Most Innovative Marketing Campaigns

The Don Draper’s of today must miss the golden age of advertising when the main challenge was to write memorable copy. Today, the biggest challenge is to cut through the clutter and grab the attention of wandering eyeballs.

Before iPods, families gathered around the radio listening to Jack Benny on the cigarette-funded “The Lucky Strike Program.” TV commercials were unavoidable when only a handful of channels were offered. Now HBO and TiVo make it possible to stay completely ignorant of the latest new Coke flavor that Pepsi is futilely pushing. The introduction of new technologies provides limitless opportunities to create and distribute content in new ways. This has proved challenging to advertisers who can no longer rely solely on old marketing standbys like endorsements and jingles to make a splash. Recent successful marketing campaigns have taken risks by striving to create something unique and innovative.

Toyota Scion iQ Babes ‘N’ Donuts
During the first week of April 2012, Scion released four commercials starring milk, donuts, and actors from four different corners of society. In each commercial, four people are seen eating donuts and drinking milk inside a small 2012 Scion iQ while it is driven in tight circles, also known as donuts. See what they did there?

Granted, it doesn’t sound that interesting yet, but what if I told you that one of the groups was “Babes” in bikinis getting covered in creamy white milk, complete with a money shot 29-seconds into the ad? It’s not exactly Ridley Scott’s politically-charged 1984 Apple ad, but it’s daring and memorable nonetheless. The other three commercials star “Dudes” that look like they are straight out of the Jersey Shore, cops sporting aviator sunglass, and bearded bikers going to town on bear claws. For some reason, the video featuring the bikini models getting covered in milk has 10 times as many views as the other videos.

Prius Solar Flowers
Some products are inherently limiting when it comes time to market them. No matter how many bikini-clad models you cover in diary, the Toyota Prius Hybrid car will never be the sexy buy. If your job is to spur sales of the Prius, you better find a way to emphasize the environment-friendly virtues of the car without sounding like an Al Gore public service announcement.

Instead of a passive billboard educating consumers about the solar panels used to run the ventilation fans in a Prius, the marketing team at Saatchi & Saatchi LA succeeded in physically engaging the public with an innovative and interactive campaign. Towering solar flowers were created and placed in urban centers to allow visitors to “relax and recharge.” The solar energy captured by the beautiful flowers provided wired urban dwellers with enough power to charge cell phones, laptops, and even access free Wi-Fi. It may not be sexy, but it sure is convenient.

Royal Caribbean Gives New York Subways a Nautical Makeover

Subways are efficient, reliable, and the envy of other cities that rely on cars and busses to transport large numbers of people. Luxurious is one word not usually attributed to these underground people movers. Royal Caribbean recently tried to change that for some lucky passengers who stumbled upon Royal Caribbean’s pimped-out New York 42nd St S line subway cars.

Royal Caribbean ran the nautical brand campaign from December 2011 until the end of February 2012 to highlight the luxurious services offered on its cruise ships. Spa services and live performances of its on board entertainment like the musical “Chicago” is a stark contrast between the sticky seats, panhandlers, and frowns that usually greet New York subway riders. The campaign was rounded out with a Twitter campaign, contests to win for free cruises, and plenty of photo sharing. Enter a subway car expecting the normal commute and instead entering a decorated cruise ship escape - that’s a campaign passengers won’t soon forget.

Intel “Break Glass for Ultrabook”
If you came across a laptop siting inside a glass case at the airport, would you break the glass with the nearby hammer and take it? That’s what the campaign behind Intel’s Ultrabook wanted to find out.

Videos of the experiment show a parade of passersby coming up to the glass, clearly debating picking up the hammer, and finally walking away empty-handed. Eventually a daring soul at each location shattered the glass and was allowed to walk off with the laptop. The campaign has since ended, so please don’t go smashing glass the next time you are at a Windows store.
What recent innovative marketing campaigns have left an impression on you?

Tyler is a marketer and writer for

Featured image on the home page, courtesy of Beth and Christian.

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