As a marketer, you’re well aware that creating memorable content designed to set you apart from your competitors is a major challenge.. And, things have gotten only more complicated with viral content. After all, how do you expect to compete with dancing babies or a dog doing back-flips when its owner comes home?
That’s why you should consider getting a little out there with your content.
By “out there” I mean creating content that is on the funny, quirky, and weird side that can help your brand not only create a competitive advantage, but also assist you in reaching those marketing goals.
To give you a little inspiration, here are 10 brands that have successfully created content that’s “out there”.
1. Pizza Hut: ‘Eau de Pizza Hut’
I’m a huge pizza fan. It’s one of my favorite foods. However, I don’t know if I would want to walk around smelling like a delicious pie all day. Pizza Hut Canada didn’t share this thought, apparently. The chain released a fragrance that smelled like a Pizza Hut pizza fresh out of the oven.
The fragrance actually began as a joke when Pizza Hut Canada asked pizza-lovers on Facebook“Do you love the smell of a box of Pizza Hut pizza being opened? We thought so. If that smell was a perfume, what would it be called?” The social engagement strategy, which was created by creative and digital agency Grip Limited, quickly resulted in more than 280 comments and 180 likes.
The winning entry, Eau de Pizza Hut, became a reality after the positive response from fans and was sent to 110 fans to celebrate Pizza Hut reaching 100,000 Facebook fans. According to Grip’s director of business, Eric Vieira, Pizza Hut’s unique social media campaigns and communication with fans lead to a 548% engagement rate increase over the past five months in 2012.
The idea was so successful that the fragrance was brought to fans in the United States for Valentine’s Day 2013. Fans who tweeted at @PizzaHut using the hashtag #LastMinuteLovers could receive a bottle of Eau de Pizza Hut along with a $20 Pizza Hut gift card.
2. Old Spice: ‘Momsong’
Old Spice is no stranger to releasing off-the-wall content – and that’s why I’m fascinated with its marketing campaigns. The brand has been creating humorous advertisements for years starting with the viral ad campaigns starring”the man your man could smell like”.
Old Spice continued it’s winning strategy when it unveiled “Momsong” in 2014. The video was produced Portland advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy and featured upset moms creepily following their teenage sons as they become men. The video rapidly generated 1.2 million views on YouTube and Facebook.
While Old Spice had tremendous success with the campaigns starring Isaiah Mustafa, the move to feature the viewpoint of mothers was due to targeting. Since the market for its Re-fresh Body Spray is for males between the ages of 12-24 and their moms who may make purchasing decisions for them, Old Spice wanted to “entertain both of them.”
“Momsong” continued the winning Old Spice marketing strategy that focuses on short videos, spreading lots of content out across multiple channels, and keeping fans engaged by allowing them to be a part of the fun.
3. Humane Society Silicon Valley: ‘Eddie The Terrible’
Sometimes on a lazy weekend afternoon I want to veg out and enjoy something light-hearted on Comedy Central. Without fail Sarah McLachlan appears on the screen and makes me feel like a horrible human being because I’m not donating to the ASPCA – despite being a proud dog owner. Thankfully, the Humane Society in Silicon Valley went a different route and a little fun with “Eddie the Terrible”.
Instead of sugar coating the problems with the two-year chihuahua and changing the misconception that shelters are depressing, the Humane Society created a humorous and honest listing entitled A Full Disclosure Blog: Three Reasons You DON’T Want To Adopt Eddie The Terrible. The wacky ad was picked by local and national publications that praised the shelter for being truthful and creative. And, most importantly, Eddie was adopted by a retired couple who spotted the listing being discussed on a local news station.
4. PooPourri: ‘Girls Don’t Poop’
How can you market a product about a taboo topic like going to the bathroom? You own it and have some fun. That’s exactly what the makers of PooPourri, an actual product, accomplished with its 2013 viral video ‘Girls Don’t Poop.’ The before you go spray which contains natural oil blends was a success because it went directly after its target audience (women) and didn’t beat around the bush. By doing so, it made the conversion about going to the bathroom a little less awkward and helped its customers resolve a problem that we all face.
Not only has the video been viewed more than 33 million times on YouTube, the brand also shares similar lighthearted content on its social media channels. The company even asks fans to share selfies on channels like Instagram which has resulted in more than 9,000 photos with the tag #poopouri.
5. Southern Comfort: ‘Whatever’s Comfortable: Karate’
Looking to stand out from the competition and embrace your uniqueness? Take a page out of Southern Comfort’s “Whatever’s Comfortable” series. The 60-second spot “Karate” was created by Wieden + Kennedy in New York and featured a man in a salon showing off his sweet karate moves. Adweek actually dubbed the ad as its “Ad of the Week” in 2013 and states that the “campaign is all about getting consumers to ‘be their awesome selves.’” That idea matches the brand perfectly since Southern Comfort is a pretty unique product when compared to most other liquor brands.
