When Brands Used Unconventional Marketing Tactics That Worked
Businesses are, at their core at least, a collective of individuals, and even if two different brands occupied the same market space, those unique elements and people will shape them into more distinct companies.
Because of this, simple reliance on tactics that have worked before for another company is not a guarantee of success; sometimes there are enough small changes to turn what feels for one brand like a unique, honest approach into one that feels contrived and lacking in imagination.
Take, for example, the many attempts fast food brands have made to imitate the unconventional social media approach of Wendy’s, which in some cases managed to at least be weird but lacked the anarchic energy and shock value that made the restaurant’s social media work so well.
Instead of borrowing what works, we should look instead at the approach successful brands made using unconventional marketing tactics, from boosting their image and engagement to changing their entire industry.
- Volvo Interception
In a campaign so simple and yet so genius, Volvo managed to generate a ton of interest during one of the biggest marketing events in the world, spending a microscopic amount whilst benefitting from the millions spent by their competitors.
Volvo’s Interception campaign took place during the 2015 Super Bowl, one of the most watched sporting events in the world. Volvo took full advantage of this by creating a contest where customers could win a Volvo car by tweeting whenever they saw a competitor’s car advert.
It worked incredibly, at one point generating 2000 tweets per minute about Volvo, becoming the only car company to trend during the match, and led to a 70 per cent increase in sales.
Whilst there’ll never be another opportunity to exactly match what Volvo did, it does highlight how clever marketing and swimming against the current can pay dividends.
- Arby’s Niche Marketing, Wide Appeal
One of the most fascinating elements of social media is that it shows just how many distinct and diverse voices are out there and that you can make a very successful account out of creatively appealing to a distinct niche.
Arby’s is a fast food sandwich restaurant that noticed around the time Wendy’s and KFC did that there is a lot of money in appealing to the geek market.
However, knowing that the “roasting” and “being very weird” markets had been locked up, Arby’s tailored their marketing around the video game crowd, creating papercraft designs of various different common and uncommon characters alongside their food.
Some of them were as simple as making a lightsaber out of a line of ketchup, and others involved art inspired by the retro cartoon style of Cuphead or based on popular but somewhat niche titles like Skullgirls.
Geeks who spotted the jokes and references shared them widely and it boosted the popularity of a brand that had struggled for a long time.
- Will It Blend?
One of the earliest viral hits in the early days of Youtube, Will It Blend was initially a short series of videos by the company Blendtec, whose founder Tom Dickson appeared in the videos to try to blend a range of rather bizarre items, from odd food combinations to iPhones.
In no small part helped by how ahead of the curve it was, Will It Blend immediately boosted sales and increases the profile of the company, to the point that many people do not realise it was a marketing campaign.
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