50 Weird & Interesting Ad & Marketing Campaigns – Part 2

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26Škoda Car Cake

Škoda actually made a full-sized car out of cake for their 2007 advertising campaign.


27. On 29 May 1886, Coca-Cola’s first ad appeared in The Atlanta Journal. Its creator John Pemberton predicted Coca-Cola would be a “national drink” but he and his son sold their stake to satisfy morphine addiction. He died penniless but the recipe remains a closely guarded trade secret even today.


28. In a promotional Volkswagen experiment, one randomized group of subway commuters were given the choice of regular stairs and the escalator while a second group could choose between musical “piano stairs” and an escalator. The piano stairs convinced 66% more people than normal to choose stairs.


29. Ikea once ran a print advert on which you urinated and if you were pregnant it gave you a 50% discount on a crib.


30. To promote the game Burnout 2:Point of Impact, Acclaim Entertainment offered to reimburse any driver in the United Kingdom who received a speeding ticket. Following a negative reaction to this from the UK government, the plan was canceled.


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31Segata Sanshiro

Sega created a character named Segata Sanshiro to promote the Sega Saturn in the late 90s, an over-the-top martial artist who performed insane antics while yelling at people to play Sega Saturn. His last commercial had him protecting Sega headquarters from a missile attack and riding it into space.


32. Apple’s famous 1984 commercial only aired twice, once locally in Idaho, and once at the Super Bowl.


33. In 1955, Burma-Shave ran a promotion for a free trip to Mars if someone sent in 900 empty bottles of their product. It was intended to be a joke, but when a man from Wisconsin duly sent in 900 bottles, they scrambled to honor the promotion; sending him to Moers, Germany.


34. In 1955, Quaker Oats gave away free land deeds as part of a cereal promotion. Participants could mail in their cereal box to redeem a plot of land sized 1 inch x 1 inch in a gold-rush region of Canada.


35. The promotion for Mission Impossible 3 had the theme playing from selected newspaper dispensers on the streets in Los Angeles. However, some of the music-playing devices fell out leading the public to think they were bombs. The bomb squad detonated a news dispenser before learning of the promotion.


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36Miracle Whip Promotion

In 2018, the town of Mayo, Florida temporarily changed its name to “Miracle Whip” as an advertising promotion with Kraft.


37. Windows 7 Whopper was sold at Burger King in Japan for the promotion of Microsoft's Windows 7. The hamburger contained 7 stacked beef patties, weighed almost 1 kg, and had more than 1,000 cal. The promotion period was extended from 7 days to 16 days due to unexpected popularity.


38. In 1984, Burger King ran an ad campaign with a character called “Mister Rodney” touting its superior cooking over McDonald’s. The campaign was stopped after Mister Rogers himself called Burger King’s vice president, who had the commercial taken off the air.


39. A toilet cleaner in the Netherlands advertised itself using the slogan “We, the people at Toilet Duck, recommend Toilet Duck.” The slogan is still being used today as a general saying to dispute the independence of an expert when his statements align with his self-interest.


40. It wasn’t until the 1930s that production techniques improved to the point where toilet paper could be advertised as “splinter-free.”


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41Vin Mariani Pope Promotion

Vin Mariani was a mixture of wine and cocaine that was popular in Europe during the late 1800s. Two popes were known to drink it and it was so much enjoyed by Pope Leo XIII that he was used on posters promoting the product. The creator won a Vatican gold medal for creating it.


42. During the 1970s, adverts for Cadbury’s chocolate flake bar were deemed too sexy for television.


43. Coca-Cola once held a promotion in Canada. They randomly printed an English word and a French Word inside bottle caps for one of their products. They wound up apologizing to a family because their bottle cap said, “YOU RETARD” on it. In French, the word ‘retard’ means ‘late.’


44. In April 2011, Irish airline Ryanair advertised ‘a place in the sun destinations’ but the advert was banned when it was found that some of the destinations had sunshine for as little as three hours per day and temperatures between 0 and 14 °C.


45. In the 1800s, Lysol promoted itself as a douching agent. By 1911, there were five reported deaths and 193 poisonings.


46French Paradox Campaign

In 1991, 60 Minutes suggested red wine was the answer to the “French Paradox” (France enjoys a low incidence of heart disease despite a diet high in saturated fats). Within a year, American consumption of wine increased 40% and some wine sellers began promoting their products as “health food.”


47. In China, TV adverts can only be shown at the end of a 45-minute program instead of during.


48. To promote the video game Splinter Cell: Conviction in New Zealand, a “prank” was created that involved an actor pointing a black imitation gun at random people on the street. Armed police were soon called.


49. The song “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters was originally written for a bank commercial.


50. In 2012, Dunkin’ Donuts launched an ad campaign in Seoul, Korea where scent spray devices installed on buses would release a fragrant coffee aroma when triggered by the sound of the DD radio jingle. The campaign reached more than 350,000 people, and sales near bus stops increased by 29%.

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