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Brand Identity Amplified: A Study of Successful Poster Marketing

Poster campaigns have the power to turn streets into galleries of visual storytelling, encapsulating the essence of a brand in a single striking image. Let’s delve into three of the most iconic poster marketing campaigns that set the standard for OOH (out-of-home) advertising and left indelible marks on the canvas of public consciousness.

1. Apple’s “Think Different”

Redefining Normal

Back in 1997, Apple dared to celebrate the rebels, the visionaries, and the misfits, with an iconic series of posters that urged us to “Think Different.” Featuring influential figures like Albert Einstein and Martin Luther King Jr., this campaign was more than Apple’s comeback—it was a cultural manifesto. The minimalist visuals paired with profound quotes turned heads, stirred hearts, and made consumers not just want to buy Apple products, but to join a movement that celebrated individuality. It was credited as saving Apple at a time when they were struggling.

Legacy of Innovation
Decades later, “Think Different” endures not only as an emblem of Apple’s enduring brand narrative but also as a philosophy that has shaped countless industries and inspired a legion of loyal customers. This campaign leveraged the pull of storytelling to create an identity so strong that it transcended mere product promotion.

The exact text of the ad:

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

2. Nike’s “Just Do It”

The Art of the Motivation

In 1988, three simple words heralded a paradigm shift in the world of sports advertising: “Just Do It.” This powerful credo, part challenge, part anthem, became the backbone of Nike’s brand identity. The corresponding poster campaign, featuring athletes in moments of sheer determination against stark backgrounds, conveyed an emotional punch that directly linked the brand to the human spirit of resilience and aspiration.

The Persevering Swoosh
Nike not only captured the hero’s journey in a single frame but also became an integral part of it. The “Just Do It” posters, with their captivating images and succinct messaging, marked a triumph in OOH marketing, blending the spirit of sports with a universally relatable call to action.

3. Absolut Vodka’s Bottle Campaigns

Shaping Perceptions
Absolut Vodka’s marketing in the 1980s was a masterclass in whimsical imagination. By putting its distinct bottle shape center stage and surrounding it with a panoply of creative contexts, Absolut effectively used posters to showcase its product without blatant product placement. The series drew attention not only to the vodka’s purity and clarity but also to the brand’s capacity for wit and whimsy.

The Art of Selling an Experience
The Absolut campaigns didn’t just sell a spirit; they sold a lifestyle—of playfulness, experiential art, and the joyful detours from the mundane. The posters became collectibles, with each new ad a conversation starter and a piece of art.

The power of these iconic poster campaigns lies in their ability to embody and amplify the core identities of the brands they represent. From Apple’s cult of innovation to Nike’s championing spirit and Absolut’s alliance with the avant-garde, these campaigns stand as triumphant examples of how a well-crafted image, when paired with a clear and resonant message, can etch brand identities into the public consciousness for years to come. Their success is a testament to the enduring relevance and impact of poster marketing when it is driven by innovative storytelling and authentic connection-building.

Jonathon Syke

Jon is a content editor & writer at Printing Digital. He shares his insights and knowledge on OOH, marketing & printing.