Marketing is one of the major expenses of a brand. The target is simple. Get the word out to the right people. But that is not a guarantor of success. People just don’t care about the vanilla stuff anymore, so these 10 brands had to think out of the box to cut out the chatter. When controversies came flooding, so did the customers.

Ikea

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Åkestam Holst is a Swedish agency that Ikea hired to do some promotional work. The campaign they came out with it was not only bizarre, but it also bordered on outrageous. An ad came out in a women’s magazine where readers were asked to pee on the advertisement, because “peeing on this ad may change your life”. That’s all it said. Between the social media storm and public outrage, the company revealed that the ad contained a pregnancy kit, and it was a special promotion for their pregnant customers. if any pregnant women used it, it would reveal a special 50% discount price. We don’t know what to think about that, but the customers sure did like it.

Skittles

Remember Skittle’s broadway musical “Broadway the Rainbow”? Skittles made an entire musical to market the candy by making fun of advertising, and disclosing how evil the marketing industry was? All the characters talked about various ways in which advertising has ruined their lives, and the musical sold out in days for $200 per ticket.

GoPuff

Imagine the advertisement of a convenience store – what is the most interesting thing you can picture? What about calling out the bizarre shopping list of customers who drunk-shopped at midnight? Calling out your customer on their weird habits might seem like the worst way to promote a product. But GoPuff got away with it, and people even started ordering out weird things just to get a shout out on Twitter.

Milka Chocolate

Milka, the swiss chocolatier opened up their branch in France and hired a Parisian agency to stir up the market? How do you get millions of French people talking about swiss chocolate? Just take out a piece off it. In 13 million chocolates, they removed a single square, and the baffled customers learned that they had two choices. They could either send that piece to someone they love, or they can get it mailed back to themselves. 

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Airbnb

Airbnb gave a unique opportunity to its customers in 2016. They could spend a day walking into and living inside their favorite painting. The hotel tycoon worked with the Art Institute of Chicago to give their customers a unique experience. Paired with designers, they transformed a small studio apartment based in Chicago into one of the most famous Van Gogh paintings, Bedroom in Arles. 

Not just that, the way they advertised was also masterful. The newspaper advertising was a vintage classified ad that was distributed all around the Chicago area, and the art fanatics who walked by the museum were targeted. Some of the lucky visitors were able to rent the room for as low as $10 per night, and as a result, it also boosted the museum’s visitation like never before. The museum, Airbnb and the customers, everyone came out as the winners. Now, that’s what we call great marketing.

Uber

An army of a drone carrying out teasers of a company might seem like the stuff of sci-fi movies to you, it’s just another day for Uber’s new marketing campaign that took Mexico City by surprise. Imagine being stuck in the traffic at rush hour while tiny aircraft fly around you. It was an instant hit. It is unlikely that we will get to see the same marketing stunt in the US or UK because of how much red tape is involved to get something like that approved, but Uber earned media attention worldwide.

Lipton Green Tea

Green tea is a popular product in weight loss circles. Lipton just took things a step too far (no pun intended) when they added a step tracker in the shopping carts of grocery stores. The aim of the cart was to track how many calories customers are burning while the walk around the store. While customers did a double-take on the double stuffed Oreos, they sure did add some green teas to the cart.

Burger King

An entire Burger King store in Queens in New York dressed up in a white Casper costume for Halloween. The theme – “The ghost of McDonald’s”. The slogan – “Boo! Just kidding, we still flame grill our burgers. Happy Halloween.” By the time McDonald’s came up with a fitting reply, the gimmick had earned Burger king millions.

South Park Video Game

South Park is the epitome of what social satire can be. We love all the foul-mouthed characters in their ever-loving glory, but nobody still asked for a video game of the popular show. But we got one anyway. And not just any video game, a video game with a virtual reality mask that makes you smell farts. Classic Cartman! 

Relax. It wasn’t the smell of passing gas, but a concoction that smelled like it. Ubisoft even came up with a nose mask and worked with an entire team of scientists to perfect the mask. And they use it in every event to hype up the game. Before you go googling, the name of the game is Nosulus Rift.

Virgin America

What is the one thing you always wished your shoes had? WiFi, right? What about a phone charger? Well, fret no more. Because Virgin America saved the plight of humanity by creating these shoes that came with both. 

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The commercial aimed to promote how luxurious it was to fly first class with the airline. In case you wanted to Netflix and chill with these magic boots, they also added some mood lighting, a video screen, and a USB port. You still have to call the air hostess for that glass of wine though.

The Next Steps

We are sure, these out-of-the-box social media campaigns must have given you some real goals. What do you have to say about these campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.