Four Ways to Take Promotional Campaigns to the Next Level


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The marketing world never sits still; it changes constantly and it seems that improving the overall quality of advertising is something that can be done when great minds start working. Anyone involved with this business is familiar with the fact that being successful in such a fast-paced world means that you must keep up with the changes that are happening in our world. Being on top of the game requires skills and a keen sense of observation.

It doesn’t take a lot of thinking to understand that when it comes to marketing campaigns, being innovative is a must. Not only that, but it seems that it takes more than excellent abilities and strategies in order to come up with a smashing new promotional campaign. But what exactly does it take to have the most talked-about, highly effective campaign?

Context – Be part of the bigger picture

Any important achievement requires countless hours of efforts and planning. Creating content that touches something in people has a lot to do

with understanding the reality we live in. Context is necessary in every aspect of the business world and it sometimes works as catalyst, an element that provokes and also speeds reactions.

This does not mean that focusing on the biggest political issues or pushing all the sensitive buttons will bring you the results you were hoping for. We all know what happened to a certain Pepsi campaign earlier this year. It’s about creating roots for the product you’re marketing, making it strike a chord. And that can’t be done unless you’re in completely tuned in to what is happening in the world and what people crave to see – or don’t want to see anymore.

Perfect timing

Timing goes hand in hand with understanding context. A great idea isn’t so great if it doesn’t come from an acquired knowledge of what makes

people tick, think and react. For example, let’s bring into discussion the solar eclipse that took place recently, which was visible across the US.

The eclipse represented a major astronomical event, but also one that had an immense scientific and cultural significance – which, of course,

turned it into an opportunity for brands to promote themselves. Many of them did, but there is one particular example that managed to shine through, the “Project: Moon Hat” campaign from Jack in the Box.

This is an example of perfect timing, but it’s also one that demonstrates what taking it to the next level really means. Jack in the Box didn’t only take advantage of what the Universe was literally throwing at the world, but it managed to promote itself by actually making fun of what everybody else was doing. They also managed to do something good by encouraging people to make donations to a charity.

Connect with people

If we take a look at the recent promotional campaigns that had a significant impact on the audience, we discover some of the key elements that play a crucial role in guaranteeing success: humor and cleverness. We already mentioned the “Project: Moon Hat” campaign, which was definitely a big hit not only because of the good timing, but also because it made people laugh.

Establishing a connection with the audience often happens with the help of symbolic communication. Signs and symbols have always been a part of human society and they’ve become indispensable tools in marketing. Symbols can be used to impact consumer behavior and they basically create a connection between the needs and desires of the consumer and a certain brand they identify with.

Symbols work on a deeper level; understanding how they work helps brands figure out how to communicate better with the customers and how to establish a more personal relationship with them. A good example of how symbols made a campaign highly effective and successful is the one promoting the movie It (based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Stephen King), which came out recently and became a huge box office hit.

The promotional campaign for the film took an interesting turn when a certain symbol connected to the movie and heavily used in the trailer and on the movie poster suddenly became part of reality. The red balloon – now associated with an intense feeling of fear – became the ultimate promo product, one that fascinated people so much that it made them take things to the next level, making this particular campaign part of our everyday life. The campaign didn’t capitalize on fear, obviously, but on people’s voluntary involvement. An audience gets more excited about a product when it can connect it to a certain feeling and a special atmosphere.

Authenticity, Credibility, Emotion

There is a constant hunger for authenticity – people need to be able to relate to what they’re presented with. This can only be achieved if their being offered something that exceeds their expectations, something that they can identify with or at the very least recognize.

Credibility isn’t something you hope you’re offering; it is an absolute necessity in order to make people trust you and to help you build a reputation which could later be translated into bigger sales.

People want participation instead of just passively being surrounded by things they don’t really care about. A good campaign gets people’s attention and manages to stir their imagination, making it all about the public. Knowing your public gives you a great advantage, one that will allow you to create something meaningful and, more importantly, authentic.

Take the recent success Snickers had when they built a media plan using social media. The secret behind the success of “Hungerithm” is the fact that it resonated with people’s emotions – literally. The campaign was based on a finely tuned hunger-algorithm that measured the online mood and lowered the price of the candy bar accordingly at every 7-Eleven in Australia. Basically, the angrier people were on the Internet, the cheaper the product became. Because it centered on real emotions, the campaign managed to engage people in an incredible way.

Promotional products and campaigns can be important, sometimes vital part of your overall marketing mix – if you do them right. Focusing on a recent promotional campaign that registered a huge success will offer people in marketing an important source of inspiration – not only because they’re cleverly executed and highly entertaining – but also because they’re original and innovative.

Philip Piletic
I have several years of experience in marketing and startups, and regularly contribute to a number of online platforms related to technology, marketing and small business. I closely follow how Big Data, Internet of Things, Cloud and other rising technologies grew to shape our everyday lives. Currently working as managing editor for a UK tech site.


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