In this excerpt (from a post for Business2Community), Dan Steiner explores how pushing the envelope with marketing resulted in a lot of attention for a few notable campaigns. How does this apply to a college store? One of the main takeaways is to make sure that your marketing is fun for your audience. You may not be able to emulate HBO or Burger King's scale (nor would you want to), but you can reach your students in a fun and engaging way.
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.
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.