When Brands Go Too Far: 10 Unforgettable Marketing Stunts

Published on March 28, 2024

Credit: Joshua Earle

In the competitive world of marketing, sometimes a little creativity goes a long way. Over the years, brands have pulled off some truly outrageous stunts to capture attention, generate buzz, and solidify their place in the minds of consumers. But sometimes, brands take things a bit too far in their quest for sales.

Join us on this roller coaster of bizarre marketing stunts and sales strategies that pushed the boundaries of conventional advertising.


Elephant Parade

Credit: Documerica

Famous American showman and businessman P.T. Barnum was a pioneer of unconventional marketing, often staging bizarre stunts that would attract thousands of onlookers. In 1883, during the inauguration of the Brooklyn Bridge, he led a parade of 21 elephants, including Jumbo—his beloved African elephant—across the newly constructed bridge. The spectacle garnered widespread attention, reassuring New Yorkers of the bridge’s safety while promoting his own shows.


A Record-Breaking Jump

Credit: Kamil Pietrzak

Red Bull has made a name for itself associating with crazy stunts and extreme sports. In 2012, the energy drinks brand orchestrated one of the most daring marketing stunts in history with Felix Baumgartner's supersonic freefall from the edge of space. The Red Bull Stratos mission saw the Australian daredevil jump from a helium balloon at an altitude of 128,000 feet, breaking world records and capturing everyone’s attention.


Spending the Night in a Furniture Store

Credit: tommao wang

While IKEA is not very keen on young pranksters who seemingly love to hold secret sleepovers in their stores, they could not resist the temptation of making their own slumber parties. The Swedish furniture chain gave shoppers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the night in one of their showrooms as part of a marketing campaign. The lucky customers were treated to a sleepover complete with games, massages, and breakfast in bed, turning a mundane shopping trip into a memorable experience.


The Subservient Chicken

Credit: Josue Canales Tecuatl

As part of their advertising campaign "Get chicken just the way you like it", Burger King's Subservient Chicken website allowed users to control a person dressed in a chicken costume through what looked like a live webcam feed but was actually pre-recorded footage. The interactive experience quickly became viral, capturing the imagination of internet users and generating tons of buzz for the fast-food chain.


A Christmas Miracle

Credit: Norman Tsui

In Japan, Domino's Pizza once experimented with delivering pizzas via reindeer during the holiday season. While the reindeer delivery program seemed like a great idea in Hokkaido’s extreme blizzard conditions, the stunt was short-lived and faced many logistical challenges—according to Domino's, controlling reindeers is no walk in the park. However, the failed stunt still managed to capture the festive spirit of the season and garnered widespread media coverage.


Guerrilla Marketing

Credit: Rosie Sun

A pioneer of the found-footage genre, The Blair Witch Project didn’t just shock audiences on the silver screen, but also revolutionized movie marketing with its guerrilla tactics, which included fake missing persons posters and a mysterious website presenting the film as a real documentary. The viral marketing campaign generated immense curiosity and propelled the independent film to massive success.


A Night at the Louvre

Credit: Michael Fousert

In 2019, Airbnb offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for guests to spend a night inside the iconic Louvre Museum in Paris. The exclusive sleepover was part of the celebrations of the Louvre Pyramid’s 30th anniversary and allowed lucky winners to enjoy a private tour, gourmet dinner, and an overnight stay in a custom-built small version of the famous entrance to the museum.


Commuter’s Oasis

Credit: Dele Oke

In 2013, as part of their "Have a Break" campaign, KitKat built their own "bus stops" in the cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht, complete with a bench where people could just sit and take a moment for themselves. And if they waited long enough, they would win a free Nexus 7 tablet, just for sitting there!


Launching a Car Into Space

Credit: SpaceX, CC0

In a move that epitomized Elon Musk's flair for the dramatic, SpaceX launched a cherry-red Tesla Roadster into space aboard the Falcon Heavy rocket. With a mannequin in a spacesuit dubbed "Starman" at the wheel and David Bowie's "Space Oddity" playing on loop, the stunt captured the whole world's attention, simultaneously promoting both Tesla and SpaceX in a bold and exciting way. And the funniest part is that the cutting edge car will now be orbiting the Sun for millions of years!


Message in a Bottle

Credit: Ruud de Peijper

A message in a bottle might seem like a poor way of getting someone’s attention if you are in a pressing situation, but not for Guinness! In a series of marketing campaigns that took place in the 50s, the Irish beer company dropped hundreds of thousands of sealed bottles in the middle of the ocean. Each bottle contained a message asking the finder to write to Guinness Exports, reporting the location and date of the find. To this day, the bottles are still washing ashore, and are worth quite a lot as Guinness memorabilia if left unopened.


Get To Know The Fascinating Stories And Meanings Behind These Names!

Published on March 28, 2024

Credit: Jon Tyson

Being some of the most ubiquitous words of any language, names are taken for granted and go by unquestioned. But even the most common ones have a meaning and an interesting origin. Beyond mere identifiers, names are vessels of cultural history, linguistic evolution, and familial legacy.

From the simplicity of John or Mary to names like Gupta and Takahashi , each bears the weight of centuries-old narratives and societal shifts. Unraveling the stories encapsulated within names provides a key to understanding the intricate interplay of language, tradition, and identity.



