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14 Unusual, Atypical, Outlandish Ways Brands Have Promoted Their Products Successfully

For all the content marketers out there, the following questions always bothers whenever they have a new project on hand,

“What should I do to make this brand absolutely stand out?”

As we know, differentiating a brand is probably the biggest competition than any other thing in the business world, and therefore some marketers have taken the game to the extremes.

We have collected 14 creative promotions and campaigns that utilized unusual mediums to spread the word out. You should probably check them out to get inspired and try something similar with your next big campaign.

We’ve already discussed 21 marketing tactics that are likely to rule the web throughout 2017. With 14 highly creative campaign ideas mixed with those tactics, you can create a killer marketing strategy and make your brand stand out.

1. Kids Sunscreen By Nivea

The Nivea’s marketing stunt made interesting headlines soon after its launch in 2016 at Cannes. Some of the headlines include:

  • How Bad was This Nivea Bird Poop Sunscreen Project, Realli? From AgencySpy
  • Nivea’s Drone Bird Poops Sunscreen on Your Kids from Dronelife
  • Seagull drone poops sunscreen….uh, thanks – headlines from CNET

The seagull drone was designed by Jung von Matt/Elbe a German agency, and it is 100% real. This is actually a case study that shows how you can use a drone to protect your stubborn kids from Sunburn. Because some kids don’t like to apply cream or wet solution to their skins.

The concept seems controversial and there must have been some criticism on it, but Nivea got significant attention. And the impression is memorable, although it never got any vote neither any award from Cannes.

Here’s the video:”

2. Milka Chocolate

The Swiss chocolate company made a lasting first impression as it launched its first marketing campaign via Buzzman, a Paris-based agency. The concept was to share the taste of Milka Bar with anyone of your friends or family members that you love dearly.

The company removed a small square from 13 million Milka Chocolate bars and asked customers to choose between the following two options:

  • Send it to someone you loved the most, or
  • Have it returned back to you.

Each bar has a unique code that customers would open online and choose the option. They would either enter their own address or the person’s who should receive the small square. Along with the bar, the company also forwarded customers’ personalized messages in a lovely envelope.

3. Cub Cadet Pro Z Riding Lawnmower

Cub Cadet certainly set a new standard for traditional, physical press releases. In order to promote its latest riding lawnmower, Cub Cadet chose Colle+McVoy. The agency came up with a unique and expensive idea of steel press release.

The classic press release document was made of Tripple 7-guaged steel which has been a trademark of Cub Cadet’s lawnmowers. The document weighed 14 pounds, 13 ounces and had a standard size.

The document had bolts to secure the steel plates. The company shipped it in a custom crate, to media houses. It also accompanied a free crowbar.

4. Airbnb and The Art Institute of Chicago

Painting can be visually deep and immersive, but Art Institute of Chicago has given it a different meaning. Art Institute of Chicago wanted to market it’s Van Gogh exhibition 2016 in a unique way and agency Leo Burnett provided exactly what they were looking for. It partnered with Airbnb to give immersive experience to painting lovers.

The agency worked with museum curators and designers to transform a Chicago-based studio apartment into one of the most recognizable painting masterpiece – Bedroom in Arles.

Furthermore, a poster campaign advertising a room to rent was run all across Chicago. These posters resembled classified ads of vintage newspapers and they were plastered everywhere in Chicago. The message was rather exciting. It invited people to text “Van Gogh” and the social media team of Leo Burnett would then chose lucky winners who would spend a night in “painting room” for just $10.

The collaboration of Leo Burnett and Airbnb earned massive success to the exhibition, as the museum received the largest daily attendance in 15 years. The exhibition went on to feature in national media news as well.

5. Air-Ink by Tiger Beer

Tiger Beer is an American-owned company operating in Singapore. The company’s aim was to turn air pollution into something positive and useful. It contacted the experienced team of Graviky Labs. Graviky Labs designed a process to transform pollution into a fluid black paint and called it Air-Ink. Then, the project moved in the hands of Marcel Sydney, an Australian agency who finally got them the desired results.

The message was, the air pollution of 40-50 minutes generated by diesel car can produce black ink that can be used for painting. Australian street artists show an inclination toward using Air-Ink in their work.

6. Stock Apparel by Adobe

Only a marketer can understand the pain of sorting through endless pages of useless stock photos, to find something he can use in his post. Adobe understands this pain, so it tried something different to promote its stock photo service called Adobe Stock. It partnered with Abby Priest a Swedish agency and developed a fashion clothing line with the help of overused and outdated stock photos.

