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Customer Experience

Marketing in Action: 4 Examples of Innovative Advertisements

By Akhila Sriram on December 4, 2021

Here at OSG, we’re in the business of understanding customers and how they make decisions. One powerful factor in customer decision-making is how advertisements reach them and resonate with them. Many companies invest thousands or even millions of dollars in their advertising campaigns, in the hopes that their strategy and designs stick with customers and convince them to consider, research, and purchase their products and services. As a great case study, advertising through the Super Bowl has changed drastically over time and the stats and prices for these ads are astronomical. From the fact that the most expensive Super Bowl commercial costed $16.8 MILLION to the fact that this amount was spent by both Google AND Amazon to create ads for their competing virtual assistants to play during the 2020 Super Bowl just blows the minds of the average consumer.

Here are some knockout examples of advertisers understanding how customers have connected to their advertisements over time and using that to their advantage.

Domino’s Pizza: Campaign for Supporting Local Businesses

During the course of the pandemic, local businesses have been hit hard by low foot traffic, customer health concerns, and health lockdowns reducing the amount of business they’re getting. Domino’s Pizza released an advertisement saying that their teams were visiting local businesses and buying gift cards to those businesses and then giving them away to Domino’s Pizza customers for free. This is a portion of their overarching campaign focused on Domino’s providing “frees” rather than fees to their customers. But this heart-warming take on their overall marketing campaign helped paint their business in a more caring and positive light, rather than the “frees” ad which featured a Paul Revere re-enactor riding down the street on a horse carrying delivery food.

This campaign from Domino not only promoted their own business in a positive light, but shed light on supporting local businesses, helping drive customers to both for their pizza and other shopping needs. I, for one, am curious to see how their business performance pans out against the cost of buying all of their gift cards, but I believe the advertisement and message will pay for itself in the long run. Customers will make Domino’s purchases in the hopes of getting a local business gift card, and the delighted ones who get gift cards will probably make repeat purchases while also using their newly earned local gift card.

Coca-Cola: Connecting to the Polar Bear Family

Not many people are still alive today who have experienced all of Coca Cola’s polar-bear-themed advertisements. The first polar bear print advertisement appeared in France in 1922, and over the past near century, the growing family of polar bears and other animal characters have made appearances in all sorts of marketing. These polar bears ads, from drawings to animations, have featured the adorable frosty bears enjoying an equally frosty refreshment over the years, building a powerful brand association between the bears and the soda brand. Now, the polar bear ads have become less prominent, except during the winter holiday season, but watching the further evolving adventures of the polar bears still brings joy to all hearts, young and old alike, giving the brand a continued positive association with their popular marketing tactic.

Lunesta: Mental Associations in Pharma Ads

In the world of pharmaceutical products, many companies rely on tropes of positivity and good health to push patients and physicians alike towards their products. Consumers could probably call to mind some of the main tropes that pharma companies use to project the idea of health and efficacy for their products: the overall storyline of going from suffering to excellent health, the use of sports or physical activity to demonstrate that excellent health, actors being alone when they’re suffering and being around loved ones when they’re in better health, and the ever-strange side-by-side bath tubs of certain prescription advertisements.

One powerful pharma advertising association is that of a company with a motif or logo that stands out. One such example is the Lunesta butterfly. Lunesta is a medication for treating insomnia and related sleep issues. Their advertising, for time immemorial, has been the association of a green bioluminescent butterfly slowly drifting through the air, alighting on someone’s pillow or their furrowed brow, and easing them into a calm sleep. Then, suddenly, the ad changed. In a stunning move towards minimalism, Lunesta’s company Sunovion launched an advertisement where the butterfly passes across an otherwise black background a couple of times. On the final pass, the butterfly reveals the website URL “” which takes you to a PDF document hosted on the Lunesta website of Lunesta’s effects and warning documentation.

This simple and stark advertisement shows how advertisements slowly leach into the human consciousness, creating associations based on visual and audial cues to bring together the customer and the brand. Suddenly, all a pharma company needs in their advertisement is an animated butterfly to make their brand association clear. No horseback riding, no ballpark game, no calmly sleeping person, no bathtubs, just a butterfly to trigger than mental association.

Doughp Edible Cookie Dough: Quirky Social Media Marketing

In the most recent example of impactful advertisement, edible cookie dough is making ripples in the world of social media advertising. The brand Doughp may be familiar to fans of the TV show “Shark Tank” where they did not end up getting a deal with any of the famous sharks. But during the pandemic, innovative online shopping has taken a turn for the better, which applies to Doughp which has seen a boost in sales during the pandemic, when other businesses have not fared as well.

But then they did something odd for Black Friday. In a move that looks like it would be what a social media influencer or celebrity posts when they want to make a meaningful and personal statement on the Internet, Doughp used a screenshot of the iPhone Notes app as their social media advertisement visual. The screenshot states that “the person who handles our ads quit unexpectedly last week. So here I am in full entrepreneur-mode…I’m running the ads now [exploding brain emoji] Hope this works.” Commenters on the linked Reddit thread talk about whether it was a gimmick or wonder what caused that employee to leave at such a crucial time for businesses. Commenters on the social media ads claim that the ad is eye-catching and refreshing in the general flood of advertising from businesses. We may never know how that advertising strategy paid off, whether it was a strategy or not, but it stuck with potential or current customers for varying reasons.