Marketing is a really intricate system of finding a niche audience and getting their attention. In the days when things were simpler when there were less online forums and social media outlets to cover, you could just simply rent a billboard and work with the customers you got. The twenty-first century has introduced us to a lot of new marketing techniques (some of them quite fringe) that went on to have remarkable and shocking results. Here are a few of the more notable marketing techniques in the last couple years that have really stood out and what we can get out of their success.


Burger King’s “the Whopper Sacrifice” App

The idea behind it was simple: select ten of your friends, unfriend them, and get a free whopper. Burger King only managed to give away 20,000 Whoppers before Facebook shut down the App, but what the app did was to focus on the very core of social media. Are your friends worth keeping or would you get rid of ten of them for free fast food? Even though the app didn’t last long it had a lasting impact on social media marketers. It teaches us that we shouldn’t be afraid to push the envelope, and that even the simplest calls to action work really well when coupled with a great deal.


True Blood: Revelation from HBO

HBO’s marketing campaign for the first season of True Blood is one of the all-time greats for building a story around something. Focusing on the horror genre, popular horror bloggers were sent packages with information that alluded to their new release, along with information that led them on a trail to uncover what HBO was plotting for their new series. None of the associated media ever mentioned anything about the new TV show; it was all background story. Because of this campaign, True Blood was one of the most anticipated shows that HBO had ever produced. What HBO taught us is that a niche audience can be leveraged to raise publicity about something and that storytelling goes a really long way to building the hype for something.


“Elf Yourself” by Office Max

Building on holiday tradition, Elf Yourself capitalized on a previous underutilized interactive technology by allowing users to put their friends, co-workers, or pretty much anyone in an e-card featuring them dancing as elves which could then be shared around. It has become something of a holiday tradition with some people, something that’s almost unheard of in viral marketing. What we learn from the Elf Yourself campaign is that if you give people something new and seasonal it could easily turn into an every-year thing if it’s well-received enough. We also see that shareability of a marketing campaign such as this only serves to make the campaign grow exponentially.


The Old Spice Guy

The team that turned “I’m on a horse,” into a recognizable Internet phrase had its debut in 2010 with a simple ad that brought humor, sex appeal, and intrigue, breathing new life into a brand that had turned into a bit of a joke before that point. What we learned from the Old Spice Guy is that appeal should be to your entire audience. If you have a spokesperson, make sure that he’s well-liked all around. Also, keeping your clips short, concise and to the point with a catchy end phrase or a recognizable theme (the Old Spice Whistle in this case) does a whole lot for your brand in terms of recognition.

Think Outside the Box

Although you may not have the same kind of budget these companies have when they develop their marketing strategies, you can still learn quite a lot from them. Following their lead can allow you a level of success that is comparable, although on a smaller scale, when it comes to your own marketing endeavors. These simple, yet genius marketing ideas prove that interesting content can go viral! Don’t be afraid to try new things or to push the envelope. Your success hinges on your ability to spread your message. Seize your opportunities to do so.