Magazine

Hard Times, Hard Sell


Classic ad campaigns that were launched during economic downturns

1954Winston: Launched in the same year that the American Medical Assn. issued an early study linking smoking to cancer, the campaign helped make Winston the No. 1 filter-tipped cigarette in the U.S.

1958Crest: The Norman Rockwell-illustrated ads pulled at protective parents' heart strings. Crest's market share doubled in two years, from 6% to almost 13%, pushing the brand past its main competitor, Colgate.

1974BMW: The campaign and slogan "The Ultimate Driving Machine" highlighted BMW's engineering, and made its spare interiors yuppie cool. U.S. sales accelerated from 15,007 vehicles in 1974 to 293,795 in 2007.

1981IBM: Big Blue wanted an everyman entranced by the small size of its new personal computers. It chose a Charlie Chaplin look-alike. In 1983, IBM sold as many PCs as Apple had in the previous four years.

1980Calvin Klein: "You Know What Comes Between Me and My Calvins? Nothing." So asked a sultry, 15-year-old Brooke Shields. The campaign scandalized the public—and turned jean sales white hot.

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