The Most Unusual and Creative Marketing Promotions 2009- 2010

One of the positive outcomes of an economic slowdown is the innovation that can come out of it. As businesses big and small scramble to capture precious consumer turf, what has emerged is a bold, new attitude in business marketing. All the sluggish sales and depleted consumer confidence were no doubt the driving force behind a recent flurry of marketing promotions that are more creative and daring then ever. Here are a variety of examples of some of the most unusual and creative marketing campaigns over the past couple of years.

Guerrilla Marketing At Its Best

Guerrilla marketing thrives on the unexpected and unconventional, the goal being to create an impressionable, viral buzz.

Heineken Beer:

A prime example of a well executed guerilla marketing campaign is Heineken’s boldly staged fake event held on the same date and time of a UEFA Champions League match between AC Milan and Real Madrid on 21 October 2009. Instead of watching the soccer game, over a thousand unsuspecting people (from boyfriends to employees) were basically forced to go to a classical music concert.

And also from Heineken is the famous Walk-in Fridge commercial.

Simultaneously, some big Walk-in Fridge cardboard boxes were put on the streets of Amsterdam on garbage day, suggesting that the huge fridge was really for sale and that people were buying it.


Burger King -WhopperFace:

This one’s from Brazil, highlighting a more personalize approach to receiving your burger: you get what you want… with your face on it.

The Mini Vs Porsche:

The CEO of Mini challenged Porsche to a well-publicized race…

And here’s the result. Who was the true winner here? You decide.

Life in the Fast Lane with Volkswagon

Not to be outdone, Volkswagon also entered into the guerilla-marketing fray.

German Wings

This was filmed on an Easyjet flight- one of their biggest competitors- bemoaning the economy-minded service. Gotta love their guts.

Chubb Nord Alarm Safety Systems

Check out this persuasive direct mailing campaign An ounce of prevention…

Environmentalists may have not appreciated this online insurance company’s stunt (unless biodegradable bubble wrap was used) but it definitely made an unavoidable impression.

And here is a collection of some of the best guerilla and ambient marketing schemes from around the world:


TV Series Trueblood


“Ugly Betty”






Barbeque Sales


 Campaign against gaffiti 





 Campaign against smoking



Copenhagen Zoo



Nikkon Cameras





Rock radio station




Hair stylist






Fitness Company


Monday Hot Wings Promotion


The Discovery Channel


Don’t forget to brush your teeth…


Body piercing


Coca Cola New Grip Bottle


Buy better dog food, or else…


Lipton Tea



Golf GTI



Other Notable Examples of Unconventional Marketing

Retail Stimulus

Aside from guerilla tactics, numerous businesses are choosing other forms of unconventional marketing. For example, with government incentives winding down, some US retail chain stores are offering special discounts and unprecedented large-scale loans to get business rolling.



Sam’s Club, Target and Toys “R” Us are trying to regenerate sluggish sales via unconventional promotions. With the cooperation of the SBA, Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club is about to launch a program that will offer shoppers loans of up to $25,000. Toys “R” Us is about to kick off a holiday fund program which augments shoppers’ savings, and for a cent or at no cost, Office Depot is giving away office products. Not to be left behind, Target will grant its credit card holders 5% discounts.

Target Bullseye Gives Campaign

Some businesses are taking a more philantrophic route. Retail chain Target gives a whopping 5% percent of its income to charity. In May of 2009, it allocated these funds to charities via its “Bullseye Gives” campaign on Facebook. The company announced that it would dole out the money – which totals about $3 million every week – to charities that were selected by Facebook users.


Ikea’s Facebook Furniture Giveaway

At the end of last year, Ikea chose to harness the power and reach of the social media mega site, Facebook, to promote a new store in Malmo, Sweden. In the campaign they created a Facebook profile for store manager Gordon Gustavsson. They uploaded images of furnished and decorated showrooms to his photo album and promoted a photo tagging giveaway. The first person to tag an object got to take it home. The enthusiasm knew no bounds – users embedded the link on their profiles, with their newsfeeds stoking the viral epidemic. Ikea may have given away a couple thousand dollars of merchandise, but it also successfully advertised the opening of their newest store and generated worldwide recognition for their brand.

