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Planes, Corn Flakes, and Automobiles - Non-Traditional Marketing

Planes, Corn Flakes, and Automobiles - Non-Traditional Marketing
By John Waiveris - July 2005
Photos by John Waiveris and Michael Schreiber

"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way." – Edward de Bono, Maltese-born Psychologist and Authority on Creative Thinking

Somehow a box of "Clarinex Morning Crunch" ended up on my breakfast table this month. I am not really sure how it got there, but I can't stop thinking about it. What makes this one silly ad stand out?

"The average adult is exposed to 3,000 advertisements per day." Meaningful Marketing, page 30.

Two Extremes in the Morning

First of all, the cereal box was very clever. It's hard to throw food out - especially something we'd buy anyway. Second, the ads on the box target allergy sufferers when and where they experience their symptoms the most. Marketing textbooks might call this psychographics, but it is common sense. What are people thinking about when they read your ad...or more importantly, when and where are they most receptive to your message?

Just 20 minutes after breakfast, I find myself deleting spam email messages that have nothing to do with me. I am just another name among millions and someone spent $100 to bother us. It is an inexpensive way to market - but untargeted to the point of being useless.

"Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight." – Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881, Scottish Philosopher and Author

Look Up - Creating a Spectacle in the Sky

Look Up - Creating a Spectacle in the Sky
Fourth of July weekend is a time for fireworks, barbeques, and spending time outside. The next two ads really stood out. The first happened years ago in Albany, New York. Price Chopper was clever to have windows on a building spell out their name. Now, it's probably a little over the top - though I wonder if they earned that right by sponsoring the event. (Although we can't all sponsor $20,000 fireworks displays, perhaps there are others that we can.)

Here's another: This year on July 3rd, we were all delighted to see 5 airplanes writing words in the sky. We all ran outside and grabbed our cameras.


Golly, that really makes me want to try out vacuum cleaners. On the other hand, lots of people were outside and it might have been a topic of conversation around the grill. (Anyone know how much it costs to rent 5 airplanes for a day?)

"Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in." – Andrew Jackson, 1767-1845, 7th President of the United States

Another Roadside Attraction

Another Roadside Attraction
The next three examples are on the road. I really like the U-Haul truck example. They were clever to make the back of the truck the most interesting part. I followed this one in the photo for several hours and marveled at the 3D painting. It catches you at a time when you are thinking about driving and moving (and perhaps bored out of your mind).
Another example popped up at the gas station. A funny plastic ad was attached to the gas pump handle (making it a tiny bit more complicated to operate). And, amazingly it was for dialup internet access that eliminates popup ads. Maybe they are looking for wide audience appeal - but honestly, the last thing I am thinking about at the pump is dialup Internet. In contrast, there was a great ad next to the gas prices advertising a way to save 8 cents per gallon.
Finally, here is a great example of classic Americana (in Canada of all places). This giant "Muffler Man" was repainted to hold a Coke and hotdog. It inspired me to take a photo and maybe stay for a bite to eat. While I was there, several other cars did the exact same thing. I bet creating your own roadside attraction is quite profitable.
Ads are funny these days. It seems that you can't go wrong by being creative and unique. What do you think? Are there ads in your life that stand out as clever? Contact me and let me know what you think. I'll probably send you a free t-shirt.

John Waiveris writes about Small Business and Online Marketing for Invisible Gold, LLC. For more information call (860) 285-0172 or visit us online at www.invisiblegold.com - "Your Website Should Be Easy to Edit"