Credit: Tim Wildsmith

Rooted in Hebrew origins, "John" comes from "Yohanan", meaning "graced by God" or "God is gracious". This name's lasting legacy is a testament to its enduring appeal across cultures and languages.

From the Biblical John the Baptist to figures like John Lennon, the name has etched itself into history. Its linguistic adaptability has allowed it to evolve into variations like Juan, Giovanni, and Jean.



Credit: Austin Kirk

While the name "Jennifer" exudes a modern charm, it bears a fascinating historical resonance. Rooted in the Celtic realm, "Jennifer" finds its origins in "Guinevere" the legendary Queen of Arthurian tales, renowned for her beauty and virtue.

Translated as "fair" or "white enchantress," the name achieved contemporary popularity in the mid-20th century, gaining prominence through various cultural influences, including the cinema.



Credit: Tim Mossholder

With Germanic roots, "William" comes from "Willahelm" , where "wil" signifies "will" or "desire," and "helm" means "helmet" or "protection". From William the Conqueror's historic ascent to William Shakespeare's writings, the name has weathered the tides of time.

The versatility of William, seamlessly shifting from royal to colloquial contexts, testifies to its timeless appeal, making it a name that transcends generations and borders, embodying strength, willpower, and a perennial sense of protection.



Credit: Alex Moiseev

Derived from the Hebrew name "Shoshana" , meaning "lily" or "rose," "Susan" defines floral beauty and grace. This name's popularity has traversed cultures and epochs, embodying a delicate yet resilient spirit.

With traces found in biblical texts, Susan gained prominence in English-speaking societies during the 19th century. The simplicity and classic charm of Susan have sustained its appeal, with variations such as Susanna and Susie echoing through familial lineages.



Credit: Helena Hertz

Rooted in Greek origins, "Christopher" comes from the combination of christos, meaning "anointed one" or "Christ," and phero, meaning "to bear" or "to carry." Essentially, Christopher translates to "Christ-bearer".

This name has been used by saints, explorers, and literary figures throughout the ages, embodying a sense of divine purpose and adventure. Often associated with the patron saint of travelers, St. Christopher, the name gained prominence during the medieval period. Its widespread adoption across cultures, with variations like Christoph and Cristoforo, highlights its cross-linguistic versatility.



Credit: Kin Li

A name of Scottish Gaelic origin, "Donald" is derived from "Domhnall" , and it can be traced back to the constituents domhan, meaning "world," and val, whichsignifies "rule" or "ruler." Therefore, Donald encapsulates the meaning of "ruler of the world".

As a name that has remained popular, Donald is a symbol of strength, leadership, and a connection to a heritage that stretches far beyond individual lifetimes.



Credit: George Becker

Coming from Greek origins, "George" traces its lineage to georgos, meaning "farmer" or "earthworker." However, the name's prominence soared through the ages due to its association with saints, royalty, and notable figures.

Saint George, the legendary dragon-slayer, and numerous European kings bearing the name contributed to its widespread adoption. The simplicity of George makes it a timeless name worn by statesmen like George Washington and literary giants like George Orwell.



Credit: Nik

In Greek mythology, "Jason" is celebrated as the heroic leader of the Argonauts, embarking on a dangerous journey searching for the Golden Fleece. This namesake imparts a sense of adventure and courage to the name, reflecting qualities that resonate across generations.

Despite its classical origins, Jason gained popularity during the latter half of the 20th century, becoming a widely embraced and adaptable name in various cultures. Its enduring appeal transcends the boundaries of ancient legend to become a contemporary emblem of strength and resilience, embodying the spirit of a modern-day hero in the journey of life.



Credit: Laura James

Another name we owe to the Greek language, the primitive version "Nikolaos" combines nikē, meaning "victory," and laos, meaning "people". This moniker has traversed centuries, finding resonance in both religious and secular contexts.

Saint Nicholas, the benevolent figure associated with generosity, played an important role in the name's widespread adoption, evolving into the modern-day Santa Claus.



Credit: Designecologist

The name "Amy" unfolds as a gracefully simple yet deeply resonant name with origins that combine both the linguistic and the historical. Derived from the Old French name "Amée" meaning "beloved" or "loved one," Amy radiates an enduring charm.

Its popularity soared in medieval England and experienced a revival in the 19th century, cementing its status as a timeless classic. The name's universal appeal extends across cultures, effortlessly adapting to variations like "Amélie" and "Aimee".



Credit: Z S

Coming from the words brom, meaning "broom," and dūn, meaning "hill," "Brandon" essentially translates to "hill covered with broom." This name reflects a harmonious fusion of nature and simplicity, capturing a vivid image of a pastoral landscape.

While maintaining its English roots, Brandon has evolved into a global phenomenon, resonating across cultures and languages. Its popularity surged in the latter half of the 20th century, embodying a contemporary coolness and adaptability.



Credit: Collin

We finish this list with yet one more name rooted in Greek origins. Gregory is derived from "Gregorios" , meaning "watchful" or "vigilant." This name became synonymous with the early Christian church, as it was used by numerous saints and popes, including Saint Gregory the Great.

Beyond its ecclesiastical associations, Gregory has been embraced by scholars, leaders, and artists throughout history. As a name that has withstood the test of time, Gregory stands as a beacon of watchfulness and resilience, resonating with an enduring spirit that transcends generations.

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