All in all, marketing efforts in the past few years have become increasingly out-of-the-box for obvious reasons: When it comes to fighting the aftershocks of an economic earthquake, conventional just doesn’t cut it.



Small Businesses, Tap Into the Power of Collective Buying

Collective buying, or group buying, is a new trend that benefits businesses and consumers alike. Group buying websites, such as, offer discounts on goods and services. Unlike traditional coupon sites, they encourage consumers to spread the buzz and bring in other customers by guaranteeing the bargains only if enough customers take advantage of the promotion.


These sites, which are quickly gaining in popularity, offer a cheap way for businesses to advertise and drum up business. For example, writes up the information provided by the business, and then promotes the deal with online contests and email blasts. Potential buyers use social networking to encourage others to sign up for the deal. One website,, provides buyers with a special link to send to friends. If a buyer persuades three people to purchase the voucher, that customer receives it for free.

Compared to other advertising methods, group buying offers instant revenue and brand promotion with a clear return on investment (ROI). Within one day, business owners know exactly how many people have taken advantage of a particular promotion. They receive immediate payment for purchase of their vouchers. Even if the buyers never redeem their coupons, business owners retain the payments.

As an added bonus, collective buying exposes your business to a new demographic. Group buying websites have a vast audience of deal-seekers who are motivated to spread news of a good offer.

Viewed from any angle, this business opportunity has a lot to offer. Dream up an offer that customers can’t refuse, and find a collective buying website to market it.

5 Creative Marketing Strategies That Work

With holiday sales slumping across the board and consumer confidence holding at all-time lows, some small businesses are finding creative ways to keep customers coming and buying. If you are looking for ways to revamp your marketing strategy without straining your budget here are five techniques that work. And as you can see from the examples that follow, for those who are prepared to be creative and maybe even a little off-beat, there could be a big pay off at the end.

1. Will It Blend. Create a viral marketing campaign consisting of catchy articles, blog posts, or videos.

Blendtec has been promoting the power and versatility of its line of blenders in a popular series of infomercials featuring Blentec founder Tom Dickson blending a host of unlikely items including: golf balls, an iPhone, the Wii remote, credit cards, and the McDonald’s Extra Value Meal. There are also videos featuring attempts to “blend” the writers strike or the political parties.

2. Heart Attack Grill. Find a way to use even bad publicity to your advantage.

The Heart Attack Grill was founded in 2005 by “Dr.” Jon Basso who unabashedly promotes his restaurant’s unhealthy menu. The Heart Attack Grill offers burgers called single, double, triple, or even quadruple bypass (depending on the number of beef patties), beer, hard liquor, regular soda, unfiltered cigarettes and french fries cooked in pure lard all served by a scantily clad staff of “nurses.” What could be better?

3. The Million Dollar Homepage . Find creative, low cost ways to to use widely available material and mediums to advertise your business: think body art (logo hair cuts, hand-stampers, fake tattoos), logo projectors, or…

Check out what one clever entrepreneur did. He created a page with a 1,000,000 pixels, and charged people a dollar per pixel to advertise. Not a bad way to earn a quick million!

4. Bottled Water Marketing Campaigns. Create a brand distinction even when the differences are small or nonexistent.

With high profile endorsements and grandiose claims about their product’s purity and contribution to good health, bottled water producers have successfully created a distinction between natural mineral water versus tap water in the minds of many consumers. And this image has persisted even as several bottled water producers were exposed for fraudulent claims.

Today, bottled water producers are further buffing up their brand distinction by supporting a variety of green initiatives even differentiating themselves from soft drinks.

5. The Mentos/Coke Geyser Video Contest. Get your customers involved in promoting your business. Request personal videos from your customers that show them using your products, giving them as a gift, or shopping at your store. Run contests for the best logo or T-shirt design or the best commercial.

A recent Mentos/Coke geyser video contest in conjunction with YouTube brought 150 contestants. Now there are about 10,000 videos with this theme. The contest also set off a viral frenzy as the videos were shared among countless people.