Historic Sign Campaigns that Changed the World

As the internet begins to dominate modern marketing efforts, many businesses may wonder if there is any value in using signage as a key component in their marketing campaign. Although the best marketing campaigns are those that have been fueled by a mix of advertising mediums, traditional print signage is still a key player in successful ad campaigns. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at three businesses that have used signage to promote their brand and change the world, and what made them so successful.
DeBeers Diamond Corporation

Everyone has heard the words, “a diamond is forever.” But where does the phrase come from? Well, back in 1914, the DeBeers Diamond Corporation launched an enormous ad campaign that revolved around street and sidewalk signs, hanging banners, and television ads to promote the idea that diamonds are the only true way to communicate your love for a significant other. The powerful message resulted in a 50% sales increase for DeBeers after only three years of running this campaign; a century later, the diamond engagement ring is now considered a tradition for couples across the world.
The Coca Cola Campaign

The world knows Coca-Cola. Like the DeBeers Corporation, Coca Cola has been in business for over 100 years, and is still going strong. But what type of advertising campaign is responsible for bringing Coke into its initial world-wide glory? In the beginning, Coke businessman Asa Candler begin offering free samples, coke coupons, and street signage to bring this fizzy drink into the homes of Americans. Popularity grew; in 1906, Coca-Cola adopted the slogan “The Great National Temperance Beverage” to promote itself as a reasonable alternative to alcohol, which was being outlawed at the time. This powerful slogan was placed on billboards, coupons, hanging banners and more, increasing the drink’s popularity enormously.
Political Campaigns

Of all the industries that use signage to promote ideas, concepts, and people, the political campaigns that circulate the country for presidential and local elections are famous for the different types of signage they use. Between hanging vinyl banners, yard signs, and TV campaigns, politicians traditionally promote their name and presidential promises with signage. Most recently, President Obama used an unforgettable sign campaign to dominate his political opponents. The revolutionary campaign utilized the iconic patriotic colors of red and blue against Obama’s face, suggesting trustworthiness, leadership, and relevance.
The Success Factors

Although inherently different, all of these marketing campaigns used unique and highly strategic approaches to develop their sign campaigns. Let’s take a brief look at why these campaigns were so successful:
Content Strategy Even back in 1914, having a relevant content strategy was the key to launching a successful sign campaign. The slogans used by each of these companies were short and to the point; a quality businesses still use today.
Multiple Advertising Mediums: Sign-oriented marketing campaigns are most successful when paired with other advertising mediums. Complimenting signage with other marketing approaches gives brands the ability to reach more than one target demographic, and allows them to connect with locations outside their local region.
Color Strategies: For DeBeers, using white on black as the marketing color combination exemplified their intrinsic, undisputable value. For Coca-Cola, white on red allowed them to capture the concept of classic value and exciting rebellion. Essentially, developing a color strategy that communicates a brand’s values and message without words is essential for a campaign that catches the eyes of viewers.