16 Ads That Changed The Way You Think

Keep Calm And Carry On

Photo: Public Domain

There are good ads, and then there are ads that change the world. Many ads change a brand, few change society or its culture.Some were highly successful, Such as Benetton’s HIV campaign in the early 1990s which humanized people with AIDS.

Others went largely unnoticed at the time, but entered the vernacular decades later (“Keep Calm and Carry On”).

They all have one thing in common — they changed the way we think.

Lord Kitchener Wants You (1914). This British WWI recruiting poster spawned a lot of famous recruitment posters.

The 'Lord Kitchener Wants You' poster debuted in England in 1914 at the start of World War I. It made its first appearance on the cover of the London Opinion and resulted in massive recruitment success. Its most notable legacy went beyond WWI as it would inspire a handful of other notable campaigns.

Uncle Sam Wants You (1917). Inspired by Kitchener, James Montgomery Flagg's work is now the iconic image of Uncle Sam.

Often a Bridesmaid, But Never A Bride (1924). This popular saying is only popular because of a Listerine campaign.

Keep Calm and Carry On (1939). Created by the British government to be distributed in the event of a Nazi invasion, it was never actually displayed at the time. It became newly popular during the 2008 recession.

A Diamond Is Forever (1947). De Beers' corporate-to-culture slogan redefined the meaning of engagement. It inspired a James Bond film, Shirley Bassey and Kanye West, among others.

Give Yourself a Coffee-Break (1952). People took time for coffee long before this, but the Pan American Coffee Bureau named it.

Think Small (1959). VW launched the modern advertising look we know today -- abandoning text-heavy schmaltz in favour of cool visuals. It is consistently ranked as the top ad of all time.

Daisy (1964). Negative political advertising existed before this, but LBJ's presidential ad legitimized its effectiveness.

Heed Their Rising Voices (1960). Litigation over this ad ended four years later, when the Supreme Court decided New York Times v. Sullivan and established a standard for defamation that protected the free press.

Labour Isn't Working (1978). The ad propelled Margaret Thatcher to victory as the first female U.K prime minister, and set the stage for her partnership with President Reagan in the 1980s.

Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk (1983). Before this ad it was actually acceptable to down a few drinks and get behind the wheel.

Joe Camel (1987). Joe Camel, and his cartoonish appeal to young people, forced Big Tobacco to accept an historic 1998 agreement banning most forms of cigarette advertising. He's why hardly anyone smokes anymore.

Benetton's Pieta (1992). HIV patients were shunned until Benetton published this photo of David Kirby lying on his deathbed surrounded by his weeping family.

Hello Boys (1994). You can dispute its taste, but Wonderbra permanently changed the clothed female silhouette through the early 21st Century.

Think Different (1997). Before the web was universal, computers were associated with geeks and number-crunchers. Thanks to Apple, we regard them as tools that make us more creative.

American Apparel's ads didn't change the world ...

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