March 21, 2014
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It’s hard to stand out in the competitive world of PR and advertising. Yes, there are certainly safe, go-to marketing strategies that have stood the test of time. But to get real results, you have to get a little crazy. Throw caution to the wind! Color outside the lines! Think outside the box! Whichever cliché saying you prefer, the point is that the best PR practitioners don’t rely on tradition and the molds of conventional campaigns. Here are examples (in no particular order) of some adventurous campaigns, stunts, and ads.
- HBO’s True Blood: Revelation marketing campaign. This marketing campaign got True Blood’s already loyal fan base even more hyped about the show. The creative geniuses behind the campaign, Campfire (check them out!), sent vials of red liquid with labels in a “dead language” to horror bloggers. They created a “vampire-only” website called BloodCopy.com. They put up fake PSAs that promoted equal rights for vampires in major cities. This campaign piqued people’s interests and was a creative way to get people interested in the show.
- Office Max’s Elf Yourself. THESE WILL NEVER GET OLD. I’m fairly certain everyone has uploaded pictures of themselves and their friends into this 2006 interactive E-card invention. Over half a billion shares later, it’s a beloved tradition. When these start showing up on your Facebook feed, Christmas is near! Office Max found a fun way to get their name out there – over and over and over again. Creative partners: Jason Zada, EVB, and Maccabee Group.
- Taco Bell’s Twitter. First of all, let’s talk about Taco Bell’s Twitter. One word: HILARIOUS! (They have an awesome presence on Instagram as well.) They know the importance of sharing pictures and interacting with their followers. They retweet and respond to their fans – sometimes celebrities, sometimes run-of-the-mill chalupa lovers – and just seem like a cool 20-something who happens to be a Mexican fast food chain. Their strongest customer demographic, the 18-34 age group, loves the casual-cool persona that Taco Bell has created. Just ask their 1.09 million followers.
- Taco Bell’s Mir Space Station Promotion. Ok, so Taco Bell is kind of a 2-for-1 in this list. In March 2001, Taco Bell held a promotion to coincide with the re-entry of the Mir space station. They put a huge target in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and announced that if the target was hit by a falling piece of Mir that every person in the United States would win a free Taco Bell taco. They bought a hefty insurance policy for this stunt, but alas, no piece struck the target. The point is that they got people excited! AND a lot of media attention. Good job, Taco Bell!
- Athens Bicycle’s Gravel Rouser. Every year since 2004,Athens Bicycle hosts the Gravel Rouser, a four-day event of races and relays. The fun is that any one can win the 4 quirky events. It’s meant to be a light-hearted way to kick off the biking season. What started off as just an “Athens thing” now brings people to Athens from all over Ohio. It includes a ride along a wooded path – hooked up with speakers blasting classic rock, a scavenger hunt around Athens, a donut party and a lot more. Athens Bicycle found a way to get their name and logo out there, gain some fans and increase business. By the way, it started yesterday!
These are just a few examples of businesses that weren’t afraid to get a little wild. Being bold pays off! It takes a lot of planning and creativity, but the next time you have a goal, take these businesses’ lead and think BIG (in the good way). Like Dr. Seuss said:
“why blend in when you were born to stand out?”
Elaine Carey is a junior studying Strategic Communications. You can follow her on Twitter at @snakesona_laine.