If you happened to go through Adobe’s Blog, you would see how Oskar Hellqvist, Creative Director at Abby Priest, explained his remarkable experience with this project. Here are just a few words:

“Classic motifs that have been overused and established as hilarious clichés, known, loved and/or hated by all…. Turning them into a limited edition clothing line is our way to salute and an attempt to create something disruptive and unconventional in the genre”.

7. Uber Promoting UberPOOL

Image Credit/Courtesy: Uber

In order to push its advertising campaign in Latin America, Uber’s marketing team came up with a campaign in Mexico City. An army of small drones was sent out to promote UberPOOL, as they carried cheeky banners to get drivers’ attention. The idea was to educate people about the service who were stuck in heavy, stagnant traffic during rush hours. The stunt got massive attention not only in the Latin America but also in the United States and Europe.

8. Austin’s KMFA-FM

In order to attract millennials to the classical music station in Austin, agency Archer Malmo developed a Twitter-powered metronome never cease to amaze a passerby. The metronome names “Tempo Austin” ticks at the tempo determined by the number of tweets sent in Austin city.

The idea behind this metronome is to promote KMFA as a non-traditional, rather transitional music station. As the youth is more keen to use social networks, mainly Twitter, this metronome is supposed to show the city’s heartbeat off Twitter volume and keep them interested in the music station.

9. Laphroaig’s Long Ad

We all know that 30-second time period has become a standard for commercials. But Laphroaig took it way beyond the threshold – up to 3.5 hours. Interestingly, the entire ad was filmed in a single take.

Laphroaig hired a U.K-based agency Multiply to film the vide that features comedian Andy Daly who read feedback and reviews about Laphroaig in filibuster-style. It had everything – from highly positive to the most disgusted, strong-worded remarks. The motive was to show the world how polarizing Laphroaig is.

10. Lipton Campaign

Green tea is mostly used by people who are conscious of their health, want to lose weight, or stay in shape for a long time. In order to encourage such people, Lipton Green Tea hired Wunderman Mena to design an advanced version of the shopping cart. It informs customers of:

  • How many steps they walked,
  • How many calories they burnt, and
  • How much time they spent moving inside the grocery store.

The purpose of the shopping cart was to inform those busy people who didn’t have time to work out, how many calories they can burn just by walking. Plus, it also helps them make smarter and healthier choices while shopping.

11. Burger King’s Halloween Prank

Burger King is an arch rival of Mc Donald’s and it decided to use this rivalry on the Halloween in 2016. A location in Queens, NY was dressed up completely as a “The Ghost of McDonald’s”. The entire building was covered with a white ghost-like cloth. At the end of it, there was a message that says, “Boooooo, Just Kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween.”

This stunt was experimented on just one location, but that was enough to gain media attention. According to Adweek, the stunt was pulled off by David Miami.

12. Paqui

Paqui wanted to show the world it had the hottest variety of chips in the world. The chips spiced with Carolina Reaper peppers were named “The Carolina Reaper Madness” chips. They’re dead spicy and therefore, they’re packaged individually and are sold for $4.99 each. Expensive, isn’t it?

You may be right if you think nobody’s going to try such an expensive brand, but wait. There’s a challenge associated with it. You just need to eat one chip and post your reaction with a hashtag #OneChipChallenge and you can get lucky. The brand is offering year’s supply of less-spicy chips to the winners of the competition.

13. South Park Game

South Park video game is quite popular. But is there someone crazy enough to try those VR masks that smell like farts?

To promote its video game, Ubisoft hired Buzzman to develop a smell that mimicked the smell of fart. Buzzman consulted several different chemists and perfumers to create a perfect fart-like smell. It then worked with a professional team of software engineers and designers to build a VR nose mask they call “Nosulus Rift”.

The mask was used to promote South Park video game in promotional events.

14. Virgin America

Imagine you had a pair of shoes with WiFi capabilities and phone charger. Virgin America developed these shoes for first-class customers. The pair of shoes was designed by Eleven, Inc. in 8 months. The shoes offer the looks and feel just like the first class cabin of the airline.

The product offers WiFi, USB phone charger, mood lighting and a mini video screen. They are sold for $97,878 on eBay and the amount is donated to charity organization.


These are some of the examples to get media attention with unconventional methods. Each of these ideas has a few things in common:

  • Creativity – a different angle to highlight the benefit of the product
  • Professional approach – Each of these brands tried professionals, except for the one that had its in-house team of professionals.
  • Risk factor – Each of the brands took a risk, one of them appeared to be a flop idea, but they achieved their goal – they got media attention.

Here are some great tools to help you keep track of your content marketing campaigns.

If you’re looking for a professional agency to boost your marketing efforts, try Team DevriX. Be it a web development, a WordPress site maintenance, or content marketing, we have a team of skilled professionals who could take your brand to the next level.

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