Most of these posters you will have seen before but just to let you know, this list is DEFINITIVE. Some of these posters were created to get the company out of a jam and others are just clever promos. A poster doesn’t have to be laden with fancy typography and aesthetically pleasing shapes to be considered ‘an amazing poster’. In fact, when a poster tries too hard, by cramming all of these elements in, it can often lead to the message that it’s trying to communicate falling completely flat.
As someone who has always been a fan of minimalistic design, my eye is often drawn to ‘clean’ design. Done right, it can look like an effortless masterpiece but done wrong and you could be branded lazy and uninspired. The posters I’ve dug out below, however, find the sweet spot, showcasing a stroke of genius from the marketing team behind the idea.
This one is potentially the most iconic on my list, becoming an instant classic as soon as it dropped. Believe it or not, this poster was released in 2018! It doesn’t feel like that long ago but that just shows the impact and memorability that this poster has. It was released in response to a ‘chicken crisis’, where KFC faced a shortage of chicken, leaving customers ‘hangry’.
The design of the poster itself is nothing special, it simply shows the classic KFC bucket on a red background, with crumbs scattered around it. The clever use of KFC’s name, however, is what caught the public’s eye. Simple but effective. The re-shuffle of the letters manages to be cheeky without crossing any lines and by doing so, it connects directly with ordinary people. No excuses or corporate-style workarounds, just plain “we’re sorry”.
This poster is the perfect example of ‘work smarter, not harder’. The design did the rounds on social media back in 2017, with users praising ‘Dave’ for his forward-thinking. The poster simply shows a screenshot of a conversation between the designer and the pub’s owner, making for a direct and straight-to-the-point advert.
The design also incorporates familiarity, as most people would recognise the iPhone text screen anywhere. This piques people’s interest and appeals to their curious nature, drawing them in to read the poster. No need for cheesy stock imagery and dodgy fonts here.
Taken straight from the popular AMC show, Mad Men, this advert was first pitched by Don Draper on the silver screen. Starting out as a completely fictional marketing campaign, Heinz felt as though the idea struck a chord with audiences and so they decided to bring it to life. Heinz announced this back in 2017, using both the imagery and the tagline, “pass the Heinz”, that debuted on the show.
Plucked from the brilliant mind of Don Draper, these posters encapsulate the very definition of minimalistic. In fact, it’s so minimalistic that it doesn’t even show the product they’re trying to sell. To some, it may look like marketing suicide and if Heinz were a small family business selling bottles at the side of the road then it may have been. However, they’re one of, if not, the biggest sellers of ketchup in the world, making this marketing campaign incredibly clever. The brand is so iconic that the poster doesn’t even need to show the product, instead, it leaves the reader to fill in the gaps as they think to themselves “oooh where’s the ketchup?”.
This is the most recent of the posters from this list and is every bit as witty. Earlier this year, the Super League was announced as a breakaway league for some of the world’s top teams to join and play, with no fear of relegation or other teams trying to join in on the fun. Suffice to say, everyone hated the idea. Even UEFA and the Premier League, who both responded by threatening to kick the teams involved out of their respective competitions.
Heineken was quick to turn this into a marketing opportunity and read the room perfectly. Their advert pokes fun at the ridiculousness of the idea whilst promoting their own brand and communicating a subtle ‘drink responsibly’ message. It ticks all the boxes and is another great example of how a simple, smart idea can go so much further than a poster bogged down in over-complicated design work.
Smart Marketing, or ‘S-marketing’…
Not sure that quite works but we’ll roll with it!
One thing you’ll notice about each of the posters above is that they all have minimalism in common. They each showcase how a simple idea, seasoned with a bit of wit, can spark a memorable marketing campaign. At Embryo, we like to consider ourselves witty too and have come up with a few good marketing campaigns in our time. If you’re looking to kickstart your brand or are in desperate need of a fresh marketing campaign, give us a call! Catch us on 0161 327 2635 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.