4 of the Craziest Marketing Stunts We’ve Seen (So Far)

craziest marketing stunts

Running a small business is a pretty serious matter — most of the time.

There are invoices to sign, customers to woo and plenty of tough decisions to make, from product development to personnel to budgeting.

While it’s not always fun and games, there is one area of small business ownership where it’s perfectly acceptable to let your hair down and put your creativity on display: marketing! If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration, check out a few of our favorite wild and wacky ways other brands have found to give their business some buzz.

Benefit Takes Their Brow Business on the Road

In the U.K., brows are pretty serious business — but Benefit Cosmetics realized that plenty of their would-be customers lived in rural areas without access to a Benefit Boutique.

Their solution? Deck out a pink all-terrain vehicle, fill it with “brow experts” (yes, that’s an actual profession) and bring the waxing, tinting and shaping to the masses — or, at least, to a few select winners of a Facebook contest.

The Brow Mobile spent three months traveling throughout the UK and Ireland, making house calls to those in need of some brow TLC and gaining a fair amount of publicity in the process!

There’s Something in the Water in Los Angeles

Although National Tequila Day isn’t a federal holiday (yet), Jose Cuervo, purveyor of mid-shelf tequila, decided to celebrate in style anyway. The brand set up three very special water fountains in L.A. that dispensed silver tequila instead of H2O.

Free tequila definitely created a buzz in more ways than one, with hundreds lining up to sip from the fountains. Security guards were in place to ensure no one under the legal drinking age got a taste of the goods, and only a quarter of an ounce was dispensed at a time, with a three-sip maximum per person.

Sure, you could do better at a bar, but free tequila is free tequila!

Ikea Wants Us to Do WHAT With Their Ad?

Ikea, a Swedish-based department store chain best known for their addictive meatballs, labyrinthine layout and incomprehensible assembly instructions, published an advertisement in a popular women’s magazine with a strange tagline: Peeing on this ad may change your life.

Their marketing agency printed the ad on a special paper similar to that used in traditional pregnancy tests. If a pregnant woman placed a few drops of her urine on the advertisement, it would reveal a discount for an Ikea crib.

There are no official figures on how many people redeemed the discount (or how many cashiers quit after being handed a still-wet coupon), but the campaign certainly made a splash — pun definitely intended.

Who Decided This Was a Good Idea?

Life in 1890s Texas was hard. Life as the owner of a railroad company in 1890s Texas was even harder. Railroads were going bankrupt right and left, and the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad Company, although running in the black, saw the writing on the wall. They needed a way to rake in both cash and publicity, and they needed it now.

A railroad agent by the name of William Crush went to his superiors with an idea — crash two 35-ton locomotives into each other and charge people $2 a head for the privilege of watching the spectacle.

His plan worked surprisingly well, in that over 40,000 people stormed into the pop-up city created specifically for the event. Unfortunately, to the surprise of absolutely no one, the crash sent debris and blisteringly hot water from the trains’ boilers into the crowd, causing at least two deaths and countless injuries.

Crush was summarily relieved of his duties, only to be rehired when the railroad company realized how well the stunt had worked in terms of publicity.

Marketing So Crazy It Just Might Work!

Asking your customers to deposit bodily fluids on your marketing materials is, quite frankly, gross. And we certainly don’t recommend inflicting mass casualties on your audience. But crazy marketing stunts definitely capture headlines and, more importantly, your customer’s attention. And isn’t that what good marketing is all about?

Whether you want to take your marketing strategy completely off the rails or prefer a safer approach, Mischa Communications can help! One click is all it takes to get started. We can’t wait to hear from you!