Aug 11, 2021

47 Best Creative Advertising Ideas That Actually Work

Creative advertising works, but why? In this article we analyze why creative ad campaigns increase sales and become memorable.

Is it just me, or has the advertising world become an absolute madhouse? Every Tom, Dick, and Sally with a product, service, or online course is suddenly tacking “marketing manager” onto their responsibilities. Hats off to you, the entrepreneur, fighting tooth and claw for every click, subscription, and sale!

Depending on your market niche or company persona, you may prosper from straight forward, benefits and features, unique selling point (USP) marketing strategy. But if your customer base has a sense of humor or imagination, you probably need to bone up on creative advertising techniques.

Due to a lack of systematic testing, there’s no data directly linking creative advertising to realized sales and revenue; however, studies do show that creative marketing is memorable, long-lasting, and generates a positive fan base.

A German study, conducted over 5 years, tested creative advertising’s impactfulness across a variety of highly advertised products, in very competitive markets. It concluded that creative advertising is considerably more effective than Plane Jane ads.

The study broke creativity into different elements and measured the impactfulness of each. Elaboration, artistic value, and originality topped the list, respectfully. Ads that combined elaboration and originally showed the most potential, nearly doubling their sales impact.

Harnessing these creativity techniques for your brand could be the difference between marketing success or failure. To save valuable time, we’ve compiled a list of 47 creative advertising examples, with notes on how their creative elements catch consumers and impact sales. Read on and take notes.


1 - Hulk Needs Band-Aid!

With the success of all things Marvel world, this striking, simple ad plays to both current culture and childhood nostalgia. The artistic quality and mostly monochromatic color scheme keep the ad visually simple. It playfully entices the audience to fill in the narrative of how the mighty Hulk ended up with a boo-boo.

2 - JBL Block Out The Caos📷

Which do you see first? The screaming politicians or the headphones created by the use of negative space? The strong contrast of emotions, current political acknowledgment, and creative 3D art earns a smirk from any customer, no matter their party affiliation.

3 - VW Solves A Prickly Situation 📷

If you can work cute animals into your advertising - do it. Of the thousands of car ads in existence, this is the only one involving goldfish and a porcupine. It’s creative, original, and the image portrays the feature, without words.

4 - Do uRun With iPod Shuffle? 📷

By incorporating their product into the recognizable image of a runner’s route, Apple seamlessly relates one to the other. Working a product image into an existing one is a great play at creative advertising. We’ve included multiple examples on this list.


5 - Mastercard Birdies with Creative Femininity

Mastercard lands a hole in one, with their ad by MAClaren McCann. The creative integration of a golf tee and ball texture into a woman’s pump speaks volumes to their targeted female audience.

6 - Colgate Plants Their Seed📷

Y&R’s ad for Colgate floss hits home with anyone (i.e. everyone), who has ever spent 20 minutes trying to pick a seed out from between their teeth before returning to public. Here, they creatively reference the common situation, in an original, artistic manner.

7 - Frontline Wins At Ad Placement📷

Granted, the concept for this ad’s presentation is very targeted. We still give Frontline mad props for this living ad. Considering exactly how your audience will view your ad can lend itself to some serious creativity in delivery.

8 - 📷 Rolling Stone, Made of Rock

Italian designer, DLV BBDO, created this striking image and the moody tagline for Rolling Stone magazine. The hardcore image speaks right to the heart of a true rock n’ roller. The art here is so detailed, you feel as though you could reach out and touch the metal.

9 - 📷 Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Shock Value

Not all creative ads are bright and cheerful. Created by Ogilvy, this image of a fish, assuming the shape of the garbage polluting its habitat, is meant to spark emotion. The copy reminds readers to consider the extended effects of ocean pollution on us land-lovers.

10 - Not So Basic Barilla📷

Spaghetti is pretty basic but Barilla does a great job of getting their brand in front of audiences in a charming manner. Even 5-star chefs have never presented their pasta as a firework before.

