Brand Anniversaries: Making Marketing Moments from your Milestones

a staff of people cheering champagne glasses
By Joshua Ridley |

Businesses die all the time. If yours is surviving and thriving, congrats! That’s newsworthy. If you’re not already, you should celebrate—and make a marketing moment from—your brand’s anniversary. By doing so, you attain brand awareness and visibility, customer engagement and loyalty, employee morale, and motivation. 

About one in five businesses in the U.S. fail within their first year. This happens because of inflation, supply-chain issues, access to capital or just bad luck, among other things. The percentage of businesses that fail rises to 20.8% after one year and then reaches 65.1% after 10 years. When embarking on the journey of starting a business—know that the odds are not in your favor. 

Making it to year five is no small feat. So when brands make it to year 10, 25, 50 and so forth, it’s in their best interest to make some noise. Everyone loves a winner. When you brag about your accomplishments, others will follow suit and the success will be the gift that keeps on giving. Below are a few great examples of how some of the world’s most formidable brands celebrated their milestones and the additional success that came thereafter. Your anniversary is a great moment to increase brand awareness and affinity.

Adobe, 40 years of innovation

Exterior of a building, brick with Adobe's logo in minimalist white.

The creative software giant Adobe celebrated 40 years in December of 2022. Founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke started Adobe in 1982 to make visual communication better. Adobe’s first product was PostScript, a piece of software that produced 300-dpi black-and-white typography on an Apple LaserWriter printer. Since then, Adobe has evolved and delivered to audiences more creative software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat, After Effects, Premiere Pro and others. 

Adobe celebrated their 40 years of innovation in October 2022 at the 20th Adobe Max, an annual creativity conference where Adobe presents new developments in its suite of applications and bridges a community of creative professionals. This not only made a marketing moment of their brand anniversary. It was also their return to a partially in-person Adobe Max after two years of virtual-only events. 

A total of 6,000 attendees filled the halls and meeting rooms across three days for Adobe Max 2022. The number was down from 16,000 in 2019 due to the COVID-19 measures still in place. The program featured special guests such as Steve Aoki, Kevin Hart and Katy Perry. Participants could attend some sessions virtually. Yet these numbers don’t accurately capture the reach of Adobe Max. In 2020, Adobe Max’s first all-digital event saw more than 21 million total video views across all channels and more than 50 million social interactions. Adobe gave their fans something to celebrate. They fostered an environment for Adobe users and fans across the globe to come together and continue garnering positive sentiment for the tech brand. 

PepsiCo, 50 years as a Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages

Black background, melting ice on the bottom of the image with a Pepsi can on top of the ice laying on its side with condensation on the can

PepsiCo, the global convenient food and beverage company, brings us brands like Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Quaker and SodaStream. With roots going back to 1898, PepsiCo is one of the largest food and beverage companies in North America today, having generated more than $86 billion in net revenue in 2022. PepsiCo merged with Frito-Lay, maker of Cheetos, Doritos and others, in 1965—hence the 50th anniversary in 2015. 

To celebrate this 50-year milestone, PepsiCo took to social media to claim their stake as a mobile leader. The beverage and snack company used the #PepsiCo50 golden anniversary hashtag to further tell the brand’s story. They created short-form content that spoke to audiences and were able to gain additional earned media equity through partner-created content and conversation. In addition to their social content strategy, PepsiCo also featured an anniversary site that showcased an animated timeline starting with the acquisition of Frito-Lay. PepsiCo has seen a continual rise in brand recognition and annual net revenue since their 50th anniversary.

Lincoln, 100 years of what a luxury car should be

A white Lincoln sedan in a showroom with a woman standing in front of the vehicle. She is wearing a black cocktail dress and her left hand is on her hip. Behind the car is a wall with "The Lincoln Motor Company" illuminated.

