Let’s face it, not every brand is exciting and sexy. The fact is a lot of companies provide services or products that are in a word – bland. Just because that product or service is boring doesn’t mean promoting it has to be.

Turning bland into brilliant isn’t magic, but it does take a unique approach to creating something profoundly effective.

It all comes down to providing an experience to your viewers. If that experience is worthwhile, they will feel the urge to share it and create something viral.

An experience can be created in several ways. The most successful campaigns fall into four categories:

Leave Your Audience Inspired.
If your ad leaves them with a sense of awe or lights a fire under their collective seats, your message will have greater impact.

Be Positive.
It’s surprising how something so simple can be overlooked. This does not mean just showing your product or services’ benefits, but more importantly how does it leave your audience feeling? How does it improve their daily lives in a tangible, as well as an intangible way?

Connect on an Emotional Level.
There is a reason they call it an “emotional trigger” and not a “rational trigger.” We all have deep psychological motivations – tapping into them in a way that intertwines with your company can make a huge difference.

Be Unexpected.
If you look, sound and act like everyone else, you will blend into the wallpaper of your target’s lives. It can be nerve-wracking to step out of your comfort zone, but it is crucial to your success. Like the old saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Great Examples of Turning Bland into Brilliant:

Tipp-Ex and Bear Hunting

There’s not too many things that are as boring as correction fluid. In 2010 Tipp-Ex wanted to create a series of ads that promoted a new product of theirs – whiteout tape. It was clear that if they wanted anyone to take notice, they would have to up their game. They created a series of YouTube videos that started with the tile “A Hunter Shoots a Bear.” Just before the hunter pulls the trigger, he stops, reaches out of the video frame to a banner ad off the side of the video, pulls it out of the ad and erases the word “shoots.” That alone would be worth watching twice, but they take it to a whole new level. The white stripe that covers the word is now editable. The hunter tells the viewer they can write whatever they want into the space. Tipp-ex made 42 videos that would play depending on what the viewer wrote. The social engagement Tipp-ex created was mind-blowing and added 30% to their bottom line while making them one of the top channels on YouTube during their campaign.

Results:

  • Over 46 million views
  • 1+ million social media shares
  • Exposure in 217 Countries

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGaTzFV-pw

Cardstore and the Hardest Job in the World

Cardstore, a greeting card company, wanted to remind people that Mother’s Day would soon be upon them. Creating an ad to sell greeting cards isn’t the most exciting project for a creative firm, but the folks at the agency Mullen, found a unique and surprising way to create an ad with impact. They created a fake job description for a “Director of Operations.” The interview took place over video conference with unsuspecting applicants going after the position. That is until the interviewer described the duties, which included degrees in medicine, finance, and culinary arts. The position required you to be on your feet for almost 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Never being allowed to eat until their associate eats first. During holidays and special events, duties will increase exponentially. The position has a salary of zero dollars a year. People during the interview could not believe how ridiculous this position was – even go so far as calling it “inhumane.” It was then that they were informed that Director of Operations was also known as “Mom.” From the 24 people who applied, a video was created with the reactions of the applicants.

This campaign made people realize just how much mothers do and even brought a few to tears. It was inspiring, emotional, positive, and unexpected. It was no surprise that the video spread around the world like wild-fire and made a serious impression of Cardstore cards in the minds of those who experienced the spot.

Results:

  • Almost 3 million impressions
  • Over 25 million views
  • Almost 2 million social shares

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB3xM93rXbY

As you can see, just because a product or service isn’t sexy, doesn’t mean it can’t grab serious attention and engage your target audience in profound and interesting ways. By inspiring, connecting on an emotional level, staying positive, and most importantly, being unexpected – any company can turn bland into brilliant.