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Newsletter #1033: The “Ridiculous Ideas” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

It’s important to test new things, try stuff out, and push the boundaries of what you can do with your marketing. You won’t always come out with a winner, but sometimes you just might think of something so ridiculous that it works.

Here are three examples of ridiculous stuff that turned out to be great ideas:

1. 200-dozen donuts
2. Carrying strangers
3. A book tank
4. Check it out: 3D Sculpting

1. 200-dozen donuts

Last year, Krispy Kreme UK delivered a box of 200-dozen donuts to a job resourcing company’s office in Wales. The 11×3-foot box required eight people to carry it and a big distribution truck to deliver it. They did it to announce Krispy Kreme’s new donut delivery service for weddings and corporate events — and for something as mundane as a new service, they earned a lot of word of mouth.

The lesson: Could they have just delivered 200 regular Krispy Kreme boxes? Probably. But delivering a ton of donuts isn’t newsworthy. Delivering a donut box that three people can fit into turned their new service into a news story.

Learn more: Slate

2. Carrying strangers

When 39 escalators in a Stockholm subway station were out of order, Reebok outfitted a troupe of athletes from a local crossfit gym in their gear and sent them to offer to physically carry commuters up the stairs. They also helped carry their bags, babies, and strollers — but the real spectacle was seeing strangers being slung over another stranger’s shoulder up a broken escalator.

The lesson: That was some quick thinking on Reebok’s part. They took a negative situation in a crowded place with a captive audience and turned it into an opportunity to do something lighthearted and fun.

Learn more: Adweek

3. A book tank

When you think about how to promote World Book Day, you probably think of the usual suspects — like librarians, teachers, and book stores — as the best promoters. But for World Book Day in Argentina, 7UP commissioned artist Raul Lemesoff to build one of his infamous “weapons of mass instruction,” a car converted into a mobile library shaped like a tank. Raul then drove the tank around urban areas and schools handing out the 900 books shelved on the outside of the car.

The lesson: A library shaped like a tank catches people off guard, causes a scene, and gets people to gather around. That reaches a new audience that a typical World Book Day promotion might not reach.

Learn more: Colossal

4. Check it out: 3D Sculpting

This web-based 3D sculpting app lets you manipulate an object using a bunch of crazy graphic design tools. We’re not exactly sure how to use them all, but it’s still fun to mess around with and create weird shapes.

Check it out: 3D Sculpting

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  1. Leah M Berry July 17, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

    A great way to serve and attract customers is to always be looking for opportunities to help others. Many people see needs around them and think, “That’s not my job.” But what if we instead continually look for problems around us and think, “How can I help solve this problem?”

    Andy, thanks for sharing some great examples of how we can look for those opportunities to serve. It’s not just about doing good and building good businesses. These examples also show it can be a lot of fun.

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