Killing a campaign too early? You’re getting away with murder.

Most brands dream of standing the test of time. Few achieve it.

In 2022, Coinbase made waves with a Super Bowl ad that featured nothing but a bouncing QR code linking to their website. In a single minute, they received 20 million visits to their landing page. But, just as soon as the spot appeared, it vanished from the airwaves.

Others are in it for the long haul. Hershey has run the same exact “Christmas Bells” spot since 1989. The ad is a staple of the holiday season. It’s been seen and loved by hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people over the course of three decades.

Coinbase’s overnight success is alluring. What marketing team wouldn’t want to break the internet? But, Hershey’s staying power proves there’s strength in sticking with what works.

Too often, as soon as it’s time for the next campaign, brands go back to the drawing board and start from scratch. This reaction can come from a fear of sounding like a broken record to consumers. When you live and breathe your brand, it’s easy to assume others do as well. Audiences have complex lives, and what seems old to you can seem fresh to them. Reviving successful work, or attributes of successful work, can help your organization build awareness with target audiences and solidify brand affinity. With the right campaign strategy, creative and a smart media plan, you can keep things fresh while getting the most out of your greatest marketing achievements.

Build your case

How do you choose which campaigns get a second life? It’s all in the evidence.

The next time you’re planning to advertise a product, rate or promotion, look through your previous campaigns and see what yielded great results and what didn’t. Rethink what’s there and how it should evolve. Which campaign brought a smile to your face? Could the overall creative have been better? Is there merit in the message and how it resonates? Compare that analysis with the actual metrics and results.

Previously successful campaigns have proven buy-in from target audiences. If the messaging is still relevant, rerunning existing creative can give you deeper insights into how consumers respond to your brand’s voice over time.

Avoid D.O.A. deathtraps

There’s a difference between evergreen campaigns and the same old thing.

What’s in fashion changes from one moment to the next, and stale content will likely underperform. Ask yourself, is your existing campaign:

  • Too specific: Focus on reviving campaigns that lean on promises your team can keep or point to where you want the brand to go. Avoid prominent call-outs of specific rates or deals—unless it is a regular promotion your organization offers.
  • Too timely: This is a common issue for campaigns that ran a few years ago. A lot has changed in the world. Your imagery and messaging shouldn’t strongly reference events that are now in the public’s rear-view mirror.
  • Too targeted: Make sure the audiences targeted by your original campaign are still relevant to your brand’s current goals. If your team once wanted to encourage younger adults to try your services but now needs to get the attention of retirees, your messaging and imagery will probably need to change as well.

Give your campaigns the opportunity to evolve. Little changes can make a big difference. You’d be surprised how fresh imagery can breathe new life into a headline, or how switching up some background music can make a radio spot hit in a completely different way.

Craft your modus operandi

Most analysts say it takes an average of 8 contact attempts, or “touches,” to generate a lead. Others say it’s 13. Virtually no expert, however, says it should take just one.

In marketing, multiple touches make it easier for audiences to recognize you faster and remember you longer. That’s the beauty of giving the right campaigns a new lease on life. Leveraging the power of high-performing ads over time can help you sharpen your brand voice.

If you think some of the world’s most iconic brands strictly take a one-and-done approach to marketing, think again. Their successful, short-run campaigns usually aren’t short at all. They’re bite-sized stories that continue to tell audiences about the brand’s overall point of view. Each campaign is one piece of a much larger puzzle. More likely than not, these spots are the products of long-term thinking and refreshes of campaigns run in the past.

Finding the perfect formula for a campaign’s lifespan will change from brand to brand. What’s important is having the courage to experiment. The right media partners and even external creative expertise can make these decisions easier. However you choose to leverage a campaign’s moment in the spotlight, make sure to take every opportunity to measure its performance. Your next big idea depends on it.

Ben Prager

Ben Prager

Prior to forming Prager Creative, Ben worked with design studios, branding firms and advertising agencies to push great strategy and design for all his projects. His experience with all aspects ... Web: Details