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

altypical Outlandish

For all the content marketers out there, the following questions always worry people 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 challenge there is in the business world, and therefore some marketers have taken the game to extremes.

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

1. Kids Sunscreen By Nivea

Kids Sunscreen By Nivea

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

  • How Bad Was This Nivea Bird Poop Sunscreen Project?, from AgencySpy
  • Nivea’s Drone Bird Poops Sunscreen on Your Kids, from Dronelife
  • Seagull Drone Poops Sunscreen….uh, Thanks, – headline 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; since some kids don’t like to apply cream or a wet solution to their skins.

The concept seems controversial and there must have been some criticism surrounding it, but Nivea got significant attention. And the impression is memorable, although it never got any votes or awards at 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 any one of your friends or family members.

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 love 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 address of 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.

Cub Cadet Pro Z Riding Lawnmower

Image credit: Colle + McVoy

This classic press release document was made of Tripple 7-gauged 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 was accompanied by 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 its 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 an 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 masterpieces – 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 send texts with the words, “Van Gogh”, and the social media team of Leo Burnett would then chose the lucky winners who would spend a night in the “painting room” for just $10.

The collaboration of Leo Burnett and Airbnb lead to a massive success of the exhibition, as the museum received the largest daily attendance in 15 years. The exhibition went on to be featured in national news media 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 to the hands of Marcel Sydney, an Australian agency who finally got them the desired results.

The message was that enough air pollution is generated in 40-50 minutes by a diesel car to produce a 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.

Stock Apparel by Adobe

If you happen to go through Adobe’s Blog, you will see how Oskar Hellqvist, Creative Director at Abby Priest, explains 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

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, who were stuck in heavy traffic during rush hour, about the service. 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 which never ceased to amaze  passersby. The metronome is called, “Tempo Austin” and ticks at a tempo determined by the number of tweets sent in Austin city.

The idea behind this metronome is to promote KMFA as a non-traditional music station. As the youth is more keen to use social networks, mainly Twitter, this metronome is supposed to show the city’s heartbeat of the 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 video 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. In order to encourage these demographics, Lipton Green Tea hired Wunderman Mena to design an advanced version of the shopping cart. It informs customers of:

  • Number of steps they walked.
  • How many calories they burnt.
  • How much time they actually 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 McDonald’s, and it decided to use this rivalry on Halloween, 2016. A location in Queens, NY, was decorated completely as “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 read, “Boooooo, Just Kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween.”

This stunt was done in 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 are spiced with Carolina Reaper peppers and packaged as “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 a year’s supply of less-spicy chips to the winners of the competition.

13. South Park Game

The 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 scent that mimicked the smell of farts. Buzzman consulted several different chemists and perfumers to create a perfect fart-like smell. They then worked with a professional team of software engineers and designers to build a VR nose mask they called, “Nosulus Rift.”

14. Virgin America

shoes with WiFi capabilities and phone charger

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 have the look and feel of a 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 will be donated to charity organization.


These are some of the examples to get media attention using 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 hired professionals, except for the one that had its own in-house team of professionals.
  • Risk Factor – Each of the brands took a risk, they achieved their goal – they got media attention.

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

Browse more at:MarketingProfessionals

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