Marketing is a pivotal part of any business or startup if it is to flourish. Interestingly, marketing is such an open-ended field that approaches are infinite and diverse. Marketing approaches that work can be contextual and in some cases universal. You can directly copy what another business or startup is doing and it can actually work for yours. In some cases, you will have to tweak what another is doing so that it works for yours. The bottom line is that there is a lot you can learn from looking at what others do or have done. In this article, I discuss some of the unusual marketing campaigns that have been done across the world.

Google’s Photo App Cupcake Campaign

When Google wanted to promote its new photo app they came up with an unusual campaign. They rolled out the campaign in Texas, USA. They would move around with a truck full of cupcakes. For people to get the cupcakes they did not pay using money. Rather they would have to download the app and take a photo with it – that was the payment. The campaign was atypical but it gained so much traction that another brand even gate-crashed the campaign.


This was a marketing campaign done by Uber in Mexico City. The thrust was to drive brand awareness in a very unorthodox way. They designed small drones that would be attached with small banners promoting the brand. The drones would then be dispatched to places where there will be significant vehicle traffic. This was especially during peak hour periods. Imagine in your vehicle stuck in a traffic jam due to peak hour and you would see a small drone flying outside your window with a small banner. The campaign was quite ingenious and it did work by generating the necessary buzz.

Poo Pourri

This is a product that is meant to make your toilet or bathroom smell fragrant. About 8 years ago the company making it wanted to drive more sales so they came up with a campaign. They decided to create a video where a popular actress was telling funny jokes based on poo (i.e. faeces). The video was 2 minutes long and was designed as an advert but they also uploaded it on social media platforms. The video went viral, garnering tens of millions of views on social media. The campaign generated the much-needed hype and the product sold big time. The fact that Poo Pourri does actually make the toilet fragrant compounded the success of the campaign.

Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice Marketing Campaign

This was from sometime 12 years ago. This is one of the most unusual and interesting marketing campaigns I have ever come across. The summary of the campaign was as follows: “You like your friends, but you love the Whopper. What would you do for a free WHOPPER®? Now is the time to put your fair-weather Web friendships to the test. Install WHOPPER® on your Facebook profile and we’ll reward you with a free flame-broiled WHOPPER® when you sacrifice 10 of your friends.”

Strangely the campaign turned out to be hugely successful. Well over 200 000 people sacrificed 10 Facebook friends each – that is over 2 million people unfriended for a free burger. Of course, there were mixed feelings amongst the public. However, there is no such thing as bad publicity – the campaign made the WHOPPER® widely popular.

Red Bull Stratos Campaign

This was back in 2012 when Red Bull sponsored an extreme sports event. The event entailed a skydiver (Felix Baumgartner), who was to try to set a new world record for the highest dive from the sky. He was flown to the stratosphere, just over 39 kilometres above the earth by a helium-powered balloon. He was to skydive from that height and it manages to, setting a new world record. Red Bull streamed the event live on YouTube, garnering a massive 8+ million viewers. This created so much publicity for Red Bull globally and translated into great revenue for the company.

So you might be wondering why I decided to do such an article, right? Aside from sharing with you some interesting stories I wanted to do more than that. I wanted to show you that you can go way outside the box when it comes to marketing campaigns for your business or startup. Do not be limited by what is deemed the norm or conventional. Be daring and explorative enough to do the unusual because it might work in ways you never imagined.