Ever since people discovered that you could advertise on paper, there has been print advertising. Here are ten of the most famous print advertisements and campaigns.

1. Care will prevent 9 out of 10 forest fires [U.S. Forest Service, 1944]

In 1944, there were not enough able-bodied men available to eliminate forest fires. They were fighting in the war. The Ad council decided to launch a campaign to make people more aware of forest fire prevention. The bear is known by at least 70% of all American citizens. During the course of the ‘only you’ campaign, Smokey Bear has been seen with celebrities, organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and has been featured in cartoons, live action shows, and print ads.

2. The Absolut Bottle [Absolut Vodka, 1981]

The first of the successful print ads, Absolut Perfection, came to Geoff Hayes in the bathtub. Over 1500 advertisements have been created for the company, using over 300 artists from all fields. The company’s popularity has soared since the first advertisement, it is now the third best-selling liquor in the world behind Bacardi and Smirnoff.

3. We Try Harder [Avis, 1963]

This idea was not a gimmick, it was the company’s business philosophy. In 1962, Hertz was undeniably at the top position in the car rental market. This print ad campaign was a simple response to the question on the minds of consumers everywhere: ‘Why should anybody ever rent a car from you?’

4. Think Small [Volkswagen, 1959]

This advertising campaign has been credited with changing the way that individuals thought about advertising. At the time, Volkswagen was not the prettiest or the largest car. The advertisement was minimalist and highly effective. In that campaign, the advantages of great gas mileage, low oil intake and the ability to park anywhere were mentioned. People became aware of the Volkswagen design, making sales skyrocket.

5. Just do it [Nike, 1980]

Like many advertising campaigns, the Just do it was based around a simple idea. The hip and trendy, no-holds barred approach worked very well to help Nike compete with Reebok. These advertisements used celebrities from all sports venues to advertise its sports apparel. Today, Nike sponsors many world football teams like Manchester United, FC Barcelona and Arsenal.

6. The Marlboro Man [Marlboro, 1955]

Marlboro transformed cigarette advertising forever by associating a tough, rugged cowboy with cigarettes. This series inspired Marlboro Country, encouraging people to consider the pleasures of life. Philip Morris experienced a sales growth from $5 billion to $20 billion in the course of a few years.

7. Calvin Klein Jeans [Calvin Klein, 1980]

The clothing designer is known for pushing the envelope with its controversial print and television ads. Brooke Shields, a teenage icon, used sex and sensuality to sell the jeans. Marky Mark came on board to be a print ad spokesman for the Calvin Klein underwear.

8. The Rolls Royce Silver Cloud [Rolls Royce, 1958]

The Rolls Royce ad is an example of classic and compelling copywriting. It boldly speaks to consumers who are searching for a better car. The ad creator went for a believable concept, one that instilled trust within the readers. This advertisement proved to advertising executives that trust and believability sell products.

9. Macintosh [Apple, 1983]

In December 1983, Apple launched its advertising campaign with a Macintosh Introduction. In November 1984, Apple bought all of the advertisement available in Newsweek for a post-election campaign. Apple has always been very focused on its advertising, purchasing space in major magazines for each of its products. It is difficult to focus on merely one advertising campaign that Apple has run, as most of them have become famous.

10. Got Milk? [California Milk Processor Board, 1993]

This ingenious advertising campaign inspired people the world over to drink milk. It was supported by fashion models, style icons, and celebrities, each sporting the iconic milk mustache.

Print advertisement has played a major part in the shaping of societies throughout the world. What are going to be the products of tomorrow?

James Adams compares ink supplies for Cartridge Save. He contributes posts regularly to blogs around the web about business, design and technology.

Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones

Founder/Chief Marketing Consultant at Six Stories
Kelsey Jones helps clients around the world grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence. She enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.
Kelsey Jones
Kelsey Jones