3 Ways Marketing Cultivates Tradition

Some of the most creative marketing strategies throughout history have gone under our radar completely. A few have even become so ingrained in our cultural habits that we do not recognize them as promotional. Certain habits and traditions today originated as advertising campaigns that were plotted by creative marketers with large budgets.  

Birthday and
holiday cards, working out, and diamond engagement rings are just a few. Companies have created these customs in order to solidify their place in our lives.

Holiday Cards

Many consider such days as Administrative Professionals’ Day and Grandparents’ Day as “Hallmark Holidays” due to them not having any religious or secular meaning. The company launched a successful 1944 advertising campaign with the famous slogan, “When you care enough to send the very best”. 

The campaign appealed to people’s emotions, creating brand loyalty and ethos that has been in the popular mind since. There is a reason for every season, and there seems to be a card for nearly every holiday.  

Birthday, sympathy, apologetic, and even uplifting cards are written in specific narratives – one for each type of relationship.  Now it seems odd not to send someone a card for their birthday or the holidays.


Nike was one of the first companies that changed the popular mindset about exercise. Nike’s cofounder and former track-and-field coach, Bill Bowerman, was inspired by the New Zealand culture of nonprofessional jogging. He wrote a book about jogging in the 1960s and set up running programs across the country to stir up popular interest. 

The next step was to get regular people to wear Nike shoes with a catchy slogan. Nike and their then advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy created their 1988 “Just Do It” campaign that essentially shamed people into exercise while wearing Nike sneakers.  Around this time, aerobic exercise gained popularity.  

This helped Nike to gain a greater foothold in the sport-shoe market, increasing its share from 18% to 43% in the decade between 1988 to 1998.


If you thought diamonds were forever, they were not always so. Thanks to DeBeers’s marketing campaign during the Great Depression, diamonds became a timeless symbol of romance. At the time, global diamond sales were down by 30%. Harry
Oppenheimer, the son of the founder of DeBeers, met with the advertising agency N.W. Ayer to create a campaign about these precious gems. 

They realized that diamonds needed to trigger certain emotions in order for people to buy them. Thus, they reintroduced these stones as essential to love with their 1938 “A Diamond Is Forever” campaign. Men were expected to give a diamond ring as a measure of love, and women were led to believe that dating ended with a diamond ring–a popular choice that remains to this day. 

With the right marketing, products can create worldwide movements that have a lasting impact on culture. The next time you purchase a holiday card, go jogging,  or get engaged, you can thank those companies whose campaigns still impact your life to this day.

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