The luxury vehicle division of the American automobile manufacturer Ford, Lincoln celebrated 100 years of “what a luxury car should be.” To mark and market their centennial anniversary, Lincoln kicked off a yearlong series of global events connecting the past and the present to an exciting future in the years to come. These included events held in over 100 dealerships to celebrate their anniversary with clients and local communities. 

As part of this celebration, Lincoln looked back on their history and shared a peek into the future of luxury cars on their site The Lincoln LegacyThe history included the acquisition of Lincoln by Ford in 1922, the presidential favorite of 1924, luxury by design of 1976 and more. Lincoln also launched their 100 Years of Lincoln Collection, which features branded merchandise like their Shinola Canfield Duffle Brief and Shinola watch. Also included on the site is a virtual look book that consists of images of past iconic Lincoln luxury vehicles and concepts for future all-electric vehicles. In addition to attracting more than 1 million monthly website visitors each month, Lincoln sold more than 125,000 vehicles in their 100th year, touting up to 78% quarterly sales growth that year at a time when two-thirds of luxury car brands were seeing sales decline. 

The affinity garnered by their anniversary campaign maintained momentum going into the following year; the brand has seen a 12% increase in sales so far in 2023, with projections to keep growing in 2024. 

JPMorgan Chase, 150 years of doing the right thing, together.

"JP Morgan Chase & Co." is printed on the front of a building in a downtown setting

The largest bank in the United States, JPMorgan Chase & Co. celebrated 150 years in 2021. As the largest of the Big Four banks with a revenue size of 128.7B (2022), JPMorgan Chase decided to celebrate their milestone by moving beyond just marketing around their anniversary. Instead, they used the brand milestone to further their initiatives and investments in education.

Their decision to invest in education is a reminder of the lessons JPMorgan Chase wants to apply to the future of the American workforce to keep the economy humming. “While parts of the American economy improved in the past decade, economically vulnerable young people around the world are being left behind, a problem at the heart of our current national discourse,” Chairman & CEO Jamie Dimon said. “Without the right skills and meaningful education, many young people entering the labor market find themselves stuck in low-skill, low-wage jobs or, worse, unemployed and out of school.”

Their global initiative New Skills at Work totaled $350 million. The initiative included a $2.5 million investment in Ohio State University and more than $60 million invested in community colleges across the country. Through New Skills at Work, JPMorgan Chase is creating more opportunities for workers to obtain well-paying, middle-skill jobs. The company is committed to solving one of the U.S.’s most important issues, lack of education and unemployment. 

Pace, Story Inspired Results for 50 years.

A graphic of "Story Inspired Results for 50 years" the "50" is the largest of the text. Under the text is a spectrum of blue and pink hues. Under that is a grid of the many faces of Pace employees.

Pace has been around for 50 years as of this coming October. Pace is a woman-owned integrated marketing agency with a focus on storytelling and innovation. Since day one, we’ve had the privilege of helping tell the stories of the world’s most iconic brands—and we have some big things planned to celebrate this 50-year landmark in our company’s history.

To make a marketing moment of our anniversary, we will be featuring our storytelling expertise and innovation with social-first content such as mini-stories, blog posts and more. We will celebrate service, a longtime commitment of our founder and CEO Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, by continuing to give back to our local community in more ways besides monetary contributions. And on the week of our 50th anniversary (Oct. 19, 2023), we will have a weeklong celebration for employees (in-person and remote), clients and partners. 

Reaching an anniversary milestone for your brand is a big deal, not only for yourself but for your employees, customers, clients and fans. Take advantage of this cause for celebration as the brands above have. Celebrating your anniversary is a #MarketingMoment because it gets people talking—garnering positive sentiment for your brand and the great work you do. Just like a birthday, it’s a day when it’s 100% okay to make the special day about you! It’s worth noting that celebrating these milestones brings people together to rally behind a positive goal—the work you do. It’s never too soon to start planning, so let this be a friendly nudge to make your next milestone the biggest it’s ever been. 

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