Do you ever feel today’s advertisements tend to focus more on tactics vs. the ads themselves?

Without the “distractions” of technology setups, advertisements from the mad men era pay greater attention to strategies and copies, given that’s all they have to compete with. I found myself learning more by studying these older ads. So here are 15 of the most-iconic mad-men-era ads, for your inspiration.


7 Up made an impression by positioning itself relative to an established brand.

7 Up's Uncola Campaign
7 Up's Uncola Campaign

The first ad David Ogilvy wrote at his own agency. You can actually request a free reprint of this advertisement as home decor.

Guinness Guide to Oysters by Ogilvy
Guinness Guide to Oysters by Ogilvy

The headline is a statement Ogilvy came across from reading everything about the Rolls-Royce car for 3 weeks. How to produce advertising that sells? Study your products.

Rolls-Royce Ogilvy Ad
Rolls-Royce Ad by Ogilvy

Doyle Dane Bernbach positioned Beetle as a non-conformist, something opposite to what’s commonly in prospects’ minds about cars.

Volkswagen "Think Small" ad by DDB
Volkswagen "Think Small" ad by DDB

Headline with news (new products, improvement of old products, new ways of using products) makes bigger impressions.

Campbell's Soup On the Rocks Ad
Campbell's Soup On the Rocks Ad

The most important factor in successful travel advertisement is the subject in the ad, they need to be unique and differentiated for people from other countries to make the trip to experience.

Jamaica Travel Ad by DDB
Jamaica Travel Ad by DDB

Reshape a corporate image by making the ad less self-serving.

Sears' Ad by Ogilvy
Sears' Ad by Ogilvy

One of the most well-known ad that made Avis known, and Hertz miserable (the No.1).

Avis' Ad Against Hertz by DDB
Avis' Ad Against Hertz by DDB

Dove was positioned as soap for women with dry skins, hence the famous line "Dove creams your skin while you bathe".

Dove Bar Ad by Ogilvy
Dove Bar Ad by Ogilvy

Instead of the common promise that 'Rinso washes whiter", Ogilvy created this Rinso ad showing how to get rid of different types of stains, much more helpful to customers compared to the former strategy.

Rinso's How to Take Out Stains Ad by Ogilvy
Rinso's How to Take Out Stains Ad by Ogilvy

The origin of the give, give, take approach. Ogilvy created a series of ads to promote his agency by showing they know more about advertising. In his words, "my ads not only promised useful information, they provided it".

How to Make Your Ads more Profitable by Ogilvy
How to Make Your Ads more Profitable by Ogilvy

Many B2B companies can use this iconic ad as a template.

Ogilvy built Schweppe' brand image by using the founder of the company as the symbol consistently for 18 years.

The Man From Schweppes is Here by Ogilvy
The Man From Schweppes is Here by Ogilvy

One of the best print ads by Raymond Rubicam.

Life Safer's Do not Lick This Page Ad by Raymond Rubicam
Life Safer's Do not Lick This Page Ad by Raymond Rubicam

The man with the eyepatch for Hathaway shirts is an ad that made Ogilvy famous. The simple addition of the eyepatch elevated the ad from generic to eye-catching.


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