6. The Penny Hoarder: ‘iGetFreeBeer.com’
Kyle Taylor doesn’t offer financial advice on his blog The Penny Hoarder. Instead, he shares creative ways to save money. In 2011, Taylor was tired of trying to promote his blog through the traditional techniques like creating quality content, seeking backlinks, and engaging online communities. Taylor opted to go in a different direction that’s overlooked with an offline experiment.
He selected one his articles,“I Get Paid to Buy Beer”, purchased the domain iGetFreeBeer.com, and redirected the domain to the original article on the Penny Hoarder. He then hired college students on Craigslist and Fiverr to put up bumper stickers in their towns promoting the iGetFreeBeer.com domain. In the words of Taylor, “this type of article and domain address was perfect to market to the under-30 demographic.”
The campaign only cost Taylor $120, which he states was cheaper than an AdWords campaign, and resulted in 300 new visitors. This is a perfect example that you can be creative without breaking the bank and that targeting your offline audience should never be overlooked.
7. Kmart: ‘Ship My Pants’
I would have never guessed that Kmart would create an ad that literally made me laugh out loud. But, that’s exactly what happened when the department released its “Ship My Pants” ad in 2013. The pun-filled campaign was created to promote free shipping on purchases on the store’s website. Not only did the ad make us chuckle at its immaturity, it managed to to deliver the intended message – free shipping – and had eight million views on YouTube after just one week.
Kmart also gets some additional props for going all in by embracing the #shipmypants hashtag and engaging fans on social media.
8. Anchorman 2
When a new movie is released we expect the studio to market the film through trailers and the lead actors and actresses popping up on talk shows. When the sequel to the Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman was released the marketing campaign went into overdrive.
Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy appeared in character on local news stations, gave his opinion regarding the Australian elections, and partnered with Dodge. The cross-promotional campaign with Dodge was so effective that it lead to a 40% increase in sales.
The film also had its own Tumblr page and even invited fans to “Join Ron’s New Crew.” Those who audition share their tryouts and the movie’s large social media audience voted on the contestants. This was a major victory for Paramount since it was an original marketing campaign that created content that was natural, such as having Ron Burgundy appear on actual news broadcasts, and getting fans involved as well.
9. Weird Al Yankovic: ‘Mandatory Fun’
When ‘Weird’ Al Yankovic released his 14th studio album Mandatory Fun in 2014, he embarked on a social media campaign that involved the king of pop parody release eight different music videos on eight different sites with the#8videos8days project. Yankovic teamed up with relevant content partners by having sites like Funny or Die, Collegehumor, and The Nerdist produce the videos.
The result? Yankovic scored his first number one album on the Billboard Top 200, as well as having more than 3700 articles discussing the album that generated over 3 million social media shares. In fact, the video for “Word Crimes” has been able to gain almost 28 million views.
Embracing social media was one of the reason’s that this campaign was a success, but it also proves the power of co-creation and partnering with relevant brands that can share your content with their audience is another way to spread brand awareness and boost sales.
10. Dollar Shave Club: ‘Our Blades Are F**king Great’
One of my favorite examples of how humorous content can propel your brand is the 2012 YouTube video from Dollar Shave Club. After the startup released its”Our Blades Are F**king Great” video the company succeeded in attracting 12,000 new customers in just a mere 48 hours. Today, the video has been viewed almost 21 million times on YouTube! Not too shabby for a video from an unknown company that only cost $4,500.
Through random humor, the video was able to successfully introduce Dollar Shave Club to a new audience and was a perfect example of how to create an explainer video for your brand.
Creating weird, quirky, and humorous content can be a major assist for your brand if you’re looking to achieve goals like spreading brand awareness, educating your customers, improving lead generation, and increasing customer engagement. However, you should definitely keep the following pointers in mind before embarking on a wacky campaign.
- The humor matches your brand or personality.I wouldn’t think that Showtime would create humorous content to promote the upcoming season of Homeland. That certainly wouldn’t be a good match. However, Michael Dubin, the CEO of Dollar Shave Club, studied at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, so it was natural for him to create an ad that was comical.
The humor matches with your audience.
Even if your brand is on the quirky side, you still have to create humor that matches your audience. Old Spice’s audience is mostly male, which is why the odd ‘Momsong’ appealed to that audience, as well as their mothers. It wouldn’t work if the song was about fathers and daughters.
It’s culturally relevant. British humor and American humor isn’t the same. Humor from other countries might actually be offensive elsewhere. Make sure you pay attention to what type of humor will work for your target audience.
Match the platform. Consider what format of content works best on certain platforms and consider what section of your audiences is best reached by a specific platform. For example, content directed to Millenials might be best served on Snapchat versus Facebook.
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