3 Wacky Marketing Ideas that Really Worked

Analysing the trends of 2016
Last edited 17 November, 2022
Industry Insights
3 min read.

If it’s heads you want to turn and eyes you want to catch, forget thinking outside the box. The key to attention-grabbing marketing is to completely ignore the existence of the box entirely, so your ideas have the space to blossom with the potential to be truly amazing marketing that has people saying “Wow… I wish I’d thought of that!”.

That being said, some of the best campaigns can be some of the weirdest. People see the same ads day in, day out, so to make a great impression it’s essential to stand out to your audience. Having a bit of fun with your campaign can really make an impact and grab people’s attention, and when done right, this can help to engage Facebook likes, Twitter followers, local press, and even the rest of the world. Here are three recent examples of fun and fantastic marketing ideas that really were successful.

Spotify’s “Thanks 2016. It’s been weird”

In late 2016, music streaming giant Spotify released their largest out-of-home advertising campaign to date. The ads plucked some of the most bizarre localised facts and statistics from their user data and signed off with a “Thanks, 2016. It’s been weird.”. The billboards and bus stop ads poked fun at some of the users that created strange playlist names e.g. “For all Reasons Except Physical, I am an Enchilada”, and questioned why some users were listening to certain songs on repeat.

The ads caught attention in tube stations and street corners in locations around the world, with some even utilising major events like Brexit and the closing down of major London nightclub “Fabric” to help catch eyes and a chuckle from passers-by.

Ikea’s “Relationship Problems” and their solutions

In a cheeky play on SEO, Ikea guided users that searched for frequently-Googled relationship problems to items that could “solve” them. When a corresponding problem was typed into Google, an IKEA page with a product “solution” would be lifted to the top of the search results.

These “solutions” ranged from the practical, such as a daybed for “My partner snores”, to the downright hilarious, resulting in the phrase “My family doesn’t respect me,” leading to the suggestion that the user purchases a white queen costume. Each landing page ended with a list of related products labelled “Related relationship problems.”.

These landing pages are a great example of IKEA utilising a clever SEO technique to put a smile on people’s faces and help make their products more visible at the same time.

Patricia Houlihan Shoots Lasers Out of Her Eyes

In one of the most simultaneously bizarre and successful ad campaigns we’ve ever come across, Patricia Houlihan, a real estate agent in Vancouver, put up a single advertisement at a bus stop. Before long, it was on the front page of Reddit and became a worldwide meme, helping to catapult Patricia to international attention.

The ad understandably took some persuading for Patricia to use, but turned out to be a huge success, as now “a lot more people know her name”, according to the ad’s creator, Mike Catherall. He also mentioned that he wanted to create an ad that was “irreverent, fun and totally different”, as there were “literally hundreds of realtor ads in Vancouver” at the time that were “all so boring and cliché.”. We, along with probably the entirety of the internet, think he succeeded in his mission.

What’s next?

It’s important not to be afraid to have a bit of fun with your marketing. If you want to turn heads and get your ads to stick in them, get creative, get crazy and go wild.

We’re a creative bunch here at EDGE, with an in-house team of print, social, design and networking brainboxes that can apply a great strategy to your marketing campaign. We’re always brimming with ideas, so if you’d like to have a chat with us about your next project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we love a challenge!


Ellena Yapp

Content Manager

Ellena started working at EDGE in March 2021, after deciding to pursue her passion for the written word. She hopes to develop a rewarding career in digital marketing, specifically content writing, and is very excited to grow as part of the EDGE team.