As we approach the middle of 2015, Marketing Dive decided to take a step back and reflect on the most ridiculous, and often unsuccessful, ad campaigns produced so far this year.
We present to you a roundup of the weirdest ad campaigns and marketing stunts of 2015:
Gap might have been a tad too on the nose with the name of its latest campaign #SpringisWeird. The marketing effort was part of an attempt to combat slumping sales with creative measures, but the tactics have ruffled a few feathers along the way.
One arm of the campaign resulted in Gap being banned from dating app Tinder for policy violations. The retailer had created accounts without Tinder’s permission and invited users to the “pants party”—a move that came off as a bit desperate.
Along with the Tinder accounts, Gap create a 12-part micro-series with comedian Jenny Slate and actor Paul Dano that utilized Instagram’s looping capabilities to portray the unpredictability of spring weather and new love.
The #SpringisWeird campaign could be a counter action to Gap’s “Dress Normal” campaign launched last year, which received heavy criticism, as many people didn’t appreciate the term “normal.” At the very least, Gap’s struggle to claim a marketing identity has been interesting to observe.
Salta Beer—Rugby Player’s Teeth
Argentinian beer brand Salta launched a marketing campaign to give back to some of its nation’s most beloved figures—rugby players. In the rough sport, rugby players often lose teeth. Salta decided to help by replacing the teeth the players had lost during games.
As the main sponsor of the Rugby Union, it made perfect sense for the beer brand to make a nice gesture and replace teeth. Salta, however, took the gesture a step further to replace missing teeth with a bottle opener. Dental implants were used to insert a metal tooth with a grip strong enough to literally pop the tops off of beer bottles. The campaign combined two passions in an unlikely and unexpected way.
UKTV—Chocolate Benedict Cumberbatch
Shoppers in a crowded UK mall were recently greeted with a life-sized chocolate statue of “Sherlock” actor Benedict Cumberbatch. The statue was placed there by UKTV to promote the launch of its new Drama channel—a fact that was likely lost on everyone passing by.
Throughout a time-lapsed video of the stunt, people seem to have no problem licking and breaking pieces of chocolate off of Cumberbatch, despite the nearby cameras and other shoppers documenting the activity. The video comes off as a bit creepy as shoppers lick arms, break off fingers, and even snap off the nose of the statue. The stunt certainly grabbed the public’s attention, but likely fell short of garnering buzz for the new Drama channel—which was the original aim of UKTV’s stunt.
Have you ever wanted to call in sick to work to stay home and play video games? That might be what Xbox is encouraging with its Xbox “Sick Note” tool. The campaign encourages users to create branded content that could help them shirk their responsibilities.
The Xbox Sick Note web tool directs users to input their game of choice and the reason for their illness, and it then generates an e-card to send to managers explaining why the employee will be out for a day or two. It’s a cute idea to gamers, but unless the boss is a video game fan, it probably wouldn’t go over too well.