7 Outrageous Marketing Ploys That Were a Raging Success


From Webobble bobble heads to tech companies, just about every brand wants to have a spectacular marketing presence. However, the trick these days isn’t just to run a successful and well-researched ad campaign. Rather, it’s to create an outrageous campaign that will have everyone talking. Here are the seven outrageous marketing ploys that were a raging success.

“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

Old Spice is a brand that’s so ubiquitous that it would be hard to imagine them doing anything revolutionary. However, their “The Man Your Man Could Sell Like” campaign ended up being one of the most successful viral video campaigns of all time. Launched in 2010, this series of videos with a bold-voiced actor in a variety of ludicrous circumstances was an online sensation and made this time-tested brand hip again.

“Will It Blend?”

The “Will It Blend?” campaign was, if nothing else, sneaky. Unlike the Old Spice or other campaigns, viewers didn’t even realize they were watching an ad. This ingenious series of short online videos showed different items, from blue jeans to smartphones, being tossed into a blender to answer the simple question of whether it would blend. However, this viral campaign was a subtle advertisement for Blendtec brand blenders, which saw a spike in profits as a result.

The Blair Witch Project

Nowadays, “found footage” horror movies are a dime a dozen. In 1999, however, they were unheard of. When The Blair Witch Project was first released, the studio and producers remained mum on whether or not it was real. The film was obviously fictional, but their refusal to confirm that fact created one of the most successful word-of-mouth marketing campaigns of all time. Viewers flocked to the cinema to see a horror film that they believed may have been footage of real events.

HBO’s True Blood

Every network wants to market their show in a way that gives potential viewers an idea of the character and storyline. However, when HBO began marketing their now-retired series True Blood, they took a different yet genius approach. True Blood was a horror series that took place in a world where vampires were known to be real and living amongst humans. Instead of running ads that featured characters and scenes from the show, HBO littered the streets and the internet with PSAs, billboards and other materials that campaigned for or against “vampire rights.” They created insane buzz without ever giving their audience a clear idea of what was to come on the series. The result was a huge success for the network, with True Blood being one of their biggest hits to date.

The Burger King Whopper Sacrifice

Every company wants to have a strong presence on Facebook. However, it’s hard to stand out in the sea of brands. Burger King made a big impression with “The Whopper Sacrifice.” Users were prompted to remove, or “sacrifice,” ten of their Facebook friends in exchange for a free Whopper cheeseburger. The campaign brought tons of publicity to an already-established company and made Facebook marketing even more competitive.

Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”

While the music industry is quickly changing, many artists and labels have been reluctant to follow suit. However, Radiohead did the unthinkable with their “In Rainbows” album. Instead of selling the album through traditional venues or marketing campaigns, the band decided to unexpectedly release the album for download through a dedicated website. The added perk? The band set a “pay-what-you-can” price tag. The album took in over $10 million in revenue. Since then, comedian Louis C.K. has followed suit by releasing his comedy specials via his website in a similar fashion.

Barack Obama

When we think of marketing campaigns, we usually think of products rather than politicians. However, there is truly no larger campaign than the one for the presidential seat. In 2008, Barack Obama changed history by becoming the country’s first “social media” president. In addition to the same old tools and techniques, Obama focused greatly on creating a presence on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It goes without saying that his new way of doing business was very, very successful.

All of these marketing campaigns are unique in their own way. However, despite their differences, they all have one thing in common. They took a risk and dared to stand out while the other guys were still following the status quo. No matter how you choose to market your business, whether it’s a fully online ad-campaign or truck signage billboards with TSN Advertising or a similar company, the lesson learned is that it’s important to be daring. You don’t just want your business to be memorable – you want it to be unforgettable.