11 - Asics Take Over LA📷

Asics does a phenomenal job of incorporating pop culture and location into an image. Created by VITRO, the shoe depicts quintessential LA landmarks. The personalization of the ad for the 2015 LA Marathon, connects with the local market.

12 - Mylanta Breaks Wind 📷

Humor is a gold mine. People remember things that make them laugh. They also talk about it with their friends. This ad for Mylanta is funny and relatable - both are elements of effective advertising.

13 - 📷 Creative Billboards Are A “Thing”

Popular TV series, Law and Order, markets to the contained audience of traffic. The placement of the lighting and the extension of the man’s arm holding the light are both original and interesting.

14 - Creative Two-For-One📷

Street art is so hot right now. Trendy neighborhoods of major cities are allowing local artists to express themselves on buildings, bridges, sidewalks, and more. Hypermodern, creative marketing, like the rock climbing camp ad pictured here, doubles down on its marketing spend. The audience reposts images of their ad to Facebook and Instagram for them - for free.

15 - Reynold’s Kitchens InstaGrid

Speaking of Instagram, it’s PRIME space for advertising these days. Strategically posting photos and videos, to create an overall photo grid, as Reynold’s Kitchens does here, is Insta-advertising on steroids. To get the most out of it, ensure each individual post is of stand-alone quality.📷

16 - Abstract Images Are Memorable 📷

Somewhat abstract, Scrabble relies on pure artistic talent to showcase an element of their game’s scoring strategy. Earning considerably more points, the “goldfish” is mightier than the “shark.” Get it?

Lego also engages in abstract imagery. Do you recognize these iconic TV characters?

17 - 📷 Android’s Better Together Videos

Google Android effectively utilizes the warm and fuzzies to pull on the audience’s heart. Once again, people love animals. They also love videos. Video marketing is your friend, so get with the program.

18 - Run, For Your Life

Keeping on the video advertising train, Reebok conquers the marketing world with this addictive ad showcasing a fresh perspective of running. Without a single word spoken, the video connects with viewers in a way photo ads simply cannot.

19 - 📷 Suck On This

Working advertising into new plateaus, JWT Hong Kong created a lid for use by food carts. This public initiative to reduce litter is literally in your face. Now that’s what I call a walking advertisement!

20 - 📷 Choose Your Jeep Adventure

The topsy-turvy world of Jeep artistically illustrates the brands ‘go anywhere and see everything’ attitude. Leo Burnett France created a series of playful, invertible animal ads for the campaign.

21 - IKEA Gets Weirdly Creative 📷

However strange a concept, Ikea’s print ad/ pregnancy test/ coupon is about as creative as it gets. A woman is meant to urinate on the strip at the bottom. If it tests positive for pregnancy, she gets 50% off a crib, making this ad by Akestam Holst and Mercene Labs a real panty-dropper.

22 - Sharp Ad Work By Sharpie📷

Brazillian agency FCB produced this comic styled ad, showcasing the benefits and features of Sharpie’s new dual-tip markers. The art style is interesting and keeps the audience’s attention combing over the differences in image details.

23 - 📷 Play-Doh Showcases Texture

Play-Doh is the essence of creativity. The same can be said for this texture-driven ad. For a brand that needs no introduction or elaboration, this beautifully artistic ad, by DDB Advertising, portrays the spirit of Play-Doh flawlessly.

24 - ECOvia Knocks It Out

📷 📷

The visual portrayal of violence in this ECOvia ad creates shock value. It’s a very creative adaptation of the pain and violent nature of a car crash. Well done, Terremoto Propaganda, for their work on this campaign.

25 - The Truth Hurts📷

Here’s another example of shock value. In your face, hard truths of situations invoke strong emotion, tying the audience to a cause or problem. Agency Memac Ogilvy, Riyadh, of Saudi Arabia, makes sure you won’t forget their King Khalib Foundation ad.

