Once in a while we come across a great marketing effort that makes us stop and stare or even participate to some activity. When that happens, you know the guys who made it are geniuses.
Then, there are some marketing efforts that make us squint and go “wtf” or, worse, run away in fear.
And so here are some of the most stupid ideas from my dear world of marketing and advertising.
10. The Taco Liberty Bell
Taco Bell has had some of the best publicity stunts ever conceived. In 1996, they put an ad in the New York Times announcing their plans to buy the liberty bell, “in an effort to help the national debt.” The ad went on to announce that the bell would be renamed the “Taco Liberty Bell.” Thousands of people complained that this was unpatriotic. But according to Entrepreneur magazine, Taco Bell’s profits increased by half a million dollars the day the ad went up, and by $600,000 the following day.
The thing is… it wasn’t true. Taco Bell ended up fooling and subsequently enraging millions of Americans. They issued a formal apology.
9. Snapple Popsicle Melts
Snapple decided to grab some attention with a seemingly harmless scheme: set a new Guinness World Record for the largest popsicle in the world, using their newest flavor of the time, Kiwi Strawberry. Sounds great. Maybe hundreds of people can take a portion for a free sweet tooth treat.
One thing they missed on, it was hot and I mean summer hot. The 171-ton popsicle began melting almost immediately, coating the New York city streets with sticky kiwi gloop.
8. Three Muses Inspired Clothing
This small and new boutique didn’t have a lot of money so the owner decided to dress up as a character from Alice in Wonderland. She asked her friends to help her out and do the same. They hit the main drag of bars in downtown Jacksonville to pass fliers and business cards. Unfortunately, Keane’s friends drank at the bars. The one dressed as a caterpillar became a drunken spectacle and got them kicked out of the first bar. That bar called the other bars and they were barred from going in.
You get what you pay for.
7. Gas Giveaway
Nothing attracts more attention than a good giveaway. Two poker Web sites, PokerShare.com and its sister site CasinoShare.com, organized a joint giveaway of 8,000 gallons of gas to New Yorkers. Back in 2006, when this stunt took place, gas prices were more than $3 a gallon. Hundreds or even thousands of New Yorkers went to get their free gas. Traffic came to a halt. Eventually, police had to shut it down as the angry crowd awaits.
6. Cash Giveaways
Who would say no to cash? On February 29, 2008, CashTomato.com, a video Web site, wanted to compete with youtube so they decided to give away money. They had done similar giveaways on the West Coast, stuffing several thousand dollars into sacks along with tomatoes and handing them out to passersby. But in New York, “street people” lined up for the money and was angry that they were being made to wait long. A few minutes before the scheduled giveaway time, a mob descended on the bags of cash and a small riot ensued, with several pedestrians getting bruised up.
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