Now that we’ve started a new year, let’s go back in time … to last year. Every year there are a few great marketing campaigns and a few truly bizarre ones. But, even the bizarre ones can tell us something about where marketing trends are going.

Inc. magazine released this article about the ten weirdest campaigns in 2018. Some may sound familiar to you, like IHOP’s changing its “P” to a “B” to announce that they now serve hamburgers. Others may have (thankfully) slipped your notice, like IKEA’s turning a magazine ad into a pregnancy test.

Fast food giant KFC appears twice on the list, once for paying someone to name her baby after the founder (the girl’s name is Harlan Rose, which actually isn’t any weirder than a lot of names today); and once for a bizarre video of cats playing with a Colonel Sanders robot tree. Strangely, the list doesn’t mention the KFC stunt we loved last year.

What can marketers learn from this? Almost all of the eye-catching marketing stunts on this, and every “best of,” list are about brand identity. Very few of the campaigns that get attention and press are about actually selling a product; they’re about selling a brand. If a fast food company that posts weird videos, or a pizza-ordering shoe (really, read the article) makes you laugh, then it’s possible that the brand’s identity will become part of your own identity, or at least your online identity. These campaigns not only turn their viewers into loyal customers, but also into loyal (and free) promoters of the companies’ brands.

If you’re looking for a new place to try out all your ideas, even the weird ones, check out our job board.

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