The history of Adland has many faces. Each iconic campaign and ad had its own effect on the industry. Aside from my in-depth article about advertising to the LGBTQ+ community (entitled Commercialise the Rainbow), here are two smaller articles about iconic campaigns.
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Image By: Theo Nicholas
Written By: Neva Lilljequist, Theo Nicholas and Becca Nason. 

The line was “For Mash get Smash”, but the Smash Martians quickly overshadowed the potato product.

Smash was an instant mashed potato in a sachet released in the 1960s by Cadbury’s, primarily a chocolate manufacturer. The product was reasonably successful at launch but didn't gain nationwide popularity until the Cadbury’s Smash Martians campaign.

The Smash Martians was a TV advertising campaign that ran from the 70s until the early 80s. It was a group of Martians that looked down on the “Earth People” to mock their way of cooking mashed potatoes. They laugh about all the steps we go through to make mashed potatoes when we could simply use Smash for instant mash. Along with the iconic “For Mash Get Smash” tagline, it was voted the best campaign not only by industry professionals but also by a nationwide poll. The ad revolutionised the pre-packaged food advertising industry, opening it up to being more fun and innovative. 

The campaign had a lot of success mainly due to the space-age era within food and tv. The Martians were voiced by Peter Hawkins who also voiced the Daleks and Cybermen from the ever-popular Dr Who. When filming the puppets laughing, one fell by mistake, which was eventually kept in the final cut and became one of the most popular moments from the ads. Despite its cult following and initial success, the product didn’t live up to expectation and the campaign soon started to overshadow it. People started to recognise the characters as individuals, rather than representatives of the brand. This only goes to prove that no matter how good the campaign is, if the product is no good then it will only go so far - a lesson for all brand managers. 

Today, the product has been sold to a different company, has found its own success and three of the Martian puppets can be found in a museum. The campaign still remains incredibly popular with those who experienced it first-hand. However, the original product recognition, especially that created from this campaign, has largely been lost. 
Image By: Theo Nicholas
Written By: Theo Nicholas

In 1981 a seemingly simple campaign entitled the “Absolut Bottle” was launched by TBWA. It was a bottle of Absolut Vodka with a halo above it and the copy “Absolut Perfection”. The concept went against everything research was telling the brand to do at the time: change the name, the bottle, and the logo. Instead, they embraced them and created what is still known as one of the best advertising campaigns in history. 

Throughout the years there have been over 1,500 variations of this campaign, all including the bottle and the “Absolut _” idea. Each piece was easily targeted towards different areas and markets, with duty-free versions in airports and their highly successful location designs. They combined their global ads with their localised ads to connect with the customer directly. These targeted connections gave the customer a sense of humanity and personality from the brand so when it came time to choose what they were going to buy, they had only one name on their mind. 

The brand even caught the attention of popular artists such as Andy Warhol and Keith Haring, who produced ads that featured the same bottle as the others but in their own signature style. Today it is still inspiring enough that unauthorised parodies of their ads are being produced, such as one entitled “Absolut Impotence.” illustrating the danger of over drinking. 

Today to recreate this campaign would be tricky. Although it does have “unlimited” potential, in reality it would get repetitive and boring. You don’t want to repeat words, locations or designs and there is only so much you can do with a single vodka bottle. 

The campaign ran for 25 years, 1,500 ads and major market success. In America, Absolut Vodka went from only selling 10,000 cases in 1980 to 4.5 million by 2000 and became the #1global vodka brand with a 50% market share. Images of the campaign can be bought in a book, which became a New York Times Bestseller and sold over 300,000 copies. Safe to say, their campaign has left its mark on the advertising industry and has gone on to prove that simplicity in the concept is key for long running, successful campaigns. 
🔥 Go checkout my amazing "For Smash Get Mash" co-authors on instagram: 🔥
👽 Neva (@neva.lilljequist) 🥔
👽 Becca (@beccas_creative_) 🥔
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