Creative Marketing Inspiration for ‘Boring’ Industries

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how a “boring” industry is no excuse for lacklustre content. While ensuring your marketers are enthusiastic about the challenges and opportunities, showing example of creative marketing in action can never hurt.

My last post stressed that your marketing should be more about you than what you’re offering. Giving your audience something of value or creating a talking point will help them to remember your brand much more than a sales pitch alone.

A lot of the time, being topical and reactive is what helps brands rise above the rest. For an example, let’s take a look at how brands reacted to a huge moment in Premier League history when Leicester City lifted the trophy. Both Leicester City and Captain Morgan’s rum were ready with content that quickly went viral  

On 2nd May, when Spurs failed to beat Chelsea and Leicester were officially the league champions, Walkers immediately responded with this raunchy tweet:

It received massive amounts of interaction for Walkers all because Gary Lineker, their brand ambassador, tweeted this unfortunate wager at the beginning of the season.

Walkers also handed out free bags of special edition ‘Salt and Victory’ flavoured crisps during Leicester’s following home game against Everton. The club’s website estimated that around 32,000 bags of crisps were handed out to the home supporters. A huge marketing opportunity spawned from a sponsorship and a simple pun.

Another example of a swift, well-executed reaction to potentially the biggest sporting shock in recent years was created by the rum brand Captain Morgan.

Getting an alcohol brand to successfully market itself through football can be tough, especially since so many already hold sponsorships with competitions and teams (for example, Heineken sponsor the Champions League and Chang Beer sponsor Everton)

However the rum brand did have something in common with Leicester, they both shared a Captain Morgan. Seeing an opportunity, the alcohol brand changed their iconic logo to feature the football clubs captain Wes Morgan instead of the titular character.

Alongside the benefits of being featured on Wes Morgan’s Twitter, after he requested a bottle of the special edition rum fans of both the football club and the beverage have been swarming the hashtag #OnlyOneCaptainMorgan to find out how they can get their hands on a limited edition bottle.

However, not all brands are multi-million pound companies and giving out thousands of products or redesigning a brand logo for a social media stunt might not be realistic. Opportunities like this can be too good to miss though and like I’ve said previously, you can’t let a ‘boring’ industry or a smaller budget stop you.

Just because you don’t have as big an audience or budget as the corporate giants, it doesn’t mean you have less opportunity.

Newsjacking

If there’s one thing big brands excel at, it’s newsjacking. In case you don’t know what this means, it’s the practise of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story with the hope of getting your brand noticed. It can generate sales leads, add new customers and get your name shared around social media. It can be hit and miss, but it can also be very effective.

One of the most effective examples which has been widely praised over the years is the Oreo Super Bowl tweet. It was hailed by Ad Age as “Arguably the best ad of the game” and is a perfect example of how newsjacking can positively work for your brand.

However newsjacking can be a double-edged sword, you’ve got to be tactful and never try to inject your brand where it doesn’t fit. For example, we have American Apparel who tried to get their brand involved with the coverage of Hurricane Sandy with a ‘SandySale’ discount code.

With so many potential news hooks happening throughout the year, it’s good practice to plan ahead so you don’t miss a single opportunity for your own “dunk in the dark” moment. Walkers and Captain Morgan identified the potential a Leicester victory could have for their brand long before they were the victors. Creating a calendar can ensure you don’t miss out on any key opportunities.

Go for Viral

Sometimes it may seem like only the big brands go viral. While they may have the upper hand, you shouldn’t be disheartened—content will only go viral if it’s remarkable or different. GoPro’s ‘Fireman Saves Kitten’ tugged on everyone’s heartstrings and it showed another side of a brand largely associated with skateboarding, snowboarding and other forms of extreme sport. The video was originally posted by the firefighter and after that started to spread, GoPro recut the clip and added their logo. With over 30 million views, it’s safe to say GoPro successfully got their content viral.

Another example, which didn’t quite reach viral status comes, comes from Kwik Fit, who invested 280 hours to complete a ‘Queen of Parts’ campaign—a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II made entirely of car parts.

The video is featured on the above landing page which explains the project:

“To honour Her Majesty’s 90th birthday and her contribution to the war effort, our Kwik Fit technicians teamed up with artist David Parfitt to create this technical tribute utilising over 800 individual car components.”

At the time of writing, the video had a total of 9,839 views and didn’t pick up too much traction, but Kwik Fit now have a mural to take around their garages across the UK and got some extra attention at minimal cost.

With ideas like this, what’s stopping smaller brands from doing something similar? Marketing something like patio slabs or tiles may sound dull, but why not capture imaginations by arranging a selection of your products to represent a big news story?

Getting content viral doesn’t always work, but that’s alright. Investing in your brand is important and trying different marketing avenues and exploring new ideas is never a bad thing.

While success isn’t guaranteed, trying something gives you a much better chance than doing nothing.

Always Add Value

The above options may not be viable for you, but one thing every marketing campaign has in common is that they all give something to people.

Whether they teach, inspire, help to save money or simply spark conversation, marketing needs to have some value. Every industry has an audience and uncovering what they want is the key.

Let’s say someone wants to know the average wage of a certain career in a specific town so they can ensure that any houses they view fit into their budget. Using data, a recruitment agency can publish average wage information, and estate agents can compile the average prices throughout a town. The two businesses could even partner to release a shared campaign that helps both their causes.

The value added from these pieces of content will help consumers while also creating authority for brands. Data rich content like this is also highly shareable and with the right outreach could appear all over relevant online communities.


Making your marketing more about your brand than your product and shaking off the ‘boring’ stigma was only the first step towards building your brand. It’s time to explore the unexplored. Whether you seize opportunities from current events or add value to peoples’ lives there’s nothing stopping you from getting noticed. Just leave out the pictures of a half-naked Gary Lineker.