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Newsletter #1039: The “New Spin on Old Advertising” 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.]

While traditional advertising can be easy to ignore, every once in a while, marketers get it right and get our attention. But it’s not always because they spend more money, buy more ads, or build bigger campaigns.

Here are three old-school advertising platforms made more remarkable:

1. Bus stop ads that help out
2. Commercials that surprise and delight
3. Stickers that create photo ops
4. Check it out: The Pretentious-O-Meter

1. Bus stop ads that help out

You know that great feeling when something you need shows up right when you need it? For example, let’s say you’re waiting for the bus, and you realize your phone battery is about to die. Wouldn’t it make your day if there was a charging station sitting right next to you? That’s why VitaminWater installed USB ports inside their bus shelter billboards, so people can plug in their phones while they wait.

The lesson: Providing value to your audience is one of the best things you can do to make them happy. VitaminWater transformed a medium that usually says, “Look at me!” into something that says, “Here, let me help.”

Learn more: Adweek

2. Commercials that surprise and delight

When a group of guys had to give up the 1957 Land Rover they bought together in college, they were heartbroken. So when Land Rover saw the ad for their vintage Series 1 online, they bought it and restored it — complete with its original stickers. But before they surprised the guys with the keys, Land Rover put together a video with the restored SUV and turned it into a commercial. Each location in the commercial was a recreation of adventures the guys had taken in it before so that by the end, they were in on the surprise: Land Rover was giving them back their restored Series 1.

The lesson: Your customers have better stories about your brand than any marketing team can come up with on their own. Are you looking for ways to become a part of these stories?

Learn more: Brains on Fire

3. Stickers that create photo ops

You know the obvious mistakes you see out there in the world like a bike lane arrow headed straight into a curb, a sign for the “7st floor,” and stair railings that’ve been installed backwards? Snickers placed posters next to these blunders that say, “You make mistakes when you’re hungry.” It’s an inexpensive, guerilla-style extension of their major marketing campaign that you’d expect to see from a clever graffiti artist instead of a huge corporation.

The lesson: They didn’t have to install any new infrastructure or pay for ad space. They just took what was out in the world and added some of their humor (and marketing) to it.

Learn more: Ads of the World

4. Check it out: The Pretentious-O-Meter

Film critics and the average movie-goer don’t always agree on what makes a movie “good.” So the Pretentious-O-Meter calculates ratings from both sides to let you know where a movie sits on a spectrum of quality and mass-market likeability. For example, while films like Sideways get a 100% Pretentious rating, Beverly Hills Chihuahua gets 74% on the Mass Market side.

Check it out: The Pretentious-O-Meter

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