There is no one that grills their competitors like BK. This is the boldest & most painful roasting campaign ever produced in the history of advertising.
With the ‘Burn That Ad’ campaign, anyone who launched the Burger King app in Brazil and points their smartphone at its main competitors’ OOH & print ads (read: McDonald’s) could enjoy the sight of it being burned up instantly – in augmented reality – and turn into a BK ad.
Once the flames burned away, the consumers were left with a screen that tells them they’ve received a free Whopper to be savored at the nearest restaurant.
The BK app promo was created exclusively for Brazil to promote BK Express, a tech tool allowing any customer to pre-order and avoid lines.
The strategy allowed Burger King to outrageously & legally cannibalize the media investments of its main rival, such as billboards, magazine ads, discount coupons, and others, into ads of their own.
This is classic anti-marketing at its finest. BK effectively turned their competitor’s millions of dollars worth of advertising budget into their own, with just a simple tech gimmick.
Half a million Whoppers were supposedly given away all over the country. It won the Bronze prize at the CLIO Awards 2019.
I have to mention here that this isn’t the first time BK has trolled McD with tech innovation.
In the same year, it partnered with FCB New York to geofence thousands of McDonald’s locations across the States, then offered people a whopper for just $1 (a penny) if they visited those locations & opened their BK app there – basically conveying how quickly everyone will abandon their favorite clown for a whopper.
It pushed the app to the top “most downloaded” spot on both iOS & Android stores, stealing traffic from McD to their own outlets.
Perhaps we need a separate blog post just to explore this flaming rivalry in great detail.
Most “non-essential” offline businesses gave up during the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bombay Sapphire Design Museum & art gallery could’ve easily hung their gloves, too.
But their agency & internal team decided to fight, the legal way. They turned the entire museum into a grocery store and commissioned artists to create beautiful packaging art for everyday grocery items such as milk, rice, beans, and so on.
This way, they could call themselves an “essential business,” and continue operating.
I simply love this initiative because:
It makes the best out of a dire situation
It turns the tables on the core problem & embraces it rather than resisting it
It benefits not just the museum but the commissioned artists too
It’s well in line with the Museum’s philosophy & industry (relevance)
The campaign attracted massive footfall from curious customers who loved getting the chance to shop normal items that now felt rare & exclusive because of their packaging, underscoring Bombay Sapphire’s motto that Creativity is indeed an Essential activity.
You’ve probably heard the concept of “gamification” in business school, but if you want a practical example of how it’s done to activate brands, this highly interactive campaign by O&M Paris is perfect!
It utilizes a simple but fun challenge along with an enticing reward to attract customers to play
Captures an untapped market in public spaces + soles a genuine pain point
Propagates the core value of the product (vocabulary & word knowledge) into the campaign
Basically, it just proves that knowing more words can literally get you free stuff in life (in this case, wifi). That’s the whole point of the product, so we think this campaign is bang-on!
Like a jingle, this one’s going to be stuck in our heads for a while. We love the campaign because:
Empathy: It shows awareness about the troubles or pain points that customers are going through during COVID-19 and the Work-From-Home routine
Pricing: It chooses to try a rarely used technique called “empathetic pricing,” in which you understand your users’ situation & set the price accordingly. This P is often ignored in the 4Ps mix
Value Proposition: It perfectly integrates the value of the noise-canceling product into the storyline & purpose of the campaign. After all, if you’re in a really noisy work environment, you need Bose headphones the most, so you get to claim the biggest discount!
We’re amazed by the level of creativity and the seamless execution here. How does one even begin to conceptualize an initiative that’s so thoughtful yet so simple?
This is perhaps the most technologically advanced campaign on the list. It shows great awareness & research on the problem it is tackling and uses an interesting challenge to get people to make a good decision that benefits everybody.
Boasting a clear reward and sublime execution from start to finish, it surely deserved all the media mentions & awards the creators received.
Agency: Ogilvy for Thai Health Promotion Foundation
Most anti-smoking awareness campaigns contain graphic images of cancer victims that do not really impact smokers as the repeated exposure has normalized such messages to the point that people no longer care. This campaign re-triggers emotions by introducing a wildcard in the mix – a kid!
