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5 Successful PPC Advertising Campaign Examples


Written by

Rob Wass



5 Successful PPC Advertising Campaign Examples

There’s nothing wrong with using straight to the point ads, keywords and landing pages to make your PPC (Pay Per Click) search campaigns profitable.

They work great, they’re simple to create and they can bring a constant stream of targeted traffic to your website.

However, you can change it up a gear, have some fun and maybe even enjoy a runaway success, by trying a little creativity.

Many people have tried something unusual with their campaigns and have hit a home run, with their campaign going wildly viral and shared across the web, for a ton of free exposure.

If you’d like to try this for yourself and you’d like some inspiration to try more creative, viral campaigns, here are 5 examples of effective PPC campaigns. Something you’d like to hand over to someone else? Then we have plenty of PPC agencies on our Marketplace who are great at this kind of thing.

Also, check out our article on inspiringly creative PPC ads for even more ideas.

1. He got his dream job using PPC

Ian Reichenthal's Google Ad

In 2009, Alec Brownstein was a senior copywriter was looking for a new job and came up with a very creative way to attract the attention of the people he most wanted to impress.

He presumed that because most people like to search their name on Google regularly, New York’s top creative directors would too, so he picked 5 to target with his very clever idea.

What he did was bid on their names on Google AdWords and since he was the only one bidding he got clicks for just 13 cents each. The ads linked straight to his website.

The result? 4 of the 5 directors invited him to an interview and 2 of those 4 offered him a job. Outstanding! And his entire campaign cost him a total of just $6! This is a fantastic example of ingenuity.

Go on… you know this story has made you want to Google your own name now, right?

2. The Perfume Shop comes up smelling of roses

The Perfume Shop

Working with Net Media Planet (NMPi), The Perfume Shop used a YouTube Video Targeting Tool in conjunction with the Mercury technology platform, to overlay adverts for celebrity perfumes on targeted matching celebrity YouTube videos.

PPC doesn’t usually perform brilliantly on YouTube, due to site-wide targeting rather than specific videos, but the launch of the YouTube Targeting Tool has changed this for the better.

NMPi planned a large scale execution of the campaign, in order to drive brand awareness and direct engagement for The Perfume Shop.

They had previously discovered that a large percentage of The Perfume Shop’s customers love celebrity culture, so they targeted key celebrity videos with celebrity branded perfume adverts.

This approach allowed Net Media Planet to target 1000’s of YouTube videos with 100% relevancy to the viewer.

Result? A 236% return on investment. In fact, the income from this campaign outmatched search engine PPC sales.

3. talkSPORT

The commercial broadcaster talkSPORT, hired the search agency Guava to help them boost website visits to by creating embeddable widgets, complete with scrollable content.

Having already established talkSPORT newsfeeds with leading football news and rumour sites, the search agency aimed to develop new widgets that presented the content in a more attractive and engaging way. 

The new embeddable newsfeed widgets were made available on talkSPORT’s website, allowing publishers to not only embed but to also customise each widget, such as only displaying Man Utd news, to perfectly suit their own audience.

Along with that, the widgets were in a scrollable HTML format, rather than the traditional RSS feed, which helped to grab the visitor’s attention much more effectively.

The result?

In April 2012, just before the widgets went live, talkSPORT was receiving approximately 800,000 visits a month, from its referring sites.

Once the widgets went live and were used by more sites, visitors went through the roof and by 31st August, the end of the transfer window, the widgets were bringing in 4 million visitors a month. That’s a jump of 400% in a mere 4 months.

As a bonus, Guava’s successful campaign also pushed talkSPORT to the top of the Google search results for the search term ‘transfer rumours’.

4. Converse “Conversations”

Converse shoes

This PPC campaign is very creative and worked like a charm.

The global footwear giant Converse, hired marketing agency Anomoly to come up with an innovative and fun way to increase online engagement with their teenage audience.

They studied insights and used Google AdWords to tap straight into anything currently important in their audience’s culture by fostering ‘converse-ations’, rather than immediately attempting to sell their products.

They simply created PPC campaigns that targeted the very search terms that their prospective customers could be currently searching for.

Here are a few example keywords they used:

  • [First day of summer]
  • [Spelling bee]
  • [How to talk to girls]
  • [How to kiss]

Converse didn’t use ads, instead they began a dialogue with the viewer through the ad copy and a number of interconnected microsites, to engage the viewer and draw them into a much more meaningful content-rich experience.

Being involved and helpful for their audience regarding these cultural moments helps to lead the user back to the Converse brand.

5. BP Oil’s slippy experience

This campaign was very successful results-wise, but misguided and ultimately became somewhat of a PR disaster.

Back in 2010, after their catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico, BP tried to salvage their battered brand reputation, by using paid ads. BP bid on over 1000 search terms related to “oil spill” and were so successful they ranked in position 1 for the majority. 

By doing this they could direct visitors straight to a specifically designed page on their website, the “Gulf of Mexico Response homepage”, to explain exactly what they were doing to rectify this huge disaster.

Here’s the actual ad:

BP oil spill ad

Unfortunately, BP got their tone of voice completely wrong. Rather than talking on a human level, they obviously let their corporate lawyers loose on it and they created a jargon-filled sentence, devoid of any humanity.

This would have been the perfect opportunity to talk to the public on a personal level about their fears and concerns, instead it came across as soulless.

BP announces first payment on Barrier Islands Project for State of Louisana

To make matters worse, because most people don’t seem to know how PPC works and the press loves a negative story, BP were accused of manipulating search results.

According to ClickZ Expert Kevin Lee, BP spent an estimated $1 million in under a month, at an average cost per click of $1.33. 

And all that could have been put to such better use if they’d have thought it through first.


As you can see, there are many ways to approach your PPC campaigns creatively, taking them to the next level.

It’s best if you could try coming up a few innovative ideas to test, alongside your standard campaigns, so you aren’t relying on them to bring in the business. Spend some time researching other people’s successes, as you may find ideas you can adapt to suit your own business.

Whilst you’re experimenting with new creative ads, ensure your existing campaigns are bringing you maximum results. Use the Adzooma platform to manage, optimise and automate your PPC ads so you can save time and money.

Join Adzooma for free and make the most of the Adzooma Community Support group to get any of your questions answered.

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