The best ad campaigns are those that sneak up on you when you least expect them. They surprise and delight you, but also motivate you to buy or take action.

If you want to make a splash for your company, don’t ignore a smart, strategic ad campaign that influences the market with your message. In today’s world, where people get their information from a variety of sources, you’ve got to be where they are, which is to say you need to be everywhere–on the road, in the newspaper, on the Internet, on TV and on the radio.

Not only that, but you need to be there with a message that’s quick, concise and compelling, which is why large-scale ad campaign provide the perfect avenue for you to reach the right people at the right time. It may sound overwhelming but don’t worry, but it’s not. As long as you have the right strategies. There’s a number of great ad campaigns that were highly effective from which you can learn.

Forrest Gump

In 1994, billboards and bus benches clad with one simple message began appearing in across Arizona. The message: “Gump Happens.” For weeks, the meaning of the ubiquitous advertising campaign remained a mystery until finally Paramount Pictures let everyone in on the secret. “Gump,” it turned out, referred to Forrest Gump, the lead character in an upcoming movie of the same name.

By the time “Forrest Gump” premiered, its brand had been carved into the public’s consciousness. Even before trailers began running on local television, people were familiar with the film. It was a success, grossing more than $300 million in the United States.

The lesson:
Large-scale advertising campaigns work best when they are clever. Surprise and delight audiences, and they will reward you with their attention.


Target has become the master of optimizing their ads for the Internet. Using web analytics, they’re advertising team tracks what people search for on the Internet. That data is then used to “serve” people ads that address their specific interests, regardless of what Website they’re visiting. Whether a consumer is visiting a newspaper’s website, reading an industry blog or communicating with their friends via social media, Target’s ad are front and center. It’s an advertising tactic that is targeted, precise and effective.

Target’s not the only company doing this. Law schools, car dealerships, movie theaters, restaurants and nearly every other company that advertises does it too.

One of the advantages of web ad optimization is that it works for both companies and consumers, who report preferring targeted, data-driven online advertising over randomized ads.

The lesson:
Know your audience and deliver the right message at the right time.

Oreo Ads in Newspapers

While it is true that newspaper readership is declining, it’s also true that the people still reading newspapers are valuable consumers. They tend to be well-educated people with good jobs, steady incomes and kids. They are discerning consumers who make decisions based on facts and figures–and they pay attention to newspaper advertising.

All of this might explain why, in 2010, Nabisco launched a nationwide ad campaign to support Oreos. The ads from Matthew Galumbeck, MD were printed in color, had a message that appealed to today’s health-conscious consumers and delivered a clear, concise message that was visually pleasing.

Not only did the campaign help cement Oreo as one of America’s favorite cookies, it delivered results, winning an award from the advertising agency for being one of the 10 most effective ads of the year.

The lesson:
Incorporate newspapers into your large-scale advertising campaign to ensure you’re reaching thought-leaders, people with disposable income and families.

These are just three examples of effective large-scale advertising campaigns. In today’s world, where consumers have access to more information than ever–and the information is coming from more sources than ever–combining the lessons from each of three examples with other large-scale advertising tactics can help ensure that you’re reaching the right people at the right time with the right message. Speaking of ads, checkout health blogs from

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