In today’s busy world, it’s tougher than ever for companies to get their names out there and sell their products to consumers. But advertising and marketing campaigns aren’t just about who has the most money but rather who is the most clever. From Oprah Winfrey’s free-car giveaway to a bomb scare for a cartoon show, we’ve rounded up some of the wildest things companies have done to reach new customers and find new markets. Some rocked and some tanked but all are legendary in their own rights for their creativity and ingenuity. Find out some of the tactics used in this list of 25 Creative Company Marketing Campaigns With Epic Results.
Red Bull Marketing Campaign Featured image by Benoit DUCHATELET via Flickr CC2.0
Last Updated on
An unexpected Guinness success
Now ranking as the third most widely read book in the world, the Guinness Book of World Records was never intended to become a global phenomenon. Managing Director Hugh Beaver printed the book to settle senseless pub debates and distributed it throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. The book quickly became a bestseller, so much so that Guinness eventually spun off the publishing unit which continues making annual versions of the popular book.
Mobile dating app Tinder is no stranger to trying some non-traditional advertising techniques. In 2014, Tinder – partnering with BBH creative agency and animal rescue group Social Tees – made profiles for a host of dogs up for adoption. During swiping, a user might come across one of the pups, seeing their description and pictures (which are probably better than those of most actual people on Tinder). The campaign was a success and a good few dogs were adopted.
Steal me if you can
LifeLock CEO Todd Davis infamously advertised his security company by giving away his social security number in print and television, daring thieves to try stealing his identity. The marketing stunt was brilliant – earning LifeLock loads of publicity. However, a class action suit was brought against LifeLock claiming the ad was misleading as Davis’s identity had been stolen by about 20 different thieves. LifeLock claims only one was able to successfully steal its CEO’s identity and only got $500 out of it.
The Aqua Teen Hunger Force Bomb
Cartoon Network was trying to promote its Adult Swim show Aqua Teen Hunger Force in January 2007. To do this, it commissioned a company to create items that looked like backpacks with wires and lights coming out the back and a screen on front. These bags were then covertly dropped in train stations, hospitals, and on bridges throughout Boston. After the Boston Bomb Squad fully mobilized and boat traffic through the Boston Harbor was shut down, Cartoon Network called off the publicity attempt and told police where the devices were. Lesson learned: if you’re a company trying to get people to buy your stuff, don’t make people think you’re dropping off bombs.
One ad stunt by land and by sea
In an attempt to break a Guinness World Record and garner publicity for Virgin, CEO Richard Branson drove an aquaticar from London to Paris over roads and across the English Channel. Branson drove into Paris wearing a tuxedo and surrounded by a hail of fireworks and popping champagne bottles.