Would you allow your kid to smoke? If you won’t, then why do you continue pursuing the bad habit. This was the tough question pedestrians were faced with, which is why it drove such a strong impact. The campaign is brilliant because:
It’s low budget. All you need is two child actors. Makes the best use of resources
It hits the spot hard – bringing kids into an issue always stirs up hot emotions in people’s brains
It ends with a useful & simple CTA, offering help to smokers by giving them a hotline to call
Perhaps this is why it will go down in history as the best anti-smoking campaign ever. This case study shows us that brilliance actually lies in simplicity.
Sub on a Billboard ~ Subway
Agency: Above+Beyond for Subway UK
Subway has always had “freedom to customized your sandwich” as one of the central tenets in its communication.
For its UK market, the brand leveraged a 3D holographic billboard on the busy Westfield Stratford City street.
Scanning the QR code at the bottom of the billboard would let users construct their own personal sub in real-time for all the world to see.
This campaign gives the customers the power to interact with the brand one-on-one, and celebrate their taste in public, and therefore, has a high recall/shareability factor.
I also love the last bit of touch in which their sub artists delivered the actual subs to the people who participated in the campaign, resulting in instant gratification.
Agency: Netflix Thailand (in-house) for “All Of Us Are Dead”
Netflix Thailand was aiming to get eyeballs plucked out for their zombie apocalyptic K-drama, All of Us Are Dead.
In a striking OOH campaign, it decked a school bus with 3D LED screens in place of windows, which played gory clips of helpless teenagers stuck inside facing and army of the dead.
The fake bloody & messy school bus, with Netflix logos strategically plastered to convey the show’s launch message to the public, roamed the busy streets of Thailand for a few days.
Users shot videos of the bus from their cars & bikes, making the move go viral on social media. The majority appreciated Netflix’s creativity, saying it was aptly terrifying & catchy.
The setup was definitely contextual & relevant to the plot of the show (which is rare in today’s bland marketing campaigns).
Also since the bus was moving, it covered a lot of ground.
Others rightly pointed out that it was dangerous stunt, as seeing a zombie-filled bus in the middle of the road might cause drivers to lose their attention on the road temporarily, leading to accidents or injuries.
In my opinion, it was just one inch too far, because I wouldn’t put the public’s health & safety at risk just to garner attention.
Maybe the 3D/AR concept could be used in malls or other closed spaces, which would be just as spooky for passerby but not cause accidents for moving vehicles in the road.
What do you think?
Live PhotoShop ~ Adobe Creative
Agency: Abby Norm for AdobeNordic
To promote their software & upcoming #CreativeDay event, AdobeNordic (Sweden) hijacked a bus stop billboard.
When commuters sat down to wait for their bus, a hidden team took their photos & started Photoshopping them from inside the van parked in the front.
The twist? The commuters could see the process in action on the digital live billboard. As the designers used their photos to create funny caricatures, each commuter was properly surprised by the result.
This is a brilliant brand activation activity because it closely involves the product, showing people the different PhotoShopping skills can make in their lives.
More importantly, its an applaudable prank – nobody was harmed, insulted, or scammed. Just pure funny stuff with a personalized experience for each “victim.”
Few campaigns manage to solve real social problems and effectively promote their brand’s value proposition without coming off as greedy.
Everything about this initiative is a bullseye – it identifies a serious issue, offers a quirky yet practical solution, and manages to reinforce Fevicol’s ability to keep things (or people) stuck together in the most difficult scenarios.
It has a sharp insight to bank on, and the execution goes beyond ordinary solutions like tying each people’s hands with strings (which is what I would’ve come up with).
The whacky idea of giving away tshirts with multiple heads allows the brand to actively promote the cheeky tagline “Ham Jude Rahenge” (Translation: We’ll stay stuck together), courtesy of Fevicol, of course.
So that concludes our list of some cool marketing campaigns from around the world.
Which one did you enjoy the most and why? Did we miss any noteworthy case studies? Do you think creative stuff like this makes a difference for the business at all?
Don’t be shy – share your thoughts & suggestions in the comments.
We’re a full-suite remote digital marketing studio providing services like social media management, content creation, SEO, website building, branding strategy, and creative innovation for SMEs/startups.