26 - Moms Demand Action📷 📷

Contrasting the previous two, this shock value ad uses a more well-rounded image. The stare of the children’s eyes is piercing, the position of the gun unsettling, and the ad highly effective at getting the point across.

27 - Playboy Lets It All Hang Out📷

Whether you like it or not, sex sells. Neogama Agency’s ad for Playboy combines sex, humor, and innuendo to earn a chuckle from their audience - even with a complete lack of artistic quality.

28 - Manix Lube Takes It All In 📷

Admittedly, it took a minute to catch on to what this ad, by Bddp & Fils, for Manix lube, is alluding to. Ten points for originality and innuendo. I’m not sure how I feel about it, but I’ll never forget it.


29 - Durex Hits Creative Advertising On The Head

These ads, by The Jupiter Drawing Room, were too good not to include both. They seamlessly, and shamelessly, combine sex, humor, and innuendo.

30 - Gifs Earn Bonus Points

Marie Claire uses Gifs on their Twitter account to attract attention to new products. Gifs and short video clips are highly effective in advertising and have immensely evolved over the last 5 years.

31 - Nasa’s Advertising is Out Of This World

The movement of gifs and videos catch the eye of browsers, prompting them to read the attached caption. Nasa uses this technique on their Twitter feed, but it works well across all social media platforms.

32 - Nivea For Men📷 📷 📷

This trio of ads, by Jung von Matt/Alster, for Nivea face moisturizer, creatively captures elements of a man’s life which cause wrinkles. The idea is original and the artistic value is on point.

33 - Sweet Ad Video

This adorable video, by McVitie’s, connects with our humanity. The animation style also contributes to the overall soft tone of the ad. Audiences will project their positive response to the ad onto the British cookie company.

34 - Hendrix Hoodwinks

The transition between jerking and smooth movements of this Hendrix Gin ad captivates the eye. The artistic style is interesting and they boldly discern Hendrix as unloved by the masses; therefore, creating a feeling of exclusivity.

35 - What Did I Just Watch?

How many retro action figures, stop action, dance mob, video ads have you seen lately? Exactly. MoneySupermarket knocks creativity, originality, humor, and nostalgia out of the park - in a single ad.

36 - Cadbury Scream Eggs

Again, this is why video advertising is king. Cadbury works its iconic product into the crazy popular zombie theme. The same entertainment value would not be possible in a print ad.

37 - Cancer Elaboration

New York-Presbyterian Hospital provides an excellent example of elaboration in this video. The animation and basic, high-contrast color scheme focus on understanding the complex message. It won the Clio Health Awards for Short Form Film and the Animated Film Technique Award.

38 - FedEx Bridges The Gap


This FedEx ad, by BBD Brazil, breaks down the logistics of global shipping, into a simple image. It effectively focuses on the people at both ends of a package’s delivery and how FedEx bridges the distance between them.

39 - Plant For The Planet📷

A familiar object, portrayed in a new light, is an easy creative upgrade. Leagas Delaney did a great job illustrating the relationship between plants and CO2 emissions. It’s simple, artistic, and relatable.

40 - McDonald’s Free Wi-Fry📷

If an ad this simple is good enough for McDonald’s, you know it’s been tested to work. A wifi signal, constructed of uncommon elements, is just another example of recreating highly recognizable images in a creative way. DDB Australia made bank on those four french fries!

Creative Advertising Can Be Easier Than It Looks

We hope these examples have helped you appreciate creative marketing, identify multiple creative elements, and have inspired you to try it yourself. Focus your next ad on creating a memorable experience, differentiating your brand from the competition.

Print ads are still highly revered but can be expensive to create and run. Video ads, on the other hand, are skyrocketing in popularity and are made quick, easy, and affordable by platforms like Motionden.

If you can spend 5 minutes and a couple of bucks on creating a customized video, keeping your brand front and center, would you even think twice about it? Remember, the stronger the visual appeal, the more effective an ad is at earning you that coveted “click”. Check out an entire library of curated video ad templates and double down on your creative advertising game, today.

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