50 Weird & Interesting Ad & Marketing Campaigns – Part 2

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1Akagi Nyuguyo

The Japanese ice cream company 'Akagi Nyuguyo' created a commercial in 2019 to publicly apologize about needing to raise the price of their ice cream bars for the first time in 25 years from 60 yen to 70 yen.


2. In the 1980s, the mercenary magazine “Soldier of Fortune” was involved in three cases where they were sued for running “Gun for Hire” classified ads used for hiring a hitman. The magazine ended up receiving a suspension of publication of classified advertisements for mercenary work.


3. In 2014, Singapore’s anti-gambling agency, in a bid to leverage the world cup fever, published an advert that showed a worried kid telling his friend that his father had bet all their savings on Germany winning the world cup. Germany actually did end up winning the world cup.


4. In 1992, Barqs root beer ran a promotion giving away USSR memorabilia with proof of purchase as a ‘Communism is going out of business sale,‘ resulting in a 30% increase in sales.


5. “Lunch atop a skyscraper”- one of America’s most iconic photos taken in 1932 was staged as part of the photoshoot to promote the opening of the Rockefeller Centre in New York. This is just one of several photos featuring real steelworkers taken as part of the same photo shoot.


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6Prostate Cancer Ad

In 2007, British comedian Bob Monkhouse appeared in a TV commercial for a Prostate cancer research organization. They used a body double, a voice-over artist, and computer technology to produce the advert because Monkhouse had died of prostate cancer in 2003.


7. In 2008, Doritos broadcasted a 6-hour long video advertisement into space directed towards the Ursa Major constellation. The Advert was called ‘tribe’ and featured Doritos sacrificing another Dorito to some salsa.


8. The song Original Prankster was offered as a free MP3 download on The Offspring’s official site in October 2000 to promote their album ‘Conspiracy Of One.’ A random winner was then selected and they won $1 million.


9. Burger King launched a $40 million ad campaign in November 1985 called “Where’s Herb?” The idea was to find a character named Herb who had never been to Burger King. Other chains pointed out that if Herb wasn’t at Burger King, it meant he probably liked other chains’ burgers more. Burger King’s profits fell 40% in 1986.


10. In 2016, Yukon Territory ran an awareness campaign advocating for Vitamin D with the slogan “We all need the D.”


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11Lamborghini Strategy

Lamborghini doesn’t make tv commercials because it is an ineffective way of reaching their target audience and “cheapens” their brand.


12. Nintendo held a now-lost livestream boxing event to promote Super Smash Bros. in 1998. The lost event included Mario, Yoshi, Pikachu, and Donkey Kong costumes in a boxing match. As of now, only a few screenshots from the event are available. The footage is being searched for by fans.


13. The most complained about British ad campaign is a 2005 advert for KFC, which showed call center workers singing with their mouths full.


14. A device named An0m was marketed to criminal organizations as super-secure, with its own closed messaging network. It was actually run by law enforcement across multiple countries, who got copies of every communication sent through it.


15. Apple was allowed to advertise the iPhone X in the UK as capable of shooting “studio-quality portraits” because there was no finite definition of what studio-quality means.


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16Superbowl Ads

In Canada, Superbowl ads are nowadays considered an integral part of the Superbowl program. The CRTC (which regulates Canadian TV) specifically bans broadcasters from substituting the American ads with Canadian ones.


17. Between 1967 and 1991, companies in USSR produced thousands of TV ads for non-existent products.


18. In 2005, the UK's Advertising Standards Authority demanded the cancellation of an ad where 50 Cent remarked on having really survived being shot 9 times, saying that the ad was “[..] implying it was possible to survive being shot nine times.” Reebok accepted their demands and withdrew the campaign.


19. Despite a $34 million advertising campaign in the United States by General Mills Inc., their breakfast cereal snack Fingos only lasted from 1993 to 1994.


20. In 2018, Domino’s in Russia offered up to 100 free pizzas every year for 100 years if a customer got the Domino’s logo tattooed visibly on their body. Initially intended to last a month the promotion proved to be so popular Domino’s ended it after a week with 350 accepted winners.


211992 Nike Superbowl Ad

In 1992, Nike made a Super Bowl commercial where an animated Bugs Bunny played basketball with a real-live Michael Jordan. The commercial was so successful that Warner Brothers decided to turn it into a whole movie (Space Jam).


22. There was once a Colgate marketing campaign in Thailand, where once you finished eating ice cream or a lollipop, it revealed a toothbrush-shaped stick with the message “Don’t forget”, alongside the Colgate branding.


23. In the UK the maximum amount of airtime allowed for TV commercials is 12 minutes for any particular clock hour.


24. There was a Victoria’s Secret “The Perfect Body” ad that sparked controversy in 2014 because it featured thin underwear-clad female models who all had the same figure. A petition asking the company to apologize for their “harmful marketing campaign” reached nearly 10,000 signatures.


25. Casio was widely accused of false advertising after launching an ad where a hockey player used a g shock watch as a puck to demonstrate its toughness. However, once a TV news channel replicated and verified the ad’s authenticity it gained popularity amongst the general public.

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