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4 Creative Marketing Ideas, Why They Worked and How They Can Help You

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creative marketing ideas

InkHead gives you some successful creative marketing ideas.

Your business has a problem: You need a smart, creative, original marketing campaign that’s going to win over your client demographic. That demographic could be anything. Perhaps it’s another business or an international industry. Maybe it’s the neighborhood your small town coffee shop is located in.

These are just matters of scale. If you want to improve your business and build a brand, you need marketing. Before you solve this problem however, it makes sense to do your research. Understand what it is that makes some campaigns memorable and what leaves others in the dust.

From promotional products to TV ads, the media an advertising campaign chooses matters less than the content that drives it. Take a look at these four successful campaigns, examine what helped them work and apply that to your own pursuits.

1. Iams’ barbell Frisbee
The pet food company Iams is known world-over as a leading competitor in their market. According to Creative Guerilla Marketing, the business’s creative team came up with a clever marketing campaign based around a single promotional giveaway: custom Frisbees.

The Frisbee, colored a metallic grey, was specially designed to resemble a barbell weight, with the words STRONG DOGS embossed at the top in beefy capital letters. This campaign works on multiple levels. First, what dog owner wouldn’t take a free Frisbee as a promotional giveaway? This is part of the success of promotional items generally. But in this case, Iams focused on a product they specifically knew their client demographic would have a use for.

Second, the product incorporated both style and message into a simple package. With their barbell look, the Frisbees are riffing on the legitimate nutritional benefits Iams assures dog owners their foods offer. Every time the dog owner plays a game of catch with that Frisbee, he or she is reminded of the product – and the fact that Iams has a sense of humor.

2. Sony Bravia’s rainbow of bouncing balls
Sony, another well known company, is in the curious tech industry position of needing to reinvent its image slightly when new products debut. In 2007, when their line of Bravia TVs hit shelves, the company needed a memorable ad to differentiate this new line of technology from any other previous sets. The idea was to set a new benchmark.

According to Inc., Sony hired Fallon, an ad agency based in London. The concept they came up with was to drop a quarter of a million bouncy balls down the famously winding and hilly streets of San Francisco. They’d catch the whole thing on film and broadcast it as a commercial, aired in slow motion with a riveting soundtrack.

The commercial worked, but not simply for the audacity of dropping that many rubber balls through San Francisco. Watching the Bravia commercial, it’s clear that the real success is in the multitude of color on screen at once. This showed off the Bravia technology – capturing the neon bouncy ball hues in crisp high definition – but it harkened back to a very basic marketing tactic: Be bright and colorful.

This can work with promotional products, too. Tired of boring tan, beige or green

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? Why not bring your company to the forefront by introducing more intense colors? Just because they’re bold and not earth tones doesn’t mean they’re any less eco-friendly!

3. Alzheimers New Zealand’s eraser flash drive
Alzheimers New Zealand, a not-for-profit group providing support, education and other services throughout the country, clearly has a sense of humor about their work – the organization website features a large photo of a shaving razor with a dab of toothpaste on it. This kind of humor contrasts sharply with their decidedly unfunny topic, Alzheimer’s Disease, but by contrasting it provides an attention-grabbing attitude – and poignancy – that other nonprofit medical groups could only hope for.

They carried this same wit in the face of sickness to a promotional product campaign highlighted by Creative Guerrilla Marketing. The organization handed out giveaway flash drives hidden inside hollowed out erasers. Inscribed on top of the cleverly concealed USB was the message “Alzheimer’s Erasers: Your memories. Save them.”

Here, humor and poignancy came together to craft an important message that surely raised support for a very important cause, and won Alzheimers New Zealand a little well-earned attention.

4. Apple’s “I’m a Mac” ads
Apple has a history of running memorable campaigns, from the infamous 1984 Super Bowl spot to “Think different” and the iPod silhouette music ads. But only one campaign won Apple the Grand Effie award for advertising.

These TV spots, which featured a stuffy, brown-suited John Hodgman standing next to a younger, business casual Justin Long, equated product with public persona. PCs were behind the times, the ad said, but Macs are young, creative and the future, just like you.

The ad’s success is rooted in how it appeals to the ways in which consumers see themselves. Rather than selling them something they need, Apple’s goal is to sell them the self-image they want. As it turns out, this is a wildly successful way to market a product.

You can use some of the same methods with promotional items. Take a look at your company and evaluate what kind of image you have to offer your clients. Special promotional campaigns could include personalized wrist watches or sunglasses, both from celebrated brands. Or appeal to your clientele’s inner athletes with performance sportswear or water bottle giveaways.

Remember, the end goal isn’t just for your item to promote your company, it’s to help your customer attain a specific self-image, whether through designer accessories or sportswear.

These examples probably have you mulling over a few marketing campaigns that have captured your attention at some point in the past. Take the opportunity to think these over, and do the same with the ads you see on TV tonight. Sometimes, all it takes is the right slogan or a clever pun to help your brand take off.

Thinking of incorporating promotional products into your marketing strategy? Rather than go in blind, consider how clever marketing campaigns of the past could inform yours. Then load up on custom tote bags, Frisbees and other giveaway items that’ll build your brand.

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