they are all actually good ideas.

burger king sign

Burger King

Burger King free Whopper wifi
To get more people to visit Burger King, Burger King released easy to access wifi that’s free of charge.

The free wifi was rolled out across the US and it used wireless-ready zones from AT&T to create the wifi hotspots.

These wireless hotpots can be accessed from across 2000 square feet

Burger King Go Whopper or Go Home

To honour Burger King brand’s flame-grilled burger, Burger King restaurants across the UK made the decision to take everything off the menu but the Whopper.

This will take the indecisiveness away from choosing which burger you want.

This was actually the first time in 10 years that Burger King has decided to run a Whopper campaign. It was in an effort to put a spark back into the UK’s love for the Whopper.

To get the campaign known across the UK, there were multiple channels in which the campaign was advertised. There was a Whopper Mandate running on the Metro and Two twenty-second short films that ran on the TV.

There was also a large scale print. The other channels included social media platforms and in-store on menu boards. These menu boards only featured the Whopper.

The middle finger Burger King Advert

Burger King’s middle finger advert was in response to the highway toll booth in New Zealand. This advert ran in 2008. It was later reused and repurposed as a middle finger to the Brussels attackers – the attack happened on Tuesday the 22nd March 2016….

The middle finger campaign is made of fries and the “middle finger” is the longer fry resembling the middle finger.

On the repurpose advert the message said “love the road but hate the $2 toll? Spend ten bucks or more at Burger King in Dairy Flat on SH1 (last food stop before you hit new Northern Gateway) and we’ll take $2 off your purchase. Just show them this add. See, we let nothing get in the way of a great trip North.”

Just like KFC Burger King come up with too many good ideas, they don’t really focus on one campaign.

Some of their other brand marketing campaigns include:

  • The Burn that ad (2019)
    • For the South American market
  • KFG
    • To outrank KFC
  • The Big King
    • Designed to mock McDonald’s

The thing with Burger is that they like to mock their competition. Their campaigns sometimes seem to have an underlying comedic value to them, as we know people like humour in adverts.


McDonalds Directional ads

Directional Ads

McDonald’s went as far as creating directional ads in order to guide you to the closest McDonald’s.

These adverts took place in France and consisted of a minimalist pop colours poster directed motorists to the nearest McDonalds.

This campaign was created by TBWA\Paris. The posters were made up of the recognisable french fried in their container. The fries extended outwards creating the “flow” of direction – could be straight on or a complete u-turn.

If you are driving down the motorway, there’s always that time when you need to pull over for a break. Having these directional ads made it very obvious as to where the nearest Mcdonald’s was, it could possibly save you from your hunger just in time. No pulling over to find the nearest Mcdonald’s.

McDonald's Mobile Ordering Campaign Posters

iPhone Ordering

McDonald’s introduced iPhone ordering in the UK. People were either happy or sad about this.

This iPhone app was free to download and allowed people to order their fast food, fast. Then pick it up when they arrived at their McDonald’s.

At release, the stores that accepted this method of placing an order was limited. Only 22 McDonald’s across London accepted it and was planned to roll out to other locations over the course of 18 months.

This app could have possibly ruined your life, though. It sends out notifications about deals and updates on the cheapest options. It would ruin your healthy diet.

There were even tweets saying “when you get a notification from your McDonald’s app that grand Macs only 3.99 today, while you are at the gym” and, “told myself I’d start eating healthy tomorrow yet I’m sitting here on the McDonald’s app looking at what food to buy”.

One person even called it the devil app.

Campaign for Real Beauty by Dove

The campaign for Real Beauty by Dove makes the expectations of beauty products extremely relatable.

This campaign was launched after a study was carried out called the real truth about beauty. It was a global report.

This revealed that only 2% of women would describe themselves as beautiful.

So, the main message of Dove’s real beauty campaign was – the women’s unique differences should not be hidden, but celebrated. And that physical appearance should not be a source of anxiety but a source of confidence.

This brand marketing campaign took place through different communication channels ranging from TV, social media, magazines and talk shows.

There were mixed messages though, the campaign was either seen as a positive message with the goal of changing women’s attitude towards beauty or just to increase sales.

This campaign was subject to so much criticism that developed from the above statement, and the controversy still remains today.

share a coke
Credit to Coca Cola

Share a Coke by Coca Cola

The Share a Coke campaign by Coca Cola. this campaign allowed customers to try and hunt out their name on Coke containers or to find containers with a personal meaning that they could share with friends or family.

