Stunt-based marketing can often be gimmicky and expensive, yielding less than desirable returns on investment. And often times, much to the marketers’ chagrin, gimmicks work. But the most lasting impressions you can make on your audience is not to just capture their “attention.” Truly worthwhile marketing stunts capture their “imagination.”
Here are 4 of our favorite marketing stunts that, over the years, aimed to engross customers with creativity, innovation, and most importantly, inclusion. Some were successful, some missed the mark, but they were all unforgettable.
And remember, even if a piece of content goes viral, that doesn’t always lead to sales conversions.
1. Colorful Bravia Bouncy Balls
What sounds like a novel idea were actually incredibly well orchestrated marketing stunts that took the city of San Francisco six days to recover from. When Sony decided it wanted to do something completely ridiculous to launch its new line of Bravia TVs, Sony teamed up with London-based marketing agency Fallon for an epic undertaking. Together they launched 250,000 colorful rubber balls from hand cannons on the crazy steep, narrow streets of San Francisco and filmed the colorful aftermath to showcase how its new TVs could capture color. What many thought was an epic CGI moment was actually a fiasco that closed down the iconic roadways and led to a six-day city wide clean up effort.
2. M&Ms Makes Friends
Some of the best marketing strategies are all about teamwork. Like when the classic candy M&Ms teamed up with George Lucas’s Star Wars franchise to release its new dark chocolate candy in 2005 with the perfect slogan: Dare to go to the Dark Side. And apparently, if you’re working with LucasFilms, you go big or go home. So M&Ms landed a authentic X-Wing fighter on an island in the middle of Times Square. As if that wasn’t enough of a high traffic spectacle, the craft was accompanied by M&Ms, six storm troopers, Darth Vader and Anthony Daniels, the original C-3PO in full costume for an original choreographed performance. The event received more than 184 million media impressions and was televised in 23 countries.
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3. Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscars Selfie
The most retweeted selfie ever was an ad? Well, Samsung did pay the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 20 million in sponsorship dollars. And execs later admitted that it was part of the plan to have comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres whip out her phone and snap a selfie with Meryl Streep during the live broadcast of the Oscars with a Samsung. The fact that nearly all of the most famous pizza-munching movies stars in the world jumped in? Let’s just call that a happy bonus. Everyone loves a selfie, especially movie stars. But did anyone notice the phone was a Samsung? Even if a piece of content goes viral, it’s still possible to spend a lot of money and miss the mark with consumers.
4. A Good Year for the New Goodyear Blimp
Few marketing symbols are as iconic as the Goodyear blimp. It has been capturing the imaginations and attentions of kids and adults alike since way back in 1925. Instead of reinventing its image, Goodyear reinvented the wheel by making a whole new kind of Zeppelin. And the company didn’t stop there. The company included the world in its exciting venture by hosting an open contest to name the new floating marketing goldmine and received 15,000 submissions within four months. Now that’s engagement via imagination.
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This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising, graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering, Now what do we do?” We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
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