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3 Really Creative Campaigns To Help Inspire Your Next Agency Brainstorm

Out_Of_The_BoxAt times, you may hit a roadblock when trying to come up with the next great marketing and sales campaign. You know, the campaign that will drive unprecedented success, and remind your client why they do business with you. 

The next time you’re stuck, consider thinking outside the “for-profit” box, and consider the potential of a partnership with a philanthropic cause. Below, we’ve examined three creative campaigns that effectively worked to raise brand awareness and goodwill for each company, while simultaneously benefitting a worthwhile cause—a win-win.

Uber Delivers Puppies


Capitalizing on stunt marketing (and the average person’s love of cute animals), Uber (@Uber) brought puppies to app users in select cities across the United States for up to 15 minutes of playtime as part of their Puppy Bowl promotion.

This special one-day-only event partnered with local nonprofit animal shelters to promote the adoption of rescue animals and increase brand awareness and loyalty for Uber.

The Outcome

The associated hashtag for the Puppy Bowl campaign (#UberPuppyBowl) “had a reach of more than 80,000,” with more than 110,000 total impressions.

The promotion even earned Uber coverage from prominent media outlets, including: Business Insider, CNBC, Animal Planet and USA Today.

Lesson Learned

Think outside of your client’s core product or service. Consider partnering with other, relevant organizations that relate to your clients’ key audiences. 

UNICEF Finds a Market for Tap Water

Water_SpoutIn 2007, advertising agency Droga5 (@droga5) worked with UNICEF (@UNICEF) to bottle up an untapped product: tap water.

With guidance from Droga5, UNICEF partnered with 300 restaurants in New York City, asking them to charge one dollar per glass of tap water as a direct donation to UNICEF. Every dollar donated would provide a child in a developing country with drinking water for 40 days.

The Outcome

To date, the campaign has raised more than $2.5 million—which is 40-days worth of water to 62,500 children.

UNICEF earned positive publicity for the promotion from a variety of media outlets, including: Huffington Post, Advertising Age and Fast Company.

Lesson Learned

Brainstorming sessions are about quantity, not quality. There is no limit (and certainly no “bad” ideas) when brainstorming for creative campaigns. Explore beyond traditional tactics to uncover new, and exciting campaign concepts. Once ideas of every shape and size are on the table, it’s time to edit and scale back based on client budgets or preferences.

American Express Shines the Spotlight on Small Businesses

Small_Business_SaturdayIn a post-recession economy, no one hurts more than small businesses. Mom-and-pop shops are simply not built to take big hits like corporate giants. In response, American Express thought of a way to help rally communities in support of small business interests—the result was a “shop local” movement.

American Express (@AmericanExpress), with the help of agencies Digitas (@Digitas), CP+B (@cpbgroup), M Booth (@MBoothPR) and Mindshare (@mindshare), launched Small Business Saturday in 2010. This annual, one-day event encourages shoppers to buy local and help small-business merchants boost sales.

The Outcome

By the fourth year of this annual campaign, more than $5 billion had been spent to boost small business profits.

American Express Small Business Saturday has earned coverage in various media outlets, including: Entrepreneur, Forbes and CNN.  

Lessons Learned

As you assess promotional opportunities to reach your client’s target audiences, consider current market conditions. Find ways to help your customers through a rough patch or otherwise help them elevate their potential for success.

Where to Start 

Any old partnership isn’t going to work. You need to be very strategic to identify the perfect match-made-in-heaven for your clients. As you go through this process, keep in mind two important things:

  1. What is the core business of your client? While you want to think creatively, keep initiatives aligned with core business interests. Those that vary too much from core offerings could leave your clients’ customers feeling confused or disconnected.
  2. When you’re playing cupid, make sure the non-profit’s mission aligns with your client’s, and appeals to their target audiences.

One final note: Don’t work in isolation. Contact the non-profit you’re interested in partnering with, and brainstorm campaign ideas together. There are tons of talented professionals at these organizations who are full of fun and exciting ideas, so invite them into your brainstorm.  

Are there any other campaigns that inspired creative brainstorms at your agency? Share with us in the comment section below.

Image Credits:

Open Box (cropped): OpenSource.com via flickr

Uber Puppy Delivery: Allie Gottlieb

Tap Water: Luis via flickr

Small Business Saturday: Mike Licht via flickr

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Chirag Ahuja
Chirag is the Marketing Manager at WorkflowMax. Every day he strives to educate more and more business owners on how to do business better. From their first visit to the website or the first email they receive to the first video they watch – he is passionate about delivering a seamless, beautiful and personalized experience that people love and that converts strangers to leads to customers and finally into fans! Chirag loves listening to techno music, reading vedic scriptures, leading teams, building relationships, and discussing the big questions in life.

Chirag Ahuja