Tips for Generating Ideas for Your Next Marketing Campaign

What does a camel have to do with insurance?

What does satellite TV have to do with a Boston accent?

And how do three short words have the power to inspire millions of people around the world?

The Power of Unforgettable Marketing Campaigns

We’ve all seen them — marketing campaigns that are so funny, engaging, moving or inspiring that they’re hard to forget.

Remember Caleb the Camel in Geico’s hugely successful Hump Day commercial?

In case you’re one of the few people who hasn’t seen it, the commercial features a camel walking around an office asking his coworkers what day it is on Hump Day — or Wednesday. The message of the ad is that people who save hundreds of dollars on their insurance with Geico are as happy — if not happier — than a camel on Hump Day.

And judging by how ecstatic Caleb is when his colleague says, “Hump Day,” that’s very happy. And Geico was happy with the ad, too. It was viewed at least 19 million times in 2013 alone and has recently been dusted off again as one of viewers’ all-time favorite Geico ads.

Then there were the “Hopper” commercials by DISH.

They featured a large, endearing family — with thick Bostonian accents — who loved the fact that the Hopper allowed them to record up to six shows at a time and watch content from anywhere.

Fun fact: It’s rumored that these commercials inspired a wave of Bostonian-flavored content, including MassDOT traffic warning signs like “Use yah blinkah!”

And of course, there’s Nike’s “Just do it” marketing campaign.

So simple — yet so effective.

It covers all sports, all challenges and all skill levels. You could be a professional basketball player preparing for a game, a high school student trying out for the track team or a grandmother looking to walk a mile a day for your health. “Just do it” covers it all.

Generating a Super Bowl Ad Worthy Idea

All of these campaigns started with a brilliant idea — something that made it possible for the brand to connect its product to the audience in an engaging way. But if you don’t have your own team of Mad Men working for you, how do you go about generating a Super Bowl ad worthy idea?

The following pointers can help:

  • Tell a story about one specific aspect of the product or service you’re selling. 
    1. What’s the most important or interesting aspect of your product or service — and how will that appeal to customers? For example, some of the Hopper commercials centered around the fact that DISH enabled customers to record up to six shows at one time.
    2. Once you’ve decided what aspect to highlight, think up a story that makes it relevant. The Hopper commercials feature a large family, so it’s understandable that each member would want to record their own shows.


  • Tell a story about your company or brand. Sometimes, telling the story of your company and your brand can be highly effective. People want to feel engaged with the companies they buy from, so if you can find the factors that make for an emotional connection, create a story around that. For example, as USA Today reports, cosmetics giant CoverGirl is now the biggest cosmetics brand that doesn’t use animal testing in any step of its production process. This is a powerful, emotional driver that resonates with many customers.


  • Celebrate your customers. This is especially powerful in today’s world of user-generated content. Ask your customers to create photos or videos describing why they use your products and what their experience is with your brand. By shining the light on them, you can create relevant marketing campaigns that speak to your customers’ pain points.


  • Use free association. Free association is a fun way to come up with big marketing ideas — how else did Geico come up with the Hump Day ad? Follow me here: Saving money makes you happy. How happy? As happy as a camel on Hump Day. See how they did that? You can do the same with an important aspect of your product or service. Just brainstorm ideas until you find one that stands out.

Get Help From the Best for Your Next Marketing Campaign

As we’ve seen, successful marketing campaigns are engaging, entertaining, emotional — or all of the above. Most importantly: They’re memorable. For help creating your next marketing campaign, get our free worksheet to Help Boost Creativity!



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