There are plenty of ways to market products and services to consumers. There’s time-tested methods that boost brand recognition, customer loyalty and persuade that something is worth buying. Then there’s the weird viral ads that come from an angle no sane marketer would think appropriate, yet somehow they’re the ones that end up with all the success.
How would you market a product designed to be sprayed before using the restroom? You couldn’t just come out and say why it’s appealing, could you? Well, according to the makers of PooPourri, of course you could! Their commercials addressed a taboo topic with humor and bluntness to demonstrate the product’s appeal to their target audience.
The fact that PooPouri’s “Girls Don’t Poop” ad approached the topic with such audacity and wit is what made it a viral success.
2. Dumb Ways to Die
The topic of death is slightly less taboo than the topic PooPourri addresses, but it’s still fairly uncomfortable. You normally wouldn’t use it as the focal point for an advertisement, yet that’s exactly what Metro Trains did for a public service announcement. The ad itself shows the many “dumb ways to die” that involve trains. It gained momentum for the weird but brilliant way it informed people to try their best not to die around trains.
3. Orbit’s Gum “Tournament” Ad
Replacing swear words with other less offensive phrases is usually viewed as an acceptable way to circumvent swearing, but Orbit Gum’s “Tournament” ad takes it to an entirely new level.
Clever phrases are used to emphasize just how clean Orbit Gum can make your mouth feel. The message is clear, even if it’s delivered in an odd way.
That tackiness, allusions, and innate oddness are what made this ad so popular.
4. 1st For Women Print Ads
1st For Women is an insurance firm which markets its services specifically to women. They illustrate this with two-page advertisements that illustrate how much smarter women can be when compared to men. Of these ads, the one to gain the most momentum among social media is one where three guys are proving how poking an electric fence probably hurts. The tag line of “That’s why we insure women.” is what makes this ad so effective—it is reminiscent of now-infamous ads from the early 20th century, when women were regularly portrayed in a similar way. The 1st for Women ad is sexist and callous, yes, but it is doing something right if it’s had so much success on social media.
Long shots that follow a charismatic spokesman selling razors sent directly to your door, featuring a small child shaving a man’s head and a man dressed in a bear costume, couldn’t possibly get any weirder. The thing about this ad is that it worked. It utilized “random” humor, incorporating elements that made the viewer really feel as if the man in the ad was talking to them.
6. Kmart’s “Ship My Pants” Ad
This entire ad campaign is based on the fact that the word “ship” sounds terribly similar to another word—a word that cannot be said on television. The whole ad watches like the result of a marketing exchange between the Kmart and a giggling 13-year-old, but its popularity proves that it works.
Kmart uses this similarity for comic effect and shock factor, playing off the idea that everyone knows what they’re alluding to but in the context of the ad the allusions are completely innocent.
Odd Might Mean Viral
While these six examples show that weirdness can mean success, that doesn’t always mean that oddness will work with your intended audience. There’s always the chance that it could backfire on you and actually cause you to lose customers. So, if you feel like getting a little edgy with your advertising and attempting a viral ad, keep in mind that any controversy over a confusing, disgusting, or otherwise offensive ad could be blamed on you.
[ Informational credit to Marketing Exchange ]