This gave people the thrill of trying to find and seek out their names, rummaging around a shop’s refrigerator. You’d probably even go as far as visiting a different store just to find a one with your name on it.

This is kind of like looking for a keyring with your name on it, you even look at these stands even when you are not planning on buying anything – just to see if your name is even there.

This is because people really like personable things. It was even designed to be shared with others by providing not only your name but different personal meanings.

But this is kind of like Starbuck’s marketing idea of creating a more personalised experience by asking for your first name, then writing your name on the cup and calling you out by your first name when your coffee is ready.

This could have been where Coke got the inspiration from in the first place.

If you couldn’t find your name in store, you could even request a coke can or bottle with your name on it via their website.

This made sure no one was left out. Chances are you will have a name that you will never find on a bottle – we imagine this is a typical thing to happen. “Oh, it would be my name that isn’t on a bottle.”

compare the meerkat
Credit to Compare The Market

Compare the Meerkat by Compare the Market

Compare the Meerkat by Compare the Market has really transformed their business. You probably know who Aleksandr Orlov is, if not – he is the MeerKat used on Compare the Market’s Meerkat campaign. Before you jump to conclusions – he isn’t a real meerkat.

Ever since being viewed on TV, this has become a phenomenon. He managed to capture the hearts of the general public and over 100,000 people even followed him on social media platforms – FaceBook and Twitter.

It was so successful that he even was turned into a cuddly soft toy. The impact this had on adverts has been compared to the Howard Brown campaign on banking – the Halifax dancing advert.

Since the release of the Meerkat, Go Compare’s competitors have changed the way they advertise.

Money Supermarket even made that “you’re so Money Super Market”. This was the ad that had that man in tight shorts and high heels strutting about.

Compare the meerkat is a play on words – a pun. You can use substitute the word market for meerkat and it works really well.

There are now even Meerkat books that have different tales for different meerkats. Yes, different meerkats. It isn’t just Orlov any more

You would get one of these toys for free just by using Compare the Market.

Red Bull Stratos Space Jump with Felix Baumgartner
© Red Bull Media House – Nicole Rötheli / Red Bull Content Pool

Stratos by Red Bull

Stratos by Red Bull was coined as “the mission to the edge of space”. RedBull is known for its involvement in the more extreme sports, so why not have an extreme brand marketing campaign.

Stratos featured Felix Baumgartner. During this stunt, he floated up to the very edge of space (24 miles above the earth) and freefall jumped from this dizzying height.

He actually broke five different records according to the Guinness book of records.

He is actually the first human to break the sound barrier without any external power.

The Vp marketer of RedBull Arun Hozack said this was a natural outgrowth of RedBull’s strategy.

This campaign was not seen as a sales pitch, it was an insane ad stunt. It was all brand.

This makes people view RedBull as the drink for extreme sports or extreme focus (typing on the keyboard all day).

Because this stunt took place at such a dizzying height, you may have asked yourself will he die? This is because Felix was pushing the boundaries and people hadn’t seen anyone jump from such heights.

This campaign actually became the world’s most viewed live steam. This is not only because people say the stunt, but they had the chance to see the earth from 24 miles high.

This earned RedBull over $10 million (around £7,7 million) in media value.

If you are a business that focuses on sports or the more extreme sports or just starting up, take a look at what we can do for you.

13 Scarily Good Brand Marketing Campaigns To Remember

Without a doubt, the brand marketing campaigns we’ve discussed above are some of the most memorable in the world.

Some are older, some as recent as this year. The world of brand marketing is exploding. And the fast-food industry for sure has it down to a tee!

As people get sick of “sales” and move towards “brand”, brand marketing campaigns are only going to get more and more creative.

In this day and age, more people than ever are buying into the brand, company, or ethos, than they are into the product.

People want to buy into companies and brands that they have an affinity with.

Hence, the focus on the delivery of outstanding brand marketing campaigns from some of the biggest companies in the world.

Can you afford to ignore your brand’s marketing? Would you prefer to market more directly for sales? If you need help with any aspect of your brand marketing, get in touch with the team at Canny. We’ve helped businesses from the US to Australia to achieve success, and we can do the same for you.

Hey I'm Tony, Founder and Director of Canny Creative. I eat, sleep and bleed Canny to be honest. I'm an absolute workaholic (and yes, I know that's